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AutoCAD School and University Program Options

Learn about AutoCAD school program options here. Continue reading for educational prerequisites, program coursework and employment outlook statistics.

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Essential Information

AutoCAD is a computer-aided design (CAD) software program that is used by architects, engineers and drafters to create 2D and 3D drawings and design plans. Individuals who are interested in learning AutoCAD in order to begin or advance their careers can choose from several educational options that include certificate and associate's degree programs. Students may choose online programs or traditional classroom settings.


Certificate in AutoCAD

Students enrolled in an AutoCAD certificate program learn to design documents and drawings using AutoCAD and other CAD software programs. Candidates complete a set number of credit hours involving coursework in computing tools, engineering graphics, manufacturing processes, mechanical drafting and computer numerical control. Students also learn how to customize AutoCAD's tools and functions to meet the demands and requirements of specific industries. AutoCAD certificate programs generally take one year or less to complete.

Program Coursework

AutoCAD certificate programs feature a focused CAD curriculum, with few (if any) additional academic requirements. Sample core curriculum course titles include the following:

  • Drawing setup and utilities
  • Tools and object types
  • 2D drawings
  • Creating and utilizing blocks
  • Basic customization
  • Plotting and layouts
  • Precision drafting

Continuing Education

Students interested in continuing their education in CAD might enroll in additional certificate programs. For instance, there are short-course certificate programs that focus on one component of the AutoCAD program such as developing advanced template files or building a reusable library of symbols. In addition, many community colleges and vocational schools offer CAD associate's degree programs. Information on these programs is included below.

Associate's Degree Program in AutoCAD

Students enrolled in an AutoCAD degree program learn to use CAD software programs to compile detailed drawings based on sketches and specifications made by architects, designers and engineers. In the first year, AutoCAD majors take courses in mathematics, building construction, manufacturing processes and technical drawing. Second-year students undertake hands-on laboratory practice in electrical, structural and mechanical surveying and 3-D computer drafting. Associate's degree programs in AutoCAD can usually be completed in 2 years.

Educational Prerequisites

The educational prerequisites for an AutoCAD associate's degree program vary between institutions. Nearly all programs require a high school diploma or its equivalent. Standardized test scores are less frequently required.

Program Coursework

All AutoCAD associate's degree programs require completion of a number of general education courses such as English, math and the life sciences, in addition to the core curriculum. Core course titles may include the following:

  • CNC programming
  • 3D mapping
  • Technical drawing
  • Structural drafting
  • Advanced customization

Continuing Education

Individuals who want to study beyond the associate's degree level have several options. Students may enroll in bachelor's degree programs that focus on fields which rely heavily on AutoCAD software. Interior design, architecture, civil engineering and environmental engineering are a few examples of such fields.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for drafters were expected to be slower than average from 2010-2020 (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary for mechanical drafters was $50,360 in May 2012, as indicated by BLS data. At the same time, electrical and electronics drafters earned an average of $55,700 and 'all other' drafters earned $46,110.

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Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Associate
        • Associate - Building Information Modeling

    What is your highest level of education?

  • School locations:
    • Alabama (3 campuses)
    • Arkansas (1 campus)
    • Arizona (3)
    • California (14)
    • Colorado (2)
    • Florida (9)
    • Georgia (4)
    • Iowa (1)
    • Idaho (1)
    • Illinois (3)
    • Indiana (5)
    • Kansas (2)
    • Kentucky (2)
    • Louisiana (2)
    • Maryland (2)
    • Michigan (6)
    • Minnesota (2)
    • Missouri (4)
    • Mississippi (1)
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    • Ohio (9)
    • Oklahoma (2)
    • Oregon (2)
    • South Carolina (4)
    • Tennessee (5)
    • Texas (8)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (5)
    • Washington (3)
    • Wisconsin (3)
    • West Virginia (1)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor in Construction Management
    • Associate
        • Associate in Computer Drafting and Design

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Ferris State University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Drafting and Design Engineering
        • CAD Drafting and Design Technology
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Engineering - Architectural
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Manufacturing Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Plastics Engineering
      • Surveying
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Rochester Institute of Technology include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Drafting and Design Engineering
        • Architectural Drafting and Design
        • CAD Drafting and Design Technology
        • Mechanical Drafting and Design
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Manufacturing Engineering
      • Materials Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Metallurgical Engineering
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Eastern Michigan University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Drafting and Design Engineering
        • CAD Drafting and Design Technology
        • Mechanical Drafting and Design
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Engineering Physics
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Manufacturing Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Plastics Engineering
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Northern Michigan University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Drafting and Design Engineering
        • Architectural Drafting and Design
        • CAD Drafting and Design Technology
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Manufacturing Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
  • School locations:
    • Alaska (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Alaska include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Drafting and Design Engineering
        • Architectural Drafting and Design
        • CAD Drafting and Design Technology
        • Civil Engineering Drafting and Design
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Engineering - Architectural
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Manufacturing Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Petroleum Engineering
      • Surveying
  • School locations:
    • Missouri (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Central Missouri include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Drafting and Design Engineering
        • CAD Drafting and Design Technology
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Manufacturing Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering

Popular Schools

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics