Schools with Mechanical Design and Drafting Programs: How to Choose

Mechanical design and drafting refers to the methods of creating the drawings that outline machine processes and assembly methods. Typically working under engineers, mechanical designers can begin their careers after the completion of an associate degree program.

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Mechanical design and drafting is most often studied at the associate degree level, although students can also find certificate programs in the subject. These programs are usually available through continuing education and technology divisions at community colleges, technical colleges and universities.

10 Schools with Mechanical Drafting Programs

Mechanical drafting programs are offered at these colleges and universities.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition*
(2015-2016)
De Anza College Cupertino, CA 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's $1,542 In-state; $8,382 Out-of-state
Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny, IA 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's $3,913 In-state; $7,825 Out-of-state
Diablo Valley College Pleasant Hill, CA 2-Year, Public Associate's $1,298 In-state; $7,542 Out-of-state
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN 4-Year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's $9,058 In-state; $29,774 Out-of-state
Long Beach City College Long Beach, CA 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's $1,182 In-state; $7,398 Out-of-state
Los Angeles Pierce College Woodland Hills, CA 2-Year, Public Associate's $1,220 In-state; $7,016 Out-of-state
Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ 2-Year, Public Certificate $2,046 In-state; $7,830 Out-of-state
Oakland Community College Bloomfield Hills, MI 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's $5,235 In-state; $7,305 Out-of-state
Portland Community College Portland, OR 2-Year, Public Associate's $3,766 In-state; $8,374 Out-of-state
Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, NC 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,768 In-state; $8,912 Out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

Students entering this field should keep a number of factors in mind when choosing a program.

  • Students in a mechanical design and drafting program learn the basics of machinery and drafting while taking math and English courses.
  • Much of a mechanical designer's work is completed on a computer, and schools devote components of their programs to teaching the necessary computer skills, such as computer-aided design (CAD).
  • Because this skill set is computer based, schools also offer programs that students can complete solely online. Distance or nontraditional students might consider online programs as an option.
  • As mechanical designers learn their trade, they often complete an internship in manufacturing and engineering.

Certificate in Mechanical Design and Drafting

Students can earn a certificate after completing 27-33 units in CAD and drafting courses. Many aspiring mechanical drafters prepare to enter certificate programs by taking drafting courses in high school; those who haven't may be required to complete extra courses in the basics. Some certificate programs are designed as continuing education for professionals and have education or work experience prerequisites.

Associate of Applied Science in Mechanical Design and Drafting

Associate degree programs require completion of anywhere from 60-74 credit hours and prepare students for entry-level positions in mechanical, engineering or architectural firms. Some students may continue on to earn a bachelor's degree in engineering or manufacturing technologies, which makes them eligible for promotions, as well as management positions.

Many colleges and institutions offer certificate and associate's degree programs in mechanical design and drafting. Factors that may influence the choice of program include school facilities, internship opportunities, cost and location.

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