Aspiring architectural CAD technicians can learn the skills needed through certificate and associate's degree programs. Programs take two years to complete and offer courses in CAD technology as it applies to architectural drafting and design. Most programs also include coursework in related areas such as BIM, architectural design fundamentals, and construction materials. Although college training isn't required, employers prefer to hire those with post-secondary training or a college degree that includes training in architectural CAD.
In an Architectural CAD Technician degree, students can expect to learn:
- Different types of CAD software such as AutoCAD, MicroStation and Revit
- Building Information Modeling (BIM) Design software
- Foundations of architectural drawing & design
- Specific types of architectural design (e.g. residential, civil, and commercial)
- Different materials and methods used to build buildings & structures
List of Common Architectural CAD Courses
Introduction to Drawing and Design in Architecture Course
This course introduces students to architectural drawing, as well as design principles and methods. Hands-on instruction includes creation of sketches and models. Topics include drawing the visual characteristics of two-dimensional and three-dimensional forms and schematic design principles. This course is often a prerequisite of architectural CAD instruction.
Introduction to AutoCAD
Students learn the basics of AutoCAD software programs. Instruction includes basic design terminology, computer commands and template design. Students are required to complete this course prior to taking more specific design courses, such as commercial, residential and civic CAD.
Building Information Modeling Software
In this advanced-level course students will learn how to use BIM technology to create building plans and import vector-based reference drawings into model files. By the end of the course, students will have learned to create a 3D building model, and become familiar with making still views and walk through animations of their building designs.
Architectural Structure Design Course
This course provides instruction in the drafting and design of basic architectural structure systems. Topics include various types of building foundations and frameworks, such as concrete, steel and wood. Students are required to learn industry standards for different building materials. Though these courses are not required as a prerequisite to CAD instruction, they can help students understand design decisions made in CAD work.
Commercial Architectural CAD Course
This course introduces students to designing and drafting commercial structures using CAD software. Topics include building codes, access requirements and how to interpret building project manuals. Students are required to use CAD software to create sample commercial drawings.
Residential Architectural CAD Course
Instruction includes an introduction to principles of residential drawing and design. Topics covered can include architectural terminology, residential building plans and drafting structural elements that are unique to residential buildings. Students are required to create residential drawings using CAD software. Advanced courses focus on building methodologies and their effects on three-dimensional drawings and designs.