Students in a CAD technology degree program will learn computer-aided design and also become familiar with dimensioning and tolerance techniques, machine shop processes, and the basic materials used in drafting design processes. They will use computer software such as AutoCAD, Inventor, and SolidWorks. This 2-year program is offered at community colleges and technical schools.
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Associate of Mechanical Drafting Design in CAD Technology
Completing a program focusing on CAD technology requires both coursework and hands-on experience. Classes will cover skills such as reading and designing plans as well as various manufacturing processes. Courses may include:
- CNC programming
- Descriptive geometry
- Tool, die, and fixture design
- Tolerance and dimension techniques
- Machine shop processes
- Mechanical blueprint reading
Popular Career Options
Candidates who successfully complete the program are prepared for work in various industries utilizing CAD technology. Common career titles may include:
- CADD operator
- Mechanical designer
- Mechanical drafter
- Product designer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Mechanical drafters earned an annual median salary of $53,520 in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). From 2014-2024, the BLS expected a -3% employment decline for mechanical drafters.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates may pursue immediate employment in drafting-related fields or may choose to advance their education. They may choose to transfer to 4-year colleges and earn bachelor's degrees in programs that use CAD technology. Although 4-year colleges don't typically offer drafting programs, they have programs that use drafting principles in the curriculum, such as engineering or architecture. With work experience, additional training and professional certification, they may become architects, engineers, or engineering technicians.
The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) offers a certification program for drafters. Although not required, certification demonstrates commitment and knowledge of the industry drafting standards. To obtain the ADDA certification, eligible applicants must pass a test demonstrating their knowledge of general drafting concepts, such as architectural terminology, geometric designs, drawings, and national drafting standards.
With an associate of mechanical drafting design degree, students will acquire the skills necessary to obtain jobs as CADD operators, drafters or mechanical designers. Furthermore, they can gain knowledge to pass certification programs that may enhance and further their careers in mechanical drafting design.