AutoCAD Technology Career Training in Minnesota with Program Info

Jul 26, 2019

Minnesota has about 10 colleges that offer AutoCAD career training programs. Learn about the degree programs, tuition info and program options for 8 of these schools to make an informed education decision.

Essential Information

AutoCAD is a computer-aided design (CAD) software program from Autodesk, Inc. that's used to create drawings and layouts for professional fields, such as architecture and engineering. In Minnesota, programs are offered at several community and technical colleges. Besides CAD technology programs, students can look to programs in architectural technology and design, engineering technology and digital fabrication technology. Studies are typically offered through undergraduate certificate, diploma and associate degree programs. Read here about 8 public and private not-for-profit colleges in Minnesota with career training in AutoCAD technology.

Anoka Technical College

Anoka Technical College is located roughly 20 miles north of Minneapolis in Anoka and offers AutoCAD classes through its architectural and construction technology program. The school has an AutoCAD lab, where students can learn about the technology used in engineering, architecture and design construction. The 59-credit diploma and 69-credit Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) programs each include beginning and advanced architectural CAD courses. In addition to hands-on training with AutoCAD, students gain knowledge of residential and commercial graphics, 3-D CAD and project estimating. The A.A.S. program has many of the same courses as the diploma program, with the inclusion of general education classes.

Certificate, diploma and associate's degree programs are also available in mechanical drafting and design technology. While no AutoCAD classes are offered in these programs, students do take CAD courses and can use the school's CAD lab to gain hands-on experience with the software program.

Century College

Century College is in White Bear Lake, which is just east of the Twin Cities and near the Wisconsin border. The school's A.A.S. program in engineering CAD technology focuses on training in CAD software for mechanical drafting and design manufacturing careers. A course in AutoCAD is required as part of the program, and students can elect to take classes in advanced CAD software and special topics in engineering CAD, as well as a design project and an internship. Graduates should be prepared for careers in mechanical drafting, engineering technology and technology sales.

Hennepin Technical College

Brooklyn Park is a suburb of Minneapolis and home to Hennepin Technical College (HTC). The 17-credit advanced certificate program for AutoCAD operators is designed for those who have 2 years of CAD experience or are graduates of a 2-year engineering CAD program. Students must take a class in AutoCAD that teaches about drawing, manipulating, editing and plotting. A class in Autodesk Inventor and an industrial project are also required. Some of the electives offered in the program include engineering drawing, blueprint reading and computer-assisted machining.

Additionally, HTC has a 64-credit diploma program and a 72-credit A.A.S. program in engineering CAD technology, which both include a required class in AutoCAD, and offer AutoCAD upgrade training as an elective. The AutoCAD and engineering CAD technology programs are offered at the Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie campuses.

Lake Superior College

Located in northeastern Minnesota is Lake Superior College, nestled in the city of Duluth on the shores of Lake Superior. The college has an A.A.S. program in engineering CAD technology that consists of 65 credits and trains graduates to work as assistants with land surveyors and civil engineers. Courses that offer AutoCAD studies include civil CAD applications and engineering graphics. Through these classes, participants study how AutoCAD is used with civil surveying, editing, hatching, layering, merging drawings and plotting. In addition, the class in highway design uses AutoCAD to teach about curves, earthwork computations and storm drainage, and it includes a final design project. Students can take similar classes when working through the certificate program offered by the school which focuses in understanding of CAD software and teaches both 2D and 3D CAD software programs.

Minneapolis Community and Technical College

Minneapolis Community and Technical College is near downtown Minneapolis and offers a 64-credit diploma program in architectural technology. Each student in the program has use of the school's architectural lab, complete with an individual drafting and computer station. The computers are installed with various CAD software programs, including AutoCAD. A class in AutoCAD is required during the first semester of the diploma program.

Northland Community and Technical College

The main campus of Northland Community and Technical College is in Thief River Falls. The school offers a 69-credit associate in applied science program in architectural technology and design that trains students in residential architecture technology with AutoCAD software. This program is offered at the school's East Grand Forks campus, which is near the North Dakota border.

Students take an advanced CAD course that covers the current version of AutoCAD software with topics such as drawing, editing and commands. Participants use AutoCAD to create a drawing project of a commercial steel building. Some other classes in the certificate program include basic CAD, environmental design and model construction.

Ridgewater College

Ridgewater College is located in the central Minnesota city of Willmar and has 3 CAD programs that are offered on campus and fully online. The 29-credit certificate program for computer-aided drafting technicians includes basic and advanced courses that train students to draw, edit, store and create 2-D drawings using AutoCAD. This certificate program is held at the college's Hutchinson campus.

The basic and advanced classes using AutoCAD are also offered in the school's diploma and A.A.S. programs in computer-aided drafting and design. Students can take these programs at the Willmar and Hutchinson campuses. The drafting and design programs at the Willmar campus can be integrated with the school's welding program so that interested students can learn about high-tech skills, such as robotic welding and programming.

St. Cloud Technical and Community College

St. Cloud is a little over an hour from the Twin Cities and is the setting of St. Cloud Technical and Community College. This college offers diploma and A.A.S. programs in architectural construction technology that train students in the CAD skills needed for working in residential and light commercial construction. Students learn these skills through the use of AutoCAD and AutoCAD Architecture, in addition to other architectural software.

Some of the required topics covered in the 52-credit diploma program include architectural CAD, AutoCAD documentation, drawings, perspectives and elevations. During the final semester, program participants complete a project by drafting a commercial building design and commercial remodel with AutoCAD. The A.A.S. program includes much of the same coursework, with the addition of general education studies.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting AutoCAD Technology Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Anoka Technical College 2-year, public; large suburb Basic CAD Drafting Certificate,
Advanced CAD Drafting Certificate,
Mechanical Drafting & Design Diploma,
Associate in Applied Science in Mechanic Drafting & Design,
Diploma in Architectural and Construction Technician,
Associate of Applied Science in Architectural Technology
Century College 2-year, public; large suburb Associate in Applied Science in Engineering CAD Technology $5,435*
Hennepin Technical College 2-year, public; large suburb Advanced Technical Certificate in AutoCAD Operator,
Diploma in Engineering CAD Technology,
Associate in Applied Science in Engineering CAD Technology
Lake Superior College 2-year, public; small city Engineering CAD Technician Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in Engineering CAD Technology
Minneapolis Community and Technical College 2-year, public; large city Diploma in Architectural Technology $5,396*
Northland Community and Technical College 2-year, public; remote town Associate in Applied Science in Architectural Technology and Design $5,549*
Ridgewater College 2-year, public; remote town Certificate in Computer-Aided Drafting Technician,
Diploma in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design,
Associate in Applied Science in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design
St. Cloud Technical and Community College 2-year, public; small city Diploma in Architectural Construction Technology,
Associate in Applied Science in Architectural Construction Technology

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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