Associate of Applied Science in CAD Drafting: Degree Overview

Oct 19, 2019

Individuals interested in the planning phase of engineering or architecture projects may consider earning an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD). These programs cover essential drafting and design techniques for planning various construction projects.

Essential Information

Students in CAD drafting associate's program learn about the properties of different building materials, and they learn how to draw with CAD software. These programs may be offered in both campus-based and online formats. Graduates are prepared for entry-level drafting positions and may pursue voluntary certification.

Associate of Applied Science in CAD Drafting

In order for students to obtain their CAD degrees, they must take courses that will prepare them for producing architectural, engineering and drafting materials for use in structural engineering and design. These classes can include but are not limited to:

  • Civil drafting
  • Residential and commercial construction
  • Drafting standards
  • Building design, architectural design
  • Electrical and mechanical systems
  • Mechanical design

Popular Career Options

There are a variety of specialties within the drafting field. An AAS in CAD can prepare graduates for entry-level careers in positions such as:

  • Civil drafter
  • Mechanical drafter
  • Electrical drafter
  • Pipeline drafter

Employment Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for drafters is predicted to show little or no change between 2018 and 2028 ( In May 2018, the BLS reported that mechanical drafters received a mean annual wage of $59,010, while civil and architectural drafters earned $56,700.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Individuals interested in advancing their careers can opt for further education in the form of a bachelor's degree in engineering manufacturing or engineering technology. In these 4-year programs, students can choose from concentrations in electrical, mechanical or industrial engineering technology. They may also have to complete cooperative education experiences by working in design firms.

Depending on the career a graduate chooses, they may have options for professional certification. The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) offers drafting certification for individuals who complete an application and pass a 90-minute exam. Once earned, the certification is valid for five years. Professional association members and non-members must show proof of three years of work experience, but non-members must also pay a fee for recertification.

Students in a CAD drafting associate's program learn how to use CAD software through courses in drafting standards, mechanical design and more. While the job outlook for the drafting field overall isn't positive, graduates of associate's programs may enhance their job prospects by earning a bachelor's degree or voluntary certification.

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