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List of CAD Drafting Colleges and Schools in the U.S.

Working as a drafter typically requires education beyond high school. Technical schools and community colleges are the most common institutions where an individual can receive training on computer-aided design (CAD) programs.

CAD drafters and designers use computer software to create layouts of products or structures. Because computers are an integral part of CAD training, the first thing individuals should look for when selecting a CAD school is access to the latest equipment and software, such as AutoCAD.

Schools with CAD Drafting Programs

The following list includes a number of public schools that offer undergraduate certificates, diplomas, and associate's degrees in CAD drafting.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*
Northern Virginia Community College Annandale, VA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $5,138; Out-of-state $11,055
College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas, NV 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $2,805; Out-of-state $9,450
Pima Community College Tucson, AZ 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,974; Out-of-state $8,610
Santa Ana College Santa Ana, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,142; Out-of-state $6,902
Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN 4-year, Public Associate's In-state $9,056; Out-of-state $29,774
Salt Lake Community College Salt Lake City, UT 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $3,569; Out-of-state $11,337
Long Beach City College Long Beach, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,182; Out-of-state $7,398
Minnesota State College Southeast Winona, MN 2-year, Public Certificate, Diploma, Associate's $5,618
Palomar College San Marcos, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,338; Out-of-state $7,078

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES); School websites

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking for CAD drafting schools:

  • Before selecting a school and program, prospective CAD designers should decide if they would like to enter a general or specialized drafting program.
  • Some programs prepare students for voluntary certification through the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA), which may translate to an advantage when job hunting.
  • It is important to select a program that uses the latest software.
  • Program costs vary based on the length of the program and type of school; some schools offer tuition discounts to local and in-state or in-district students.

A number of 2- and 4- year colleges and universities offer CAD design programs where students can opt to pursue an associate's degree, diploma, or certificate in this field. Program lengths and costs vary based on the type of credentials pursued and whether the school is a public or private college.

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