How Long Does Computer Aided Drafting School Take?

If you enjoy making technical drawings of everything from buildings to machinery to roads to new products, a career as a computer aided drafter (CAD) is something that you are probably very interested in. You will be collaborating with engineers and architects and will be responsible for making a computer model of their designs. While they make the rough sketches, you are going to make the design come to life, so to speak, by putting in the technical details and dimensions as well as the details of the structure on the computer through the use of CAD software.

Your entry point for this profession is a postsecondary training in computer aided drafting. The programs that are currently available in this field are certificates and associate’s degrees. Certificate programs typically take anywhere from a year to a year-and-a-half to complete while associate’s degrees can be finished in two years for a fulltime student.

Let’s look at some of these programs available in order to give you an idea of the length of time that such degrees will take. For example, the City College of San Francisco offers a certificate of accomplishment in computer aided drafting. If a student attends the course fulltime then he can complete the program in two to three semesters. The Metropolitan Community College has a certificate program in computer aided drafting and design which can be finished by part-time students in two semesters.

An associate’s degree in computer aided drafting technology offered by State Fair Community Colleges typically takes two calendar years to complete. Westwood College also offers an associate degree in computer aided design/architectural drafting which can be finished in 17 months. It prepares students to get Autodesk certifications and allows them to create their portfolio to showcase their skills to potential employers. At Front Range Community College, associate’s degree in computer aided drafting and design is a 62-credit course that takes a couple of years to complete. The preparation will enable a graduate to be hired as a skilled CAD technician.

Some schools also offer associate degrees in computer aided design completely online, such as at Southeast Technical in Minnesota. This program can be completed by students in two years or less. It is the ideal course for those who are already working and can’t afford to go to school fulltime. The schools that don’t have online options still help working professionals by offering evening CAD classes.

There are no bachelor’s degrees for drafting but someone with an associate’s degree in computer aided drafting will usually be able to transfer the credits in his degree to a related course should he wish to pursue a four or five-year bachelor’s degree. For example, they can proceed to get a bachelor’s degree in engineering, architecture or similar fields. As computers become more commonly used in the fields of architecture and engineering, students who already know CAD are at an advantage.

Obtaining a certification is voluntary but it is one way of showing that you are competent and knowledgeable in your field. The American Design Drafting Association provides certification for various drafting specialties such as architectural drafting.

Career Spotlight: Computer Aided Drafter

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