Students in CAD drawing programs learn to make working drawings from notes and sketches, as well as execute detailed drawings of mechanical parts or building structures. Some schools might refer to their programs by such alternative names as CAD drafting technology, computer-aided drafting technology, or mechanical design and drafting programs. Associate's degree prerequisites include a GED certificate or high school diploma. CAD programs may further require applicants to have a high school grade point average of 2.0 or better and demonstrated competency in mathematics.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Architectural Drafting and Design
- CAD Drafting and Design Technology
- Civil Engineering Drafting and Design
- Mechanical Drafting and Design
CAD Associate's Degree
The CAD program provides training in design concepts, materials, software basics, and drafting techniques. Layering, isometric representation, plotting, and wireframe rendering are among the techniques covered. In addition to general education courses in composition, history, or physics, some associate's degree CAD programs may encourage participants to take a course or courses in architecture, business applications, or multimedia. CAD related courses include:
- Computer drafting introduction
- Technical math and algebraic functions
- 2D and 3D modeling
- Materials and metallurgy introduction
- Mechanical drawing fundamentals
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates of an associate's degree program in CAD drawing are qualified for positions as drafters, sometimes also called CAD technicians, CAD operators, detailers, or mechanical design technicians. Engineering firms, construction companies, manufacturers, architectural firms, and graphic arts firms are possible employers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) predicted a 3% decline in employment of drafters as a broad category from 2014-2024. The mean salary for architectural drafters (as of May 2015) was $53,470; mechanical drafters earned an average salary of $56,610, while electrical and electronics drafters took in $62,890 on average.
Continuing Education Information
Associate's degree holders can apply CAD drawing credits towards a bachelor's degree in engineering or industrial technology. A number of colleges and universities that offer 4-year programs also host 2+2 transfer programs.
Associate's degrees in CAD drawing teach students fundamental skills of drafting and modeling different structures and parts, preparing them for work in many different drafting fields. Bachelor's degrees are available for graduates, often in the form of a transfer program where an associate's degree acts as the first two years of the bachelor's.