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Degree Overview: Associate’s Degree Programs in Computer-Aided Architectural Design

Majors Overview February 25, 2015

Get information about associate’s degree programs in computer-aided architectural design and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, and job and wage outlook.

Associate’s Degree Programs in Computer-Aided Architectural Design

Students enrolled in an associate’s degree program in computer-aided architectural design are taught about designing an architecture project from scratch through to fruition. Coursework includes the solving of problems likely to arise during the creation of architectural drawings.

Students learn about ways of creating an orthographic view through the use of descriptive geometry, whereby one side of a three-dimensional object is shown on a flat surface without losing the three-dimensional appearance.

Although they learn and practice many of these skills through the use of CAAD, students may also be expected to use their hands to create designs via more traditional drafting methods. Students enrolled in this program are also taught about presenting a design and concept through the use of numerous methods, including physical modeling, animation, or architectural rendering.

Education Requirements

Incoming students to the program would benefit if they know advanced mathematics, including descriptive geometry. High school students seeking admission to the program are expected to complete one year each of trigonometry and geometry, in addition to two years of algebra.

Completion of one year of science courses, especially in physics, would also help prospective students. Most schools recommend that applicants complete at least a year of design or art courses, in addition to classes in programming or computer operations.

Coursework

Apart from high school preparation courses in science and math, college-level requirements in these areas are also insisted upon to augment classes in design, architecture, or art. Coursework is also devised to impart practical experience involving the use of CAAD and the creation of sketches and designs by hand. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Building codes
•Structural and civil engineering
•Architecture lettering, symbols, and notations
•Environmental sciences and creating green buildings
•Advanced mathematics
•Drafting
•Two-dimensional and three-dimensional modeling
•Architectural rendering
•Interpreting blueprints and related drawings
•Use of building materials

Career Choices

Students enrolled in an associate’s degree program in computer-aided architectural design can arm themselves with the experience and credentials necessary to embark on entry-level careers. Graduates may seek employment with design companies, engineering firms, or architects. Apart from drafter, graduates from the program can pursue various career options, such as:

•Construction detailer
•Specification writer
•Space planner
•Model builder

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2010 – 2020 decade, job growth rates of six percent have been predicted for drafters. During the same period, architectural and civil drafters are expected to see a three percent growth (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Growth in the field is expected to be driven by construction project work. Prospects are expected to be especially useful for drafters with software experience. In May 2012, architectural and civil drafters brought home an average annual wage of $49,630 (BLS).

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