While there are currently no bachelor's degree programs in drafting and design, undergraduate programs in this subject are generally offered as associate's degrees. Though on-campus programs are more commonly available, there are a few that are offered entirely online.
Because computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) is often used to create blueprints for buildings, undergraduates who are interested in the field may also want to consider a bachelor's degree in architecture. Individuals with a high school diploma or GED can apply directly to a bachelor's degree program, or they can transfer after they have earned an associate's degree in an area such as drafting and design. Although bachelor's degrees in architecture are uncommon, a few online programs are available
Associate's Degree in Drafting and Design
Associate's degree programs in drafting and design teach students to make technical drawings and use computer-aided drafting (CAD) software to draft blueprints for the architecture, engineering and manufacturing industries. Students may find associate's degrees in this field under the following titles:
- Associate of Applied Science in Computer Aided Design (CAD) Drafting Technologies
- Architectural Drafting and Design Associate degree
- Associate of Applied Science in Drafting and Design Engineering Technology
- Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Technology
Program Information and Requirements
In order to apply to an associate's degree program, prospective students must have a high school diploma or GED. Associate's degree programs in this field generally take about two years to complete, depending on whether the student is studying full- or part-time. Students are required to take general education courses in liberal arts subjects, as well as major courses in drafting and design. While most general education courses are up to the student, some programs stipulate that one of them be an introduction to physics. In total, online students must complete 60 credits of coursework before graduation.
In these programs, students are exposed to fundamental design principles and the technologies and techniques used to implement them in a wide range of industries. Students may be able to choose from some of the following courses:
- Geometric Tolerances
- Print Reading for CAD Design
- Manufacturing Processes for CAD Design
- Working Drawings for CAD Design
- CAD Drawing Using Free Software
- Design Project
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Bachelor's Degree in Architecture
Prospective students who are looking to enroll immediately in an online bachelor's degree program in a field related to drafting and design may consider a Bachelor of Architecture or a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture program.
Program Information and Requirements
The minimum admission requirement is a high school diploma or GED. Like associate's degrees, these programs include both general education courses and major-specific classes. Prior to graduation, students must finish 162 credits, which usually takes about four years.
It is important to note that, after graduation, aspiring architects must be licensed by state boards before they can work in the field. These boards only accept degrees that are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), so applicants should ensure that the online architecture programs they chose are accredited before enrolling.
In bachelor's degree programs in architecture, students usually take broad major courses that provide the necessary foundational education in math and the sciences, as well as introductory courses in architecture. From there, they can take more focused courses in specialized aspects of architecture.
Here are a few basic major requirements:
- College Algebra and Geometry
- Applied Physics
- History of Architecture
- Architecture Theory
- Urban Design Theory
Students may also have the option to take some of the following electives:
- Color, Perception and Space
- Wood and Steel Structures
- Concrete Structure and Masonry
- Digital Modeling
- Sustainable Strategies for Energy Use
- Building Systems: Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing
Continuing Education and Licensure Information
After finishing a bachelor's degree program, aspiring architects may seek graduate-level studies in the field, or they can start working in the field. In order to practice, architects must have a professional degree in architecture (Bachelor of Architecture, Master of Architecture or Doctor of Architecture) from a school accredited by the NAAB. Most states also require candidates to have a certain number of hours of experience before they can take the licensure exam.
Salary and Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of drafters is expected to decline by 3% between 2014 and 2024. The median annual salary for these professionals was $52,720 as of 2015.
The BLS also projected 7% job growth for architects from 2014 to 2024, which is about as fast as the national average for all occupations. The median annual salary for professionals in this field was $76,100 in 2015.
Even though it is not possible to earn an online bachelor's degree in drafting and design, there are still several options for undergraduates seeking distance learning training in the subject. Online programs are available as an associate's degree program in drafting and design or a bachelor's degree program in architecture, a related subject.