Online Certificate and Diploma Programs in CAD Design

Get info about online programs in computer-aided drafting and design (CAD or CADD). Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

Drafters create detailed drawings and technical plans based on specifications provided by designers, engineers, and architects. Students interested in drafting careers can pursue online certificate and diploma programs in CAD design, which commonly take less than two years to complete. These programs are typically available in fully online formats. Applicants to these programs must have drafting software, such as AutoCAD, Solidworks and Autodesk Inventor. To ensure that credentials are recognized by potential employers, students should seek programs certified by the America Design Drafting Association.

Certificate and Diploma

Individuals enrolled in online certificate and diploma programs in CAD design can expect a combination of lecture presentations and lab-style assignments. The latter must often be completed using specific drafting software, which students are usually responsible for purchasing.

Course Topics

Courses provide instruction in basic drawing techniques and their application in AutoCAD, SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor software systems. Some topics of study may include:

  • Basic and technical drawing
  • CAD management
  • Modeling and visualization
  • Professional development

Career Information

Computer-aided drafting systems are used to create product and architectural designs for a wide range of everyday objects and structures. From toys to motor vehicles and family homes to skyscrapers, most of the man-made items in our world at one time existed only as a line drawing on paper. Drafters are responsible for preparing product designs and structure drawings. It's their job to create comprehensive, mathematically sound, three-dimensional visual representations that show the way for workers responsible for constructing products and structures. Helping to execute the vision of engineers, designers and architects, drafting professionals play a key role in making product and building concepts a reality.

Graduates of online certificate or diploma programs in CAD design may be qualified to work in a wide range of fields, including manufacturing, mining, construction, engineering and architecture. Employers often prefer students with at least two years of professional training in addition to a certificate or another credential. Specific roles within these industries include:

  • Architectural or Civil Drafter
  • Electrical Drafter
  • Mechanical Drafter
  • Land Surveyor

Students interested in CAD design can complete an online certificate or diploma program. Graduates of these programs may be able to work in manufacturing, mining, construction, engineering and architecture, though many employers favor those who have experience in addition to a certificate.

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