AutoCAD is a software program made by the company Autodesk for purposes of computer-aided design (CAD). In California, training in AutoCAD and other CAD software is often found in architecture, drafting, or engineering programs at the associate's degree level. The list below summarizes the degree offerings at the ten largest 2-year colleges in California that offer instruction in this area. The programs include but are not limited to:
- Drafting Technician - Architectural
- Architecture Technology
- Computer-Aided Design - Mechanical
- Civil Design Drafting Technology
- Architectural Design
- Design and Drawing
- Computer-Assisted Drafting
- Electro-Mechanical Drafting and Design
The drafting programs at Chaffey College's main campus in Rancho Cucamonga include both specific courses in CAD and more general courses that incorporate CAD usage. The architectural drafting Associate of Science (AS) curriculum comprises coursework in architectural CAD applications, 3-D design fundamentals, and introductory and advanced architectural design. In the mechanical drafting program, students take classes in mechanical CAD, computer-integrated manufacturing, physics, and 3-D computer modeling. Certificate programs are also offered in both program areas. Chaffey additionally houses an engineering associate degree program, in which students take a course focused on CAD in an engineering context.
College of the Canyons
At its main campus in Santa Clarita, College of the Canyons (COC) offers architectural and engineering associate degree programs that encapsulate course offerings in CAD. The architectural drafting and technology curriculum incorporates study in architectural and interior design AutoCAD, as well as CAD 3-D animation and modeling. While CAD classes are not part of the engineering associate degree program's required curriculum, students may take an elective that provides 2-D training in AutoCAD, covering topics such as geometric construction, dimensioning and tolerance, working drawings composition, and auxiliary views.
In addition to these two degree programs, COC confers a certificate of achievement in architectural drafting, as well as certificates of specialization in architectural CAD, automated machining, manufacturing technology - CAD/CAM, and mechanical drafting, all of which include coursework in CAD.
De Anza College
Cupertino-based De Anza College awards an AS in Computer-Aided Design. In this program, students learn how to use SolidWorks, Autodesk, and Creo CAD software, in addition to completing courses in geometric dimensioning and general education disciplines. The school also has certificate programs in mechanical CAD, AutoDesk, SolidWorks, and Creo Parametric.
Diablo Valley College
The main campus of Diablo Valley College (DVC) is located in Pleasant Hill and houses associate degree programs in architecture technology and civil design drafting technology. Both of these programs include courses in AutoCAD; the architecture technology curriculum includes one required AutoCAD course, with an advanced class available as an elective. In the civil design drafting technology program, students complete basic and advanced coursework in AutoCAD, as well as courses in architectural digital tools, technical drawing, and trigonometry. DVC also offers certificate programs in civil design drafting and technology, civil drafting - CAD, computer-aided drafting and digital media for engineering and architecture, and architecture technology.
Long Beach City College
Based in Long Beach, Long Beach City College (LBCC) offers an associate degree program in architectural design at its Liberal Arts Campus. Students pursuing this degree receive instruction in the newest version of AutoCAD software and learn to create production drawings, digital models, and architectural designs. The curriculum covers both 2-D and 3-D AutoCAD design capabilities. A certificate program in architectural design is also available at LBCC.
Palomar College's campus in San Marcos hosts associate degree programs in computer-assisted drafting, technical drafting technology, and electro-mechanical drafting and design that include introductory and higher-level courses in AutoCAD. The computer-assisted drafting program comprises additional instruction in SolidWorks software and mathematics, and students can choose electives in topics such as geometric tolerancing and problems with CAD.
Technical drafting technology students receive further instruction in CAD machining, and the electro-mechanical drafting and design curriculum incorporates training in AutoCAD customization and printed circuit board design. In all of these programs, work experience may be used for college credit. Palomar also offers certificate programs in each of these areas.
Rio Hondo College
Rio Hondo College (RHC), located in Whittier, awards Associate of Science degrees in architecture, architectural design and drawing, civil design technology, and engineering design drafting. The curriculum for each of these programs includes coursework in computer-assisted design and drafting. The architecture program requires a class in basic applications of CAD, while the architectural design and drawing curriculum encompasses study in AutoCAD for production and design.
In the civil design program, students undergo courses in basic and intermediate CAD, and engineering design drafting students receive training in SolidWorks software and 3-D modeling applications, in addition to basic AutoCAD use. RHC also awards certificates of achievement in the following: architecture design and drawing technician, civil design technology, civil design and drawing, and engineering design drafting technician.
Sacramento City College
The Sacramento-based main campus of Sacramento City College (SCC) offers several degree programs that include CAD training. In the AS programs in architectural/structural drafting, electric (power-lighting systems), engineering design technology, HVAC systems design, and mechanical (HVAC/plumbing systems), courses in basic, intermediate, and advanced computer-aided design and drafting are required. In addition, students in these programs undergo general education coursework in subjects such as humanities, natural science, and languages. SCC also offers certificate programs in each of the aforementioned degree program areas.
San Joaquin Delta College
San Joaquin Delta College's (Delta) main campus in Stockton hosts architectural drafting and engineering technology degree programs that include instruction in CAD. To earn an associate degree in architectural drafting, students take classes in computer-aided drafting procedures, digital architectural tools, and computer science.
The curricula for the engineering technologies and mechanical engineering technology programs comprise courses in machine drafting, civil drafting, and 3-D modeling, as well as specific training in CAD. In addition to these degrees, Delta confers certificates of achievement in architectural drafting, computer-aided engineering drafter, and mechanical engineering technology.
Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC) in Santa Ana houses several degree programs that employ AutoCAD training. The AS in Engineering Civil Technology curriculum encapsulates AutoCAD courses that cover such subjects as dimensions, layers, and advanced editing, as well as introductory 3-D use. In the engineering computer-aided drafting and design associate degree program, students undergo four AutoCAD courses that teach topics like image tile menu customization and dynamic viewing. SAC also has an engineering drafting and design degree program that incorporates a specialization in architectural/civil engineering/construction drafting and design; in this concentration, students receive instruction in 2-D and 3-D AutoCAD use.
The mechanical 3-D solid modeling CAD associate degree curriculum comprises training in various types of CAD software, including SolidWorks and Pro/ENGINEER. SAC offers certificate programs in the above areas as well, along with degree and certificate programs in engineering and engineering industrial technology that each include a course in AutoCAD.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Degree Programs with AutoCAD Courses Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Chaffey College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Associate in Science in Drafting Technician - Architectural,
Associate in Science in Drafting Technician - Mechanical,
Associate in Science in Engineering
|$1,172 in-state; $7,604 out-of-state*|
|College of the Canyons||2-year, public; large suburb|| Associate in Science in Architectural Drafting and Technology,
Associate in Science in Engineering
|$1,156 in-state; $7,612 out-of-state*|
|De Anza College||2-year, public; small city||Associate in Science in Computer-Aided Design||$1,561 in-state; $7,501 out-of-state*|
|Diablo Valley College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Associate in Science in Architecture Technology,
Associate in Science in Civil Design Drafting Technology
|$1,312 in-state; $8,564 out-of-state*|
|Long Beach City College||2-year, public; large city||Associate in Science in Architectural Design||$1,174 in-state; $7,750 out-of-state*|
|Palomar College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Associate in Science in Computer-Assisted Drafting,
Associate in Science in Drafting Technology - Technical,
Associate in Science in Electro-Mechanical Drafting and Design
|$1,338 in-state; $8,702 out-of-state*|
|Rio Hondo College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Associate of Science in Architecture,
Associate of Science in Architectural Design and Drawing,
Associate of Science in Civil Design Technology,
Associate of Science in Engineering Design & Drafting
|$1,360 in-state; $6,624 out-of-state*|
|Sacramento City College||2-year, public; large city|| Associate in Science in Architectural/Structural Drafting,
Associate in Science in Electric (Power-Lighting Systems),
Associate in Science in Engineering Design Technology,
Associate in Science in HVAC Systems Design,
Associate in Science in Mechanical (HVAC/Plumbing Systems)
|$1,104 in-state; $8,712 out-of-state*|
|San Joaquin Delta College||2-year, public; large city|| Associate in Science in Architectural Drafting,
Associate in Science in Engineering Technology,
Associate in Science in Engineering Technology - Mechanical
|$1,288 in-state; $8,848 out-of-state*|
|Santa Ana College||2-year, public; large city|| Associate in Science in Engineering Civil Technology,
Associate in Science in Engineering Computer-Aided Drafting and Design,
Associate in Science in Engineering Drafting and Design,
Associate in Science in Mechanical 3-D Solid Modeling CAD
|$1,160 in-state; $8,960 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.