Drafting with AutoCAD: Online Diploma

Learn about online certificate and diploma programs with AutoCAD courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

Essential Information

Students can find a very limited number of online diploma programs for AutoCAD training, but online certificate programs are also available and offer the same level of instruction. The courses for these programs can be completed entirely online. They may be offered within majors such as drafting technology, computer graphics, desktop publishing and website design. Students usually complete self-paced projects to test their understanding. Some programs may provide training for the Autodesk AutoCAD Certified User Certification exam.

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

AutoCAD Program

AutoCAD programs typically consist of a single course that teaches students the basics of computer-aided drafting and geometric dimensioning. Students become acquainted with AutoCAD tools and gain experience using them to create and edit scaled drawings. AutoCAD software is typically included in the price of the program.

Information and Requirements

Online AutoCAD certificate and diploma programs are stand-alone courses that have no prerequisites or general education components. Because these are self-paced courses of study, students can complete some programs in as few as 150 hours, but others may take up to 14 months. Study materials are both posted online and shipped physically. Instructor assistance is offered through email and over the phone. Such programs don't have any special technical requirements, but courses may not be compatible with Mac operating systems.

Common Courses

The programs begin by giving students basic road maps of AutoCAD program functions. Once the student has mastered the foundational tools, studies branch into more refined areas, such as:

Drafting Tools

Courses cover the geometry used in basic drafting for mechanical and architectural drawings. Students are also introduced to the equipment and supplies used, such as scales and verniers.


Students learn about layering effects and view points for 2-D drawings. They also learn how to prepare layouts for plotting.

Advanced Functions

Students learn about editing functions, adding text and parametric constraints. Macros, custom routines and publishing functions are also explored.

Career Information for Graduates

One option for graduates is to seek employment as a drafter. Although many employers prefer some college-level studies in drafting, the main qualification is drafting skills and a working knowledge of computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) programs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), drafters were predicted to see a 3% decline in general employment opportunities between 2014 and 2024. The best prospects could be found for electrical and electronics drafters, who were expected to see a growth of 5% over the same time period (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that in May 2015, unclassified drafters earned a mean annual wage of $53,660.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates may opt to continue their drafting education in an associate's or bachelor's degree program in drafting, architecture or engineering. Drafters may also earn voluntary certification from the American Design Drafting Association, which involves passing an examination.

Online AutoCAD diploma and certificate programs are extremely flexible, giving drafters all the time they need to learn how to use the software. Certificate programs are more common than online diploma programs.

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