An electronic drafting certificate is a semester-long program that provides students with a basic understanding of drafting and electronic principles. Certificate programs are available, but most electronic drafting programs award a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree. Both programs require students to have a high school diploma or GED, as well as satisfactory SAT and ACT scores.
Electronic Drafting Certificate
Students learn to analyze circuit boards, electronic schematics, computer hardware parts, and other electronic devices. Using computers, students can create, label, and present electronic processes and networks.
Electronic drafting certificate programs offer advanced science, mathematics and electronic technology courses as a learning foundation. Students then take specialized courses in CAD, using industry-standard software programs and drafting equipment. Typical courses include:
- Fiber optic networks
- Technical communication
- Electronic logic and safety procedures
- Drafting research and statistics
- Microcomputer processes
Associate of Applied Science in Mechanical and Electronic Drafting
An associate's degree program in electronic drafting is the most common degree among electronic drafters. The degree program is usually offered by vocational, technical, and community colleges, though universities may also offer electronic drafting programs. The program is defined by extensive computer use and knowledge of electronic devices. Students learn to review electrical diagrams, troubleshoot electronic processes, and work with mechanical and electronic engineers to develop and maintain working electronic devices.
The electronic drafting associate's degree program includes advanced electronic and drafting courses. Students utilize CAD programs and hands-on experience with electronic devices to develop the technical and analytical skills that are standard in the field. Courses may include:
- Advanced electrical circuits
- Drafting electronic schematics
- Principles of electricity and conduits
- CAD operations and processes
- Industry metals and electricity
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), there were approximately 30,100 electrical and electronics drafting jobs in 2014. The BLS expects a 5% increase in electrical and electronics drafting jobs between 2014 and 2024. Drafting as an industry is expected to decline by 3% from 2014 to 2024. In May 2015, the median annual salary of an electrical and electronics drafter was $59,520. The highest-paid ten percent of electrical and electronics drafters earned more than $95,340 annually in 2015.
Popular Career Options
Electronic drafters with different levels of experience can obtain different drafting positions. With few years of experience, electronic drafters are more likely to become junior drafters. Senior or head drafters usually have many years of experience. An electronic drafter can also pursue other career positions, such as:
- Network administrator
- Computer technician
- Electronic technician
- Mechanical drafter
Continuing Education Information
A certificate in electronic drafting qualifies students for entry-level positions as junior drafters; however, additional certification can increase job prospects and salary opportunities. Electronic drafters can receive certification from the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) by successfully passing the Drafter Certification Test. Students can also increase potential career opportunities by pursuing an associate's degree in electronic drafting.
Students with an associate's degree can also pursue certification from the ADDA. Certification displays a student's proficiency in drafting, drawing and electronic knowledge. Students can also pursue a bachelor's degree in engineering, computer science or a specialized field for additional qualification.
Electronic drafter certification and associate's degree programs teach students how to create, maintain, and fix electronics through creating electronic plans. There are several careers open to those who completed either program, though additional certification or a bachelor's degree can increase employability.