Computer Drafting Colleges and Schools in the U.S.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common degree needed for a career as a drafter is an associate's degree, but other programs are also available. Read on to learn more education in this field.

Computer drafters prepare drawings and plans of buildings, bridges and other structures. Many schools, public and private, offer degrees and certificates in computer drafting and computer-aided design.

Schools with Computer Drafting Programs

The following schools offer programs in drafting and closely-related fields; included is a table of 2015-2016 tuition rates.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*
College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas, NV 4-year, Public Certificate $2,805 in-state, $9,450 out-of-state
University of Alaska - Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate $5,674 in-state, $17,303 out-of-state
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Associate $37,124
Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI 4-year, Public Associate $10,970 in-state, $17,562 out-of-state
Idaho State University Pocatello, ID 4-year, Public Associate, Bachelor's $6,784 in-state, $20,182 out-of-state
University of Central Missouri Warrensburg, MO 4-year, Public Bachelor's $7,322 in-state, $13,767 out-of-state
Johnson & Wales University Providence, RI 4-year, Private not-for-profit Associate $29,566
Northern Michigan University Marquette, MI 4-year, Public Associate $9,620 in-state, $15,020 out-of-state
Southern Utah University Cedar City, UT 4-year, Public Bachelor's $6,300 in-state, $19,132 out-of-state
Valencia College Orlando, FL 4-year, Public Associate $2,474 in-state, $9,383 out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

College Selection Criteria

Here are some things to consider when choosing a drafting program:

  • Students should ensure the program they choose offers training with industry-standard software and up-to-date drafting facilities.
  • Students may want to look for programs that offer concentrated study in a drafting specialization, such as mechanical drafting, civil drafting, electrical drafting, aeronautical drafting, architectural drafting and pipeline drafting.
  • Students pursuing associate's degrees may want to look for schools that have transfer or articulation agreements with other colleges, allowing them to easily transfer credits towards a bachelor's degree.
  • Aspiring drafters may want to find out what the pass rate is for graduates on the professional certification exam offered by the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA).

Associate's Degree Programs

Two-year associate's degree programs in drafting cover the basics of technical drawing and sketching as well as the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software. Students work on 2D and 3D design projects that provide preparation for jobs in technical industries such as manufacturing and construction. Prior to graduation, students must also fulfill general education requirements.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Bachelor's degree programs in drafting and design technology typically award either a Bachelor of Applied Science (BSAS) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. These programs take at least four years of full-time study. In addition to the basic concepts covered in associate's degree programs, students may also have the chance to specialize their education in a particular subfield of interest, such as mechanical, architectural/structural, electrical or civil drafting. Students may also get hands-on experience through service learning projects.

Certificate Programs

Another way for drafters to gain expertise in a particular subfield is to earn an undergraduate certificate. Certificates are typically offered at the intermediate or advanced levels, and they can cover topics such as mechanical drafting, civil drafting, animation or 3D printing. There are also comprehensive technical certificate options that provide a broad overview of the field. Depending on the program, certificates usually take about a year to complete.

Drafting programs are prevalent throughout the United States. When choosing a school, some important considerations include available drafting concentrations and hands-on training opportunities.

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