Computer Drafting Career Training in Washington State

There are more than 30 schools within Washington that have computer drafting courses. Read an overview of 9 of the largest schools' programs, requirements, and tuition information, and find out which school is the right one for you.

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

Essential Information

Washington has more than 30 schools that offer courses and programs in computer-aided drafting (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), or computer-aided drafting and design (CADD). CAD classes are typically offered in schools' interior design, architecture, or engineering departments. Software programs currently in use in this industry include AutoCAD, Revit, SolidWorks, Civil 3D, and CATIA (computer aided 3-dimensional interactive application). The courses offered at schools in this state expose students to many of these software programs, and some schools offer internship or field-experience opportunities.

Clark College

Clark College is located in Vancouver, Washington, and there are close to 13,000 students enrolled in the range of certificate and associate degree programs available. The CADD technology department offers three Certificate of Proficiency programs for students interested in CADD training. The 52-credit architectural computer-aided drafting and design program includes coursework in architectural drafting, AutoCAD, and presentation graphics, while the civil CADD program also covers civil drafting and engineering sketching. Mechanical CADD program students examine mechanical drafting and geometric dimensioning, as well. All the programs include a cooperative work experience.

Clover Park Technical College

Located in Lakewood, a large suburb south of Tacoma, Clover Park Technical College serves more than 4,700 students. Those seeking career training in computer-aided design and drafting can enroll in the architectural CAD certificate program, which requires the completion of 39 units in courses like architectural drafting and design, construction materials research, and drafting technologies. In addition to the certificate program, the school offers two associate degree programs in architectural engineering design. These programs include coursework in 3D modeling, AutoCAD, and drafting. Students also have the opportunity to complete design project courses.

Everett Community College

Everett Community College is located in the midsize city of Everett from which it takes its name, and it has close to 7,000 students enrolled in its courses and academic programs. For students interested in CAD training, the school offers a certificate and associate degree in technical design (CAD). The associate degree program examines industrial safety, engineering graphics, tolerance, and materials strength. In addition to core requirements in CAD software, like Catia, AutoCAD, and Solid Works, students complete a CAD design project. The 43-credit CAD certificate delves into graphics and measurements, dimensions, and engineering graphics, as well as includes a CAD design project.

Green River Community College

Located in Auburn, which is a small city northeast of Tacoma, Green River Community College serves about 8,300 students. It awards associate degrees and certificates in design drafting technology. Associate's degree programs are available in several areas, including design drafting technology, and mechanical design technology through the drafting design technology division. Students learn how to create blueprints and drawings for manufacturing and fabrication fields using AutoCAD, Autodesk, and SolidWorks. In addition to the 5 degree programs, students can also complete 8 certificate programs in areas like architectural drafting, mechanical drafting, and structural drafting.

Highline Community College

Des Moines, Washington, is home to Highline Community College, where more than 6,700 students are enrolled each year. There are 2 options for students seeking CAD training at Highline. The drafting department offers a certificate and an AAS or AAS-T in Drafting Design program. Sustainable design, architectural drafting, portfolio development, 2-D design, civil drafting, engineering graphics, and SolidWorks are some of the topics covered. Students seeking a certificate are required to complete 44 units, whereas associate degree candidates are required to complete 100-107 units.

South Puget Sound Community College

South Puget Sound Community College is located in Olympia and offers both a certificate and AAS in CAD. Students can complete a Certificate of Proficiency or Completion in architectural, civil, or mechanical drafting or building information modeling, as well as an AAS in Computer-Aided Drafting/Building Information Modeling. The programs aim to provide training for prospective CAD designers that is relevant to the construction and architectural industries. Courses in architectural, mechanical, and civil CADD are available to students.

Spokane Community College

The architecture/engineering department at Spokane Community College, in Spokane, offers 2 program options for potential CAD designers. The certificate program may be completed in 4 quarters and includes training in drafting and solid modeling. Degree-seeking students complete coursework in solid modeling, CAD applications, and fabrication, as well as complete a project in the 6th quarter.

Western Washington University

Western Washington University (WWU) is in Bellingham, and it enrolls more than 14,800 students. WWU offers a Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Engineering Technology - Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) program. It's available through its engineering technology department, and required coursework includes computer-aided design, material strength, manufacturing process planning, advanced CAD, calculus, and physics. The program consists of 78-82 manufacturing core credits, 50 supporting courses credits, and 15 technical elective credits.

  • Program Offered: Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Engineering Technology - CAD/CAM
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $8,805 in-state; $19,152 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small city

Yakima Valley Community College

Yakima Valley Community College (YVCC), located in Yakima about equidistant from both Portland and Seattle, has more than 4,200 students enrolled in classes and programs. The CAD certificate at YVCC is a 51-unit program that may be completed in as little as 1 year. YVCC aims to provide its CAD students with relevant training for drafters by matching software applications used in local business to the applications on which students train. The computer labs at this school are equipped with a full-size digitizer, plotters, and scanners, and each student workstation has a 17-inch color monitor, along with up-to-date software applications. Furthermore, students will also be offered training in SolidWorks and Microstation. In addition to CAD related course-work, classes like estimates, business writing, and surveying are included.

  • Program Offered: Certificate in CAD
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,820 in-state; $4,214 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 2-year, public; small city

Career Requirements

Jobs in this field typically require an associate degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and CAD drafters may be required to complete continuing professional development throughout their careers to stay current on emerging technologies.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Computer Drafting Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-16)
Clark College 2-year public; midsize city Certificate of Proficiency in CADD: Architectural, Civil or Mechanical Emphasis $3,456 in-state; $8,794 out-of-state*
Clover Park Technical College 2-year, public; large suburb Certificate in Architectural CAD Drafting,
Associate of Applied Technology in Architectural Engineering Design,
Associate in Applied Science - T in Architectural Engineering Design
$5,382 in-state; $12,855 out-of-state*
Everett Community College 2-year, public; midsize city Advanced Manufacturing Tech - Technical Design Certificate,
Associate in Technical Arts in Advanced Manufacturing Tech - Technical Design
$3,643 in-state; $8,981 out-of-state*
Green River Community College 2-year, public; small city Associate in Applied Science in Design Drafting Technology,
Certificate in Architectural Design Technology,
Certificate in Civil Design Technology,
Associate in Applied Science in Mechanical Design and QA,
Certificate in Mechanical Design Technology
$4,344 in-state; $4,751 out-of-state*
Highline Community College 2-year, public; large suburb Certificate in Drafting Design,
AAS in Drafting Design,
AAS-T in Drafting Design
$3,846 in-state; $4,253 out-of-state*
South Puget Sound Community College 2-year, public; small city Certificate of Proficiency or Completion in Architectural, Civil, or Mechanical Drafting or Building Information Modeling,
Associate in Applied Science in CAD/Building Information Modeling Technology
$3,957 in-state; $9,096 out-of-state*
Spokane Community College 2-year, public; midsize city Certificate in CADD,
Associate of Applied Sciences in CADD
$3,388 in-state; $8,726 out-of-state*
Western Washington University 4-year, public; small city Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Engineering - CAD/CAM $8,611 in-state; $20,963 out-of-state*
Yakima Valley Community College 2-year, public; small city Certificate in CAD $4,225 in-state; $4,626 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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