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

Majors Overview December 5, 2013

Those that want to accomplish technical goals with the help of computers may want to look into computer-aided drafting (CAD). Students considering this field of drafting and design may want to try for an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in computer-aided drafting.

Associate of Arts Programs in Computer-aided Drafting

Schools offer an associate degree in computer-aided drafting under different titles such as an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Computer-aided Drafting and Design, or an AAS in Computer-aided Drafting. Students enrolled in these two-year degree programs are provided with the knowledge and skills they would need in order to seek entry-level occupations in the design industry. Admission criteria in associate degree programs require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


Coursework in an associate degree program in computer-aided drafting requires students to take preparatory courses related to the production of drafting, engineering and architectural materials that can be used in structural engineering and design. These programs involve a study of the systems inside buildings, such as heating systems or plumbing and electrical systems, in addition to the structures. Coursework commonly includes subject areas such as:

•Drafting standards
•Mechanical design
•Electrical and mechanical systems
•Civil drafting
•Architectural design
•Building design
•Commercial construction
•Residential construction

Career Choices

A graduate of a degree program in computer-aided drafting can seek entry-level occupations involving structural design, engineering or drafting. Career options commonly include:

•Electrical drafter
•Architectural drafter
•Mechanical drafter
•Computer-aided design technician

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Those who successfully complete associate degree programs in computer-aided design can pursue continued education by earning a bachelor’s degree in CAD technology and technology management or engineering and technology management. Students can boost their career prospects by pursuing voluntary certification offered by organizations such as the American Drafting Design Association (ADDA). To qualify for the ADDA’s professional drafting certification, applicants have to pass a 90-minute, multiple-choice exam that covers construction analysis, drafting standards and design concepts. The validation of the certification must be renewed – by non-members and members alike – every five years by showing proof of work experience. A fee is also required to be paid by non-members in order to re-validate certification.

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