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Drafting and Design Degrees in Seattle, WA with Program Overviews

Feb 24, 2019

Research drafting and design degrees in Seattle, which currently has seven colleges offering training in the field. To help you decide which one is a good fit for you, read an overview of the program options and requirements at three schools located within about 15 miles of the city center.

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Seattle Drafting and Design Schools

Drafting and design programs range from general computer-assisted drafting (CAD) programs to those in specialized fields like architectural, civil engineering and mechanical drafting. Students in Seattle have educational opportunities in each of these areas. Check out a table of statistics on the colleges and then get details on the program levels and coursework at three schools. A couple of other school options are discussed as well.

  • South Seattle College offers a CAD certificate in mechanical drafting and an associate's degree in engineering graphics and design technology. The school is around six miles from downtown Seattle.
  • Kirkland's Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWIT), roughly ten miles away from central Seattle, is a four-year, public school that offers associate's degrees and certificates in architectural, civil and engineering graphics.
  • Renton Technical College's catalog includes a general CAD certificate program as well as an associate's-level program in engineering design technology. The campus is ten miles from Seattle's downtown area.

Comparison of Schools

Take a glance at the table below to find out more about each institution and compare the schools in a number of areas. There are facts on enrollment numbers, graduation rates, tuition and more.

South Seattle College Lake Washington Institute of Technology Renton Technical College
School Type 4-year, primarily associate's, public 4-year, primarily associate's, public 4-year, primarily associate's, public
Total Enrollment (2017) 6,716* 3,697* 3,763*
Campus Setting Large city Large suburb Midsize city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $4,515* $4,137 for in-state students, $9,486 for out-of-state students* $5,377*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2016-2017) 61%* 53%* 74%*
Acceptance Rate N/A - open enrollment N/A - open enrollment N/A - open enrollment
Graduation Rate (students began in Fall 2011) 41%* 34%* 63%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

South Seattle College

South Seattle College is one of four schools that make up the Seattle College District, the largest community college district in the state. The drafting and design programs are administered by the Professional and Technical Education Department. About one-quarter of the students at this school are enrolled in one of the school's professional/vocational programs.

Certificate in Computer-Aided Drafting with Mechanical Concentration

Training in CAD technology and processes is at the heart of this 73-credit hour certificate program. Students learn the basics of drafting technology along with 2D and 3D rendering, industrial blueprint reading and geometric dimensioning. A stand-alone course in mechanical drafting is part of the curriculum. The program also includes a design project. Graduates can find employment opportunities with construction firms, equipment contractors and manufacturing companies.

Associate of Applied Science in Engineering Graphics & Design Technology

This 2-year program is designed to teach students the fundamentals of CAD and design operations. The program covers several different aspects of drafting technology, including electrical and mechanical CAD applications. In addition, students are allowed a number of electives to further focus their studies in areas like surveying, tool design and architecture. The program includes an internship and culminates in a design project.

Lake Washington Institute of Technology

This school was founded in 1949 and offers professional and technical programs in 48 areas of study. Fifteen degrees and certificates are offered through programs in engineering graphics, architectural graphics and civil engineering graphics.

Certificate of Completion in Tool Design Graphics

Tool design is a specialized area of engineering graphics. Students are introduced to the principles of tool design in this 2- to 4-term program. Courses in CAD and CATIA (a 3D interactive application) are offered as part of the curriculum. This 32-credit hour program can be completed in less than a year.

Associate of Applied Science in Mechanical Design Technology

This degree program can give students a solid underpinning in CAD operations and industrial graphics. Along with courses in AutoCAD and SolidWorks, participants study industrial, machine and tool design graphics and their applications. Courses are designed to give students problem-solving tools and expertise related to engineering and graphics. The A.A.S. degree program is 110-111 credit hours and takes about two years to complete. Graduates should be able to take raw information from an engineer and turn it into a professional drawing. The school also offers a six-quarter mechanical design technology certificate program that includes most of the technical courses of the A.A.S. program.

Associate of Applied Science in Architectural Technology

This program focuses on the drafting of architectural plans for commercial and residential construction. Students are given a primer in the history and theory of architecture while studying construction techniques, print reading, design drawings and construction documents. Students will become familiar with both the AutoCAD and Revit architectural design software programs. Graduates are prepared for entry-level employment with architectural firms, engineering departments and construction companies.

The A.A.S. program takes 107 credit hours to complete and includes 20 credit hours in core requirements like social science and English. LWIT also has a 79-credit certificate program in architectural technology that contains many of the same technical classes as the degree program.

Associate of Applied Science in Civil Design Technology with an Emphasis in Architecture

Civil engineering technicians deal with a wide variety of engineering projects, including infrastructure and water management. This degree program covers topics in civil engineering and architectural fundamentals, construction materials, urban design, construction management and surveying. Students are taught the intricacies of both the AutoCAD and Civil 3D software programs. The degree program culminates in a comprehensive capstone project. Degree-seeking students can be eligible for a fellowship program to defray some of the expenses of going to college. A certificate program is also available.

Renton Technical College

The original mission of RTC was to train workers for war production jobs during WWII. The school now trains workers for a wide variety of civilian-sector occupations. RTC offers about 36 degree programs and about 80 certificate programs, including ones in engineering design and CAD training.

Associate of Applied Science in Engineering Design Technology

The goal of this program is teach students what they need to know in order to gain employment in the mechanical drafting or architectural drafting fields. Students learn the fundamentals of both manual and computer-aided drafting. The curriculum includes subjects such as structural detailing, civil design, technical mathematics and geometric dimensioning. Students also become familiar with industry standards like ISO, ANSI and AIA. The associate's degree takes about two years to complete and includes 20 credit hours of general education courses. RTC also offers a certificate in this field that is academically similar to the degree program but does not have a general education component.

CAD Certificate of Completion

In this 15-credit program, students will take courses that focus on AutoCad fundamentals and programming. Students are taught on the latest version of AutoCad software. The school is an authorized Autodesk Training Center.

Other Schools

A drafting and design program can also be found at Highline College in Des Moines, WA, which offers a certificate in CAD technology. Also, about 14 miles from Seattle is Olympic College, which offers an associate's degree in technical design as well as various design certificate programs.

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