Computer Drawing Diploma and Certificate Program Info

Computer drawing diploma and certificate programs concentrate on computer-aided drafting and computer drawing for architectural, engineering, construction, and manufacturing industries. These programs are usually completed in one year or less.

Essential Information

Computer drawing certificate programs heavily emphasize drafting and design. Students will learn the proper design techniques necessary to create and edit multi-view computer drawings. Computer drawing diploma programs focus on architectural residential drafting and prepare students to become proficient in the drafting techniques that are used by architects, contractors, and engineers. Students learn to work with maps, plot plans, and implement industrial and commercial designs.

To be accepted into either the diploma or certificate program in computer drawing, an applicant should have a high school diploma or equivalent. Students should expect to spend up to a year to complete either a certificate or diploma, depending on the specific program.

Students who wish to explore computer drawing for the entertainment industry should seek out educational programs in computer animation or computer graphics.

Certificate Programs in Computer Drawing

Upon completion of a certificate program in computer aided drafting, students will be able to use computer-aided drafting (CAD) software to produce, plot, and manage CAD models and drawings to produce engineering documents. Coursework may include:

  • Solid modeling
  • Manufacturing processes

Diploma programs for Architectural Residential Drafter

Students of these programs use computer-aided drafting to prepare detailed architectural plans. They also learn to draw sections, elevations, schedules, and other details pertinent to residential construction. Coursework usually includes:

  • Building materials and construction
  • Sketch presentation
  • Architecture
  • Design support
  • Site surveying
  • Residential structures

Diploma Programs for Civil Drafting

Students will learn about materials used in heavy construction, structural concrete drafting, topographical mapping, surveying, and drafting structural steel. A civil drafting diploma program is also designed to teach students about building regulations, contracts, and safety regulations. Potential courses include:

  • Electrical design
  • Civil technology
  • Lighting design
  • Construction management
  • Structural analysis
  • Plumbing design

Popular Career Options

Graduates of certificate programs can work as entry-level drafters and as assistants. Positions might include:

Salary and Employment Outlook Information

The national median hourly wage for civil drafters was $24.38 in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, which calculated to the same annual figure as for architectural drafters. Employment possibilities for civil drafting professionals appear to be greater in large urban areas such as New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and Chicago. The BLS also reports that nearly half of all drafting jobs are in architectural, engineering, construction, and related fields. According to projections, architectural and civil drafters can expect a 3% decline in the job growth rate from 2014 to 2024. However, drafters with the most training and education can expect greater opportunities. Median earnings for architectural drafters were $50,710 in 2015.

Continuing Education

Students who wish to continue their computer drawing education might transfer credits to an associate's or bachelor's degree program. To further build upon their education in computer-aided drafting, students may complete a bachelor's degree program that incorporate CAD techniques such as architecture, construction management, or computer engineering.

Students in computer drawing certificate or diploma programs will learn techniques related to computer-aided drafting and design. The decline in job growth in this career field may raise a challenge for students upon program completion.

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