Fully online associate degree programs in drafting technology and computer drafting and design are readily available. In some cases, students may be required to complete field experiences or internships, which can't be completed online. Cooperative work experiences may be an optional opportunity that individuals can take advantage of in order to receive on-the-job training with a willing employer. Students may also need to attend an orientation, either online or on campus, depending on the school they attend.
Students will take courses in mapping, architectural drafting, CAD technologies, technical illustration and civil drafting that require specialized software. These classes can prepare individuals to work as drafters and graphic designers.
Associate Degrees in Computer Drafting and Design
Designed for those who seek entry-level positions in drafting and design, these programs are often available through a college's drafting and design or drafting technology program. Students learn to use computer programs to create and maintain design files to create 3-D models and project plans.
Program Information and Requirements
An Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program takes approximately two years to complete. Many programs use online discussion boards and e-mail to facilitate communication. Schools may suggest that students utilize a specific Internet browser, like Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, and have a broadband internet connection for ease in transmitting course materials. Some classes require specialized software or textbooks.
List of Computer Drafting and Design Courses
Computer drafting and design programs are about more than just the computer programs used in drafting engineering and architectural design plans. Students interested in this field must learn to create plans, select materials and manage the manufacturing process.
Programs often include two courses in architectural drafting. The courses cover floor plan development, material specifications and code requirements. Students learn the symbols and dimensions common to residential construction. Using the industry-standard AutoCAD program, students complete a full set of working drawings.
Materials and Processes
In this class, students learn about the various materials used in construction and manufacturing. Students explore the processes involved in production and fabrication. This course includes terminology and tool selection.
Geographic Information Systems
In a course on Geographic Information Systems (GIS), students first learn to operate GIS computer software packages. As the course progresses, students use these software programs to gain information about geographic relationships between buildings and landmarks.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018, the average wage for trained drafters was $27.97 per hour, or $58,180 annually. Professionals with postsecondary training in drafting can find employment in one of a number of drafting specialties, including mechanical and civil drafting.
Continuing Education Information
A bachelor's degree in computer drafting and design is available through on-campus programs. This degree includes general education requirements, like English, mathematics and science. A student can complete a bachelor's degree in four years. Graduate degrees in drafting or related fields are also available.
A fully online associate's degree program in computer drafting and design prepares students to continue their education at the bachelor's level or pursue entry-level work as drafters. Online students may need specialized software as they take courses in GIS and architectural drafting.