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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Computer-Aided Drafting

Majors Overview December 7, 2013

This career gives computer designers a chance to transform sketches, ideas, and drawings into visual blueprints to create structures, systems, or products. The ideal way to start this career is to obtain an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in computer-aided drafting.

Associate of Arts Programs in Computer-Aided Drafting

Students enrolled in an associate’s degree in computer-aided drafting program are provided with the skills they would need in order to pursue entry-level drafting occupations in many work environments. Schools may offer this associate’s degree program in a variety of formats, such as an Associate of Science, Associate of Occupational Studies and Associate in Applied Science, programs that take about two years to complete.

Education Requirements

Students don’t have to complete too many prerequisites before beginning this program. However, those who wish to pursue further education by transferring to 4-year universities or colleges would benefit from having strong backgrounds in high school science and mathematics courses. Though most schools don’t insist on it, candidates would benefit if they completed a keyboarding course before seeking admission to the associate degree program, and they would particularly benefit from completing high school drafting courses. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


CADD (computer-aided design and drafting) is the term used by many programs to refer to what is also known as computer-aided drafting (CAD). Students augment courses by spending extensive time in labs where they are imparted computer-aided design skills and techniques on the computer. Typically, coursework in a computer-aided drafting program includes subject areas such as:

•Tooling design
•Parametric modeling
•Engineering drafting and design
•Statics and strength of material
•Technical drawing

Career Choices

Students enrolled in an associate’s degree in computer-aided drafting program are prepared for a variety of career options with government agencies, construction contractors, engineering and architectural firms, and industries. They can aspire for various positions such as:

•Engineering technician or aide
•Electrical and electronic drafters
•CADD designer/drafter
•Architectural and civil drafters
•Mechanical designers

Continuing Education Choices

Although not mandatory, voluntary certification will help drafters to boost their job prospects by allowing them to showcase their skills and experience in the field to prospective job givers. Drafters can choose from several certification options offered by the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA).

Passage of the exam requires students to demonstrate their knowledge of general drafting concepts, drafting terminology, geometric concepts and drawings. Those who successfully complete computer-aided drafting degree programs may want to join the workforce upon completion of the program, or pursue continued education by earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology fields.

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