Students interested in drafting can pursue a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree. Most entry-level drafting positions require either a certificate or associate's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but a bachelor's degree might appeal to those who wish to go into fields that include drafting work, but require a bachelor's degree.
Schools with Drafting Programs
The following is a list of schools that offer various drafting programs. Tuition is based upon the 2015-2016 school year:
|College/University||Institution Type||Location||Degrees Offered||Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|Miami Dade College||4-year, Public||Miami, FL||Associate's||$2,834, in-state; $9,661, out-of-state|
|East Carolina University||4-year, Public||Greenville, NC||Bachelor's||$6,580, in-state; $22,154, out-of-state|
|Utah Valley University||4-year, Public||Orem, UT||Associate's||$5,386, in-state; $15,202, out-of-state|
|St. Petersburg College||4-year, Public||Clearwater, FL||Certificate, Associate's||$3,352, in-state; $11,607, out-of-state|
|Tallahassee Community College||4-year, Public||Tallahassee, FL||Certificate, Associate's||$2,026, in-state; $8,062, out-of-state|
|University of Akron||4-year, Public||Akron, OH||Certificate, Associate's||$10,509, in-state; $19,040, out-of-state|
|University of Toledo||4-year, Public||Toledo, OH||Bachelor's||$9,547, in-state; $18,885, out-of-state|
|South Texas College||4-year, Public||McAllen, TX||Certificate, Associate's||$3,486, in-district; $3,770, in-state; $4,440, out-of-state|
|Weber State University||4-year, Public||Ogden, UT||Associate's, Bachelor's||$5,321, in-state; $14,235, out-of-state|
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs can prepare students for jobs in the field of drafting. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a school:
- Students who want to enroll in a program that focuses entirely on drafting-related concepts can enroll in a technical certificate program. Associate's programs may offer additional drafting courses, and more flexibility in which drafting courses to take, and require general education coursework. Bachelor's programs are rare and typically include drafting as part of a broader education.
- Students who are looking at associate's degree programs may want to find out if the credits are transferrable to bachelor's degree programs in the future.
- Students should consider the amount of time they wish to dedicate to the program; certificates and associate's degrees usually take two years or less, while bachelor's degree programs can take four or five years.
- Students should look for schools that combine theoretical studies with hands-on drafting training.
Drafting certificate programs allow students to focus almost exclusively on drafting classes, with minimal to no general education coursework. Certificates typically take one to two years to complete. Coursework typically includes basic, intermediate and advanced computer-aided design, and often includes coursework about building codes and construction materials. Some programs allow students to transfer credits into an associate's program.
Associate's Degree Programs
Associate's degree programs in drafting usually lead to an Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree. Students can earn a degree in general drafting or pursue a specialization such as architectural drafting, civil drafting, electrical design, piping design or mechanical design. As part of the major, students take multiple courses in computer-aided drafting, as well as materials and math classes. They must also fulfill general education requirements.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Bachelor's degree programs in drafting and design are rare; more common is a concentration in drafting and design within a related major like industrial technology, but even drafting concentrations are not widely available. Other relevant options include Bachelor of Science programs in engineering design technology or mechanical engineering technology, which include training with CAD software in addition to relevant math, materials science and systems design classes. Drafting and design majors, minors and concentrations tend to have drafting courses such as architectural drafting, structural drafting and machine design, as well as a strong foundation in math and engineering.
There are a variety of schools offering drafting certificates and degrees that can appeal to students with a wide range of career aspirations. Because many of these programs are offered through publicly funded community colleges, tuition may be lower for in-district and in-state students.