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Online Architectural Drafting Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online architectural drafting school. Keep reading to get an overview of the program options, transferability avenues, and common topics offered for the field of study.

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Research is an important component to determining which online architectural drafting program is right for you, especially since many programs don't supply a full online option. Whether you're looking for a program that prepares you for licensing or want to earn an online associate's degree, your first step should be to check out a few schools that provide the education you seek.

How to Select an Online Architectural Drafting School

Students considering online architectural drafting schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Architectural drafters must have a thorough knowledge of CAD and be familiar with the professional standards of drafting. Architecture firms look for architectural drafters who hold an associate's or bachelor's degree in drafting, and any program a student is looking at needs to be accredited. Degrees are usually offered on campus as part of drafting or architecture programs accredited by the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA). However, there are a limited number of technical schools that offer a partially online associate's degree in architectural drafting. Students then need to weigh the technical requirements.

Licensing Requirements

Prospective students should look for schools that will prepare them for licensure. Although a professional license is not required to work as a drafter, obtaining a license does demonstrate knowledge of professional standards in the field. An associate's degree program accredited by ADDA will fulfill many of the requirements for a professional license in drafting.

Program Delivery

Hybrid drafting programs combine online learning with on-campus classroom experience. Students usually complete core requirements in liberal arts and general education courses online and participate in studio courses on campus. Since the most important aspect of working as an architectural drafter requires familiarity with computer-aided drafting programs, students can expect to spend a significant amount of time in studio drafting courses.

Technical Requirements

In order to participate in online programs, students must have high-speed Internet access to accommodate the transmission of large media files like video, live streaming and course materials. Students must also have access to a webcam and a number of desktop office programs such as Excel, Microsoft Word, WinZip and Acrobat Reader.

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

Online Program in Architectural Design

Hybrid Associate's Degree in Architectural Drafting

The online associate's degree in architectural drafting is a 2-year degree that requires students to take liberal arts courses and core courses in architectural drafting, materials and methods. Graduates from the program can also transfer the credits to fulfill requirements for a 4-year degree in architectural drafting or architecture. In addition to drafting courses, students can take additional coursework in:

  • Construction scheduling
  • Building information modeling
  • Computer aided design
  • Green building trends and technology

Schools with Online Programs in Architectural Drafting

Even though there aren't many schools that offer full online architectural drafting programs, students can still achieve their goals and obtain their degrees through partial online offerings. Tuition costs vary depending on the level of education you wish to obtain.

Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA, provides a full 162-credit online Bachelor of Architecture degree that instructs students in the basics of architecture design and digital modeling. Individuals will learn how critical thinking plays an important part in architecture and will discover how to produce their ideas in a physical format.

Another school that offers online opportunities in this field is North Dakota State College of Science, which provides an online, 14-credit Architectural Drafting and Estimating Technology Certificate of Completion program. Courses focus on teaching students about the basics of architecture as well as graphic communication and how to work with AutoCAD.

There are a variety of factors to consider when pursuing a career as an Architectural Drafting professional, such as your graduation goals, online availability and opportunities for hands-on experience.

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