Associate of Computer Drafting and Design: Degree Overview
Individuals interested in computers, drawing and design may consider earning a degree in computer-aided drafting. An associate's degree program in this field from a community college, technical school or career college can provide candidates with the technical skills and experience necessary to land drafting jobs in a variety of industries, including computer, manufacturing or automotive settings.
Associate Degree in Computer Drafting and Design
Computer drafting and design, also known as computer-aided drafting and design (CADD), programs may be offered in various associate's degree formats, such as Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science and Associate of Occupational Studies programs. Students can generally complete these programs in two years or less. Programs prepare aspiring drafters for entry-level positions where they are responsible for technical designs or to go on to related 4-year degree programs.
Although these programs don't include many prerequisites, a high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for admission. Proficiency in keyboarding, although not required, may be recommended. High school drafting courses could also be beneficial to students entering these programs.
Students complete both lecture and lab studies. They can obtain hands-on training creating computerized drawings, while also becoming familiar with drafting and design software programs. Common course topics in this program include:
- Mechanical drafting
- Computer applications for technology
- Blueprint reading
- AutoCAD techniques
- Engineering drafting and design
- Modern manufacturing techniques
- Solid modeling
- Civil and structural drawings
- Designing with Autodesk Inventor
Popular Career Options
Graduates of computer drafting and design programs are qualified for a variety of career options with industrial, engineering, architectural and construction firms, as well as government agencies. Some common job titles may include:
- Mechanical designer
- CADD designer/drafter
- Architectural and civil drafter
- Electrical and electronic drafter
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected that job opportunities for drafters will increase by one percent from 2012 to 2022 (www.bls.gov). According to BLS figures from May of 2012, architectural and civil drafters earned a median yearly income of $47,870. Mechanical and electrical drafters received an annual wage of $50,360 and $55,700, respectively.
Continuing Education Information
Drafters are not usually required to be certified, although professionals may choose to secure certification to demonstrate their proficiency in the field. The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) offers several certification options for drafters, based on their skill levels and specialties. Examinations typically test candidates on their knowledge of drafting terminology, geometric designs, drawings and overall drafting concepts. Graduates of the associate's degree programs may pursue immediate employment or transfer to 4-year colleges to pursue engineering or engineering technology bachelor's degrees.
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