Trade Schools in Architectural Drafting with Program Summaries

Students interested in architectural drafting might look for programs that emphasize computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) training, in addition to offering specializations within architectural drafting.

Architectural drafters work with architects to create the technical plans used in building construction.

10 Architectural Drafting Schools

The following schools have programs in architectural drafting. Tuition rates are for the 2015-2016 school year.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Northern Virginia Community College Annandale, VA 2-year, Public Certificate $5,138 (In-state) $11,055 (Out-of-state)
Long Beach City College Long Beach, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $1,182 (In-state) $7,398 (Out-of-state)
College of DuPage Glen Ellyn, IL 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $5,275 (In-district) $10,885 (In-state) $12,985 (Out-of-state)
Montgomery College Rockville, MD 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $4,728 (In-district) $9,156 (In-state) $12,432 (Out-of-state)
Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $2,046 (In-state) $7,830 (Out-of-state)
Macomb Community College Warren, MI 2-year, Public Certificate $3,169 (In-district) $4,945 (In-state) $6,641 (Out-of-state)
Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny, IA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $3,913 (In-state) $7,825 (Out-of-state)
College of Lake County Grayslake, IL 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $3,612 (In-district) $8,358 (In-state) $11,046 (Out-of-state)
Metropolitan Community College Area Omaha, NE 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $2,745 (In-state) $4,005 (Out-of-state)
Cosumnes River College Sacramento, CA 2-year, Public Associate $1,104 (In-state) $7,440 (Out-of-state)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

Architectural Drafting School Selection Criteria

Most architectural drafters are competent in CADD, which allows drawings to be electronically generated and stored for greater ease of revision, printing and programming into automated manufacturing systems. Students should consider the following when looking for an architectural drafting school:

  • Potential architectural drafting students might wish to prioritize programs by those that offer CADD training, as job opportunities tend to be better for those with CADD experience, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (
  • Many architectural drafting programs also offer preparation for the American Design Drafting Association's (ADDA) Drafter Certification test, and although not required, ADDA certification can improve a candidate's marketability.
  • When considering programs, future architectural drafters might look for programs that not only offer strong training in fundamental drafting principles, including drawing and technical math skills, but also offer courses in areas of specialization that they find interesting.

Certificate Programs

Architectural drafting certificate programs prepare students for entry-level positions in the field. These programs typically take 8-12 months to complete, and course credits can often be applied toward an associate's degree in architectural drafting. In a certificate program, students typically focus on construction methodology, CADD, architectural graphics and technical math.

Associate's Degree Programs

Associate's degree programs in architectural drafting cover the same basic coursework as certificate programs, in addition to emphasizing drafting theory and building materials. Students also might study architecture in a historical context and participate in an architectural internship. Associate's degree programs take around two years to complete and typically include some general education coursework.

Armed Forces Training

Architectural drafting can be pursued in the Armed Forces. Military personnel studying architectural drafting typically become proficient in CADD, which can later be applied to a civilian career in the field.

Students interested in pursuing a career in architectural drafting can find programs at both private and public colleges. Certificate programs can be completed in as little as eight months, whereas associate degrees can be completed in two years.

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