Students are typically taught to use highly sophisticated software to design things like circuit boards, engine parts, automobiles, satellites and buildings. Students who hold a high school diploma or its equivalent are usually accepted into most 2-year associate's degree programs.
Associate's Degree in Mechanical Computer Aided Design
Many degree programs focus on topics related to CAD software and program applications. Students can use this technology to update designs, create inventory lists and print blueprints. They can also learn to create hand-drawn sketches or come up with design ideas and transfer those into 3-dimensional models by using CAD programs.
Required coursework may include:
- Electronics layout and design
- CAD fundamentals technologies and tolerancing
- Mechanical drafting and tools drafting
- Geometric dimensioning
- 3-D modeling
- Building materials and mechanical assemblies
Possible Career Options
Multiple industries require the services of drafters, and graduates could work in the electronics, civil design, aeronautic or architectural fields. They might work for private businesses, government agencies or large-scale design firms. Some of the careers graduates can pursue include:
- CAD technician
- Printed-circuit designer
- Mechanical design technician
- Mechanical engineering technician
Salary and Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for mechanical drafters are projected to decrease by 7% during the 2018-2028 decade. The median annual salary for these workers was $55,920 as of May 2018.
Continuing Education Information
As CAD software programs change, professionals will need to participate in continued education training periodically throughout their careers. Information from the BLS indicated that employers might provide or pay for employees to receive additional training (www.bls.gov). Workers can also choose to demonstrate their skill with CAD software by earning certifications.
Mechanical CAD associate's degree programs teach the skills and techniques associated with drawing the designs and schematics for manufacturing different equipment. Many job opportunities present themselves upon graduation, with continuing education courses being a necessity to stay up to date; certification is also an option.