Online AutoCAD Schools and Programs: How to Choose

In this article, you will look at a few of the different types of AutoCAD programs, their online availability, and their objectives. You will also learn about a couple of specific programs in the field and which schools offer them.

How to Select an Online AutoCAD School

Students considering online AutoCAD schools must make their decision based on several key factors. AutoCAD is a design and drafting software program that is taught in many computer-aided design (CAD) programs. Various 2-year public schools and private online colleges offer drafting degree and certificate programs in which students can learn AutoCAD and other software drafting programs. Students can find online CAD programs at the associate degree and certificate level. Students must weigh program availability with the focus and objectives.

Program Availability

There are very few degree programs available specifically in AutoCAD. More often than not online learners will find CAD programs, instead of strictly AutoCAD programs. Some institutions offer certificate programs for CAD, which are heavily focused in AutoCAD. Students can also find online associate degree programs in CAD technology; however, they are exceedingly rare.

Focus and Objectives

Different programs have different objectives. Online certificate programs typically focus on educating students in AutoCAD, while associate degree programs train students in AutoCAD technology, math, communication and human relations. Some programs prepare student for AutoCAD certification, while others simply provide students with the fundamentals of AutoCAD software.

Online Degree Program Availability for AutoCAD

Online CAD Certificate

A CAD certificate provides students with basic knowledge of CAD systems and AutoCAD software for entry-level CAD operator positions. These programs usually have a hardware requirement list to make sure that students have a computer capable of running the AutoCAD software. Some institutions offer classes simply through e-mail correspondence, while others use online education software that combines e-mail, instant messenger, message boards and online testing capabilities. Topics covered include:

  • Drafting
  • Layers and linetypes
  • Arcs and polar arrays

Online Associate of Science in CAD Drafting and Design

CAD and technical illustration in the fields of mechanical, structural and civil drafting is the core of this associate degree program. Students are trained in the applications of AutoCAD and other CAD software, as well as mathematical concepts. The program also explores teamwork and communication in professional industries. This program is offered in a hybrid format. It combines both online and on-campus elements. Students in this type of program can expect to find courses like:

  • Modeling techniques and commands
  • Industrial CAD and lab
  • CAD lab
  • Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing

Schools with Online Programs in AutoCAD

Penn Foster Career School has an online AutoCAD Essentials certificate program that students may complete. This program includes completing two courses which cover a five-part Working with AutoCAD series. Students in this program are required to have some experience working with Windows computers and in basic drafting. Those who don't are encouraged to pursue the Drafting with AutoCAD Career Diploma, which is also available online.

Ashworth College has an online training and exam program student may complete to prepare for certification as an Autodesk AutoCAD Certified User. To learn AutoCAD skill, students complete online lessons and virtual field trips. In preparation for the certification exam, this program provides students access to AutoCAD Certified User practice exams.

AutoCAD training courses or certificates may be completed online through the use of online lessons and virtual projects. Many of these programs are designed to prepare students for certification. Other online programs are meant to bolster skills and may require students to already have some basic drafting experience.

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