Aspiring drafters may complete certificate, associate's, or bachelor's degree programs that incorporate computer-aided design (CAD) training on various types of technical engineering drawing software. Programs at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels provide more in-depth CAD and drafting instruction. Students should seek courses certified by the America Design Drafting Association. CAD technicians should also have computer skills and an aptitude for math and drawing.
CAD Technology Certificate of Completion
A CAD technology certificate program provides an introduction to the functionality of computer-aided drafting and the AutoCAD program. Courses may be taken individually or in a series, depending upon the institution offering the program. Certificate programs are also available for drafters who are interested in specializing in a certain area, such as architecture or mechanical design. Courses focus on:
- Basic drafting principles
- Gears and mechanisms
- Draft production in 2-D
Associate of Science in Drafting and Design Technology
A two-year associate's degree program in drafting and design technology provides more in-depth training to prepare students for an entry-level position in drafting. Students may specialize in mechanical, architectural or surveying drafting. Coursework includes:
- Engineering drawing
- An overview of CAD
Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology
Students interested in CAD technology who are pursuing a four-year bachelor's degree should consider the field of industrial technology. The program often provides options for courses in computer-aided drafting and design. Students in these programs might find these classes:
- Optimization theory
- Human factors
- Organizational behavior
- Industrial processes and industrial planning procedures
- Computer applications
- Report and presentation preparation
Many employers are seeking computer-aided drafters with industry-specific work experience of up to five years for advanced positions. However, no work experience is generally required for entry-level assistantship positions. Hands-on exercises and sample projects are often a key part of formal education programs in CAD technology and prepare students for entry-level jobs. When candidates have completed CAD technology training, they are prepared for drafting careers in aeronautical, mechanical, electronic and many other fields of engineering.
A voluntary, professional certification program is available through the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA). A test is required in order to obtain the credential.
A number of schools and professional organizations sponsor workshops and seminars in order to review specific techniques or software updates and changes. ADDA, in particular, sponsors numerous smaller workshops training sessions, including an annual meeting. The focus is usually on updating attendees to changes that have taken place in the field for the last year.
CAD technology training courses, certificate programs and diploma programs are available to those drafters who need to update their skills through a variety of educational venues. Due to technological changes, many drafters must learn new skills and tools in order to remain current in their position.
CAD technology training comes in the form of certificates, associate's, and bachelor's degrees, teaching students about drafting and design using various pieces of technology. Learning from these programs can help you in find employment in a variety of careers, as well as qualify you for voluntary certification to improve your job prospects.