AutoCAD Classes in Los Angeles with Degree Descriptions

The Los Angeles area has at least five colleges that offer AutoCAD classes or programs. Learn about the courses, admission info, and program requirements for three of these schools that are no more than 15 miles from downtown and make an informed education decision.

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Los Angeles AutoCAD Schools

AutoCAD is a computer-aided design software tool used to create 2D and 3D designs. Students interested in finding AutoCAD classes or programs in the Los Angeles area have a nice variety of schools from which to choose. This article explores three schools that are no more than 25 minutes from downtown and looks at the programs they offer. Once students have completed these programs, they may be eligible for professional certification through the American Design Drafters Association (ADDA).

There's also a side-by-side comparison of pertinent facts about the schools, such as enrollment, tuition and the student retention and graduation rates. At the end of the article is a listing of a few other area schools with relevant programs.

  • About 11 miles from downtown Los Angeles, Glendale Community College offers three AutoCAD-related programs. The college has an architectural drafting and design certificate program, an electro/mechanical fabrication technician program and an engineering/electro-mechanical design certificate program.
  • Los Angeles Valley College has an architecture certificate that includes AutoCAD classes and an engineering associate degree with a mechanical drafting/design emphasis program that prepares students for several careers. This school is about 15 miles from downtown.
  • Also 15 miles from the city center, Rio Hondo College offers an engineering design and drafting certificate and an architectural design and drawing associate degree program.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Architectural Drafting and Design
  • CAD Drafting and Design Technology
  • Civil Engineering Drafting and Design
  • Mechanical Drafting and Design

Comparison of Schools

The following table offers information on each of the three schools that prospective students can use in deciding what's best for them.

Glendale Community College Los Angeles Valley College Rio Hondo College
School Type 2-year, public 2-year, public 2-year, public
Total Enrollment (2014) 15,112* 18,641* 16,263*
Campus Setting Midsize city Large city Large suburb
Tuition & Fees (2015-2016) $1,175 in-state; $5,855 out-of-state* $1,220 in-state; $7,016 out-of-state* $1,360 in-state; $6,960 for out-of-state*
% of Full-Time Beginning Students Receiving Any Form of Financial Aid (2013-2014) 66%* 81%* 81%*
Acceptance Rate (2014) Open admissions* Open admissions* Open admissions*
Retention Rate (2014) 72% full-time, 54% part-time* 73% full-time, 48% part-time* 79% full-time, 46% part-time*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (students began 2011) 18% (13% transfer-out)* 21% (9% transfer-out)* 20% (7% transfer-out)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Glendale Community College

Glendale Community College (GCC) is a public school that offers various career and technical programs to train students with skills necessary in today's industries. GCC offers both certificate and associate degree programs, allowing students a choice in their level of education. Among several career-oriented programs offered are the architectural drafting and design program and the electro/mechanical fabrication technicians program. GCC also has individual classes on software programs, such as AutoCAD, Revit, and SketchUp 8. The faculty in the architectural technology department has many years' experience in the industry and with the current software programs.

Architectural Drafting and Design Certificate

This program prepares students to work as architectural drafters for commercial and residential building companies. Students learn about building codes and construction techniques and become familiar with CAD software. Additionally, they make portfolios of drawings created using CAD software. Course topics for this 42-unit program include drafting and basic design, architectural drafting and design, basic AutoCAD applications, and 2-part courses in both residential architectural design and commercial architectural design. Classes are offered during the day and evening.

Electro/Mechanical Fabrication Technician Certificate

This certificate program, offered through GCC's engineering department, requires students to complete 23-27 units. Students take courses in basic electricity/electronics, engineering print reading, basic AutoCAD applications, technical math, and aircraft structures. The curriculum includes classroom lectures and lab courses. Students also gain experience working with circuit boards and become familiar with soldering, wire wrapping, and reworking processes.

Engineering/Electro-Mechanical Design Certificate

This certificate program is similar to the electro/mechanical fabrication technician program but focuses more on engineering principles. The 24-unit curriculum includes courses in AutoCAD applications, engineering drafting and basic design, electronic drawing, advanced engineering drawing, electro-mechanical packaging, and engineering documentation.

Los Angeles Valley College

Los Angeles Valley College is a public college that offers various academic departments, including certificate and degree programs, continuing education, distance learning, and vocational education. The vocational education division branches out into various other fields, including an engineering department that features several certificate and associate degree programs. These programs prepare students for careers in computer-aided design technology, mechanical drafting/design, and engineering technology or for transfer to 4-year colleges.

Architecture Certificate

This certificate program prepares students for careers in the architecture or engineering industry. The curriculum includes lecture and lab courses. Students must complete at least 28-30 required courses to earn the certificate. Course topics include engineering drafting, technical math, engineering descriptive geometry, and architectural rendering. Students learn about CAAD (computer-aided architectural drawing) and complete three sequential architectural drawing courses.

Associate in Science in Engineering with Mechanical Engineering Option

With a strong focus on AutoCAD, this associate degree program provides students with the training to be mechanical or civil engineering drafters. Students complete general education courses, core courses, and mechanical drafting/design courses, such as engineering drafting, machine shop theory and practice, engineering descriptive geometry, and blueprint reading. The program also requires two classes focused entirely on AutoCAD. The curriculum utilizes a mixture of lecture and lab classes. A shop practice class gives students experience using hand tools, power tools, and measuring devices.

Programs at Rio Hondo College

The Drafting/CAD/GIS Technology Department offers various certificate and associate degree programs designed to prepare students for careers in many industries. Students can choose from programs focusing on civil design technology; architectural design and drawing; surveying mapping and drawing; engineering design drafting; and civil design and drawing. The department also offers 22 technical design drawing and CADD (computer-aided design and drafting) courses.

Engineering Design and Drafting Certificate of Achievement

This program trains students for manufacturing careers or careers that are engineering-related or CAD application-based. To earn the certificate, students must complete 28 units of required courses. Topics of study in this program include basic and intermediate AutoCAD; technical product design and presentation; architectural and technical freehand sketching; residential architecture drawing and design; and engineering design graphics.

Associate of Science in Architectural Design & Drawing

The architectural design and drawing associate degree program is aimed at students interested in pursuing work immediately after graduation, rather than transferring to architecture programs at 4-year colleges. Individuals interested in working for architectural firms, in construction or similar industries may find this program ideal. In addition to the major-related courses, students must complete general education courses required for all associate degree programs. Students complete studies in AutoCAD for basic CADD applications; residential architecture and detailing; intermediate and advanced AutoCAD; engineering design graphics; commercial wood and masonry design and construction; residential architecture drawing and design; and construction print reading.

Other School Options

Students can also find AutoCAD classes or programs at Los Angeles Pierce College and Long Beach City College, both of which are located around 24 miles from downtown Los Angeles.

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