How Much Does Computer Aided Drafting School Cost?

Computer aided drafters work together with architects and engineers and help them in creating technical drawings of structures like buildings, bridges and dams through the use of specialized software. This is certainly one of the more apt career choices for those whose skills are in drawing, schematics and computers. If you are planning to become a computer aided drafter, you need to attend computer aided drafting (CAD) school where you can earn a certificate or an associate’s degree in CAD.

The tuition cost for obtaining a certificate and associate’s degree in computer aided drafting school is generally less than $20,000 a year. They are generally offered in technical schools and community colleges. You generally save more if you qualify for in-state student tuition discount so it’s generally a good idea to study in the school of the state where you are a resident in. Obtaining a certificate is also cheaper because you only spend a year or so to finish the program while an associate’s degree takes a couple of years.

To give you an idea of the cost of tuition, let’s look at some CAD courses. At Arapahoe Community College, a computer aided drafting certificate with architecture concentration has an annual tuition cost of nearly $3,000 for in-state students and a little over $11,000 for out-of-state students. At Tallahassee Community College in Florida, a CAD Foundations Certificate is a 15-credit hour course. The tuition and fees for in-state students is $100.83 per credit hour and for out-of-state students, it is $387.27 per credit hour. Meanwhile, an AutoCAD Draftsman Certification from Lone Star College is a non-credit 96-hour course that prepares students for entry-level drafting jobs. The total cost of the program is $888.

Associate’s degrees give one a more comprehensive preparation to drafting. At Westwood College, an associate degree in computer aided design/architectural drafting can be completed in seven terms at a tuition cost of $5,481 per term. At Rochester Community and Technical College in Minnesota, an associate in science degree in CAD technology costs $192 per credit for tuition and fees. A student has to enroll in at least 12 credits to be considered a fulltime student. Tuition and fees for a student enrolled with 12 credits is $2,304. It takes 72 credits to complete the CAD technology course. At Sacramento City College, an associate in science in architectural/structural drafting has a tuition cost of $1,104 annually for in-state students and $7,200 for out-of-state students.

Take note that the cost of tuition and fees isn’t the only expense that you should prepare for if you are interested in going to computer aided drafting school. You also need to figure the expenses for books and software if these are not yet included in the cost of tuition. An even more important cost that you need to factor into the equation is what you would pay for housing and food while you are working to get your degree. How much you need to budget for these expenses will depend on the state where you are in since some states cost cheaper than others. On the average, you’ll probably have to budget $15,000 for rent, food, transportation and personal expenses, but keep in mind that these costs will vary widely from state-to-state.

If you are already working and want to learn CAD to enhance your qualifications or advance at work, there are online CAD schools that you can check out. These would turn out to be more affordable because you can finish the programs at your own pace and won’t have to stop work to obtain your degree.

A few schools in the United States offer a four-year bachelor’s degree in computer-aided drafting design and/or computer aided design technology courses. These include the University of Central Missouri, Trine University and Cameron University. The yearly cost for tuition and fees, room and board and books and supplies at the University of Central Missouri is $15,899 for in-state students and $22,293 for out-of-state students while at Trine University in Indiana, it is $39,950 for all students regardless of residency status. At Cameron University in Oklahoma, the annual cost to get this bachelor’s degree is $12,324 for in-state students and $19,764 for out-of-state students.

Keep in mind that you can apply for financial aid if you find it difficult to finance CAD school. Ask the financial aid office of your school if they offer scholarships, grants and other forms of financial aid. You can also apply for student loans but remember that these will have to be repaid when you start working. Finding part-time work while you’re striving to get your degree is also one way to fund your college-related expenses.

Career Spotlight: Computer Aided Drafter

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