AutoCAD is a computer-aided design software program used in two- and three-dimensional design. The entrance requirements to AutoCAD design institutes vary by program. Some certification programs are designed as continuing education for professionals already working with a previous version of the application, while others are made for people with no previous experience. For entry-level programs, applicants generally need a high school diploma or the equivalency, along with strong mathematics and science skills. Previous experience with computers and design theory is also useful.
AutoCAD Design Programs
AutoCAD is used in a variety of fields, ranging from architecture to mechanical design. Students learn by using actual AutoCAD software on current computer hardware, gaining experience in a realistic setting. Often, students receive AutoCAD training in a single course that allows them to learn at their own pace. Students learn the technical and aesthetic aspects of designing buildings, electronic devices, room interiors, machines and other items. Most programs instruct on:
- 2-D design
- 3-D design
- Engineering drawing
- Drafting technology
- Architectural drafting
Popular Career Options
AutoCAD is used in a number of drafting and design fields, so people demonstrating knowledge with the program often have a number of career options. Some popular careers include:
- Mechanical drafter
- Computer chip drafter
- Architectural drafter
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of employment opportunities for all drafters is expected to decline by 3% from 2014-2024. Mechanical drafters earned a median salary of $53,520 per year as of 2015, while architectural and civil drafters earned median salaries of $50,710, reports the BLS.
AutoCAD certification is available for those who pass a written exam on basic drafting and design concepts administered by the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA). Obtaining this voluntary certification can give job applicants an advantage over their peers.
Many students enroll into AutoCAD design programs to learn the skills needed to design two- and three-dimensional models as drafters. These programs can prepare students for AutoCAD certification and jobs as mechanical drafters, computer chip drafters, architectural drafters, etc.