What Is AutoCAD?

AutoCAD is a computer-aided drafting software program used to create blueprints for buildings, bridges, and computer chips, among other things. Discover how AutoCAD is used by drafters and other professionals.

AutoCAD: An Overview

AutoCAD is a 2-D and 3-D computer-aided drafting software application used in architecture, construction, and manufacturing to assist in the preparation of blueprints and other engineering plans. Professionals who use AutoCAD are often referred to as drafters.

Training Programs

Training in AutoCAD software and computer-aided drafting can be found at technical and community colleges, including certificate or associate degree programs in AutoCAD, drafting, or engineering technology. Most of these programs feature courses that focus on the hands-on use of the AutoCAD software package. Some programs may even prepare students for AutoCAD industry certification.

Bachelor's degree programs in related fields, such as engineering, may also require students to take AutoCAD courses.

Career Information

While drafters work in a number of specialties, the five most common specialization areas are as follows: mechanical, architectural, civil, electrical, and electronics.

  • Mechanical drafters prepare plans for machinery and mechanical devices.
  • Architectural drafters draw up plans for residential and commercial buildings.
  • Civil drafters draw up plans for use in the design and building of roadways, bridges, sewer systems, and other major projects.
  • Electrical drafters work with electricians to prepare diagrams of wiring electrical system layouts.
  • Electronics drafters also prepare wiring diagrams for use in the making, installing, and repairing of electronic gadgets.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2015, the median annual salary for drafters in general was $52,720. As reported by the BLS, drafters in general as well as architectural and civil drafters could expect a 3% decline in employment from 2014 to 2024. During this same ten year period, employment opportunities for mechanical drafters may decline by 7% while job opportunities for electrical and electronics drafters are projected to increase by 5% from 2014-2024, which is about average when compared to all other occupations.

AutoCAD drafters use 2-D and 3-D computer-aided drafting software applications to prepare blueprints and plans for architecture, construction, and manufacturing projects. As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2015, drafters in general earned a median annual salary of $52,720.

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