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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Computer-Aided Design/Drafting (CAD)

Majors Overview February 27, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in computer-aided design/drafting (CAD) and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Computer-Aided Design/Drafting (CAD)

Most individuals who complete bachelor’s degree programs based on computer-aided design/drafting (CAD) end up owning a design or drafting business. Because of this trend, coursework in these programs typically include courses related to business, often dealing with safety and control.

While some programs offer a CAD specialization, others may offer specializations in construction or manufacturing. The drafting and design courses are offered in some programs as an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree completed through augmentation by the management courses.

Education Requirements

Most programs require the same education prerequisites. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. Students seeking admission to most schools are expected to have completed a high school curriculum comprising two to three years of lab science, three years of social studies, three years of math, and four years of English. Additionally, they are also required to have completed one to two years of vocational education, foreign language, performing and visual arts, or computer science.


General education classes are augmented with two more areas of required core courses — technical and management cores — within computer-aided design and drafting bachelor’s programs. The management focus is superseded by the technical core. Core coursework may include subject areas such as the following:

•Mechanical drafting with CAD
•Information and communications systems
•Industrial organization
•Geographic information systems and topographic mapping
•Civil drafting
•Architectural drafting
•Processes of machining and manufacturing
•Two- and three-dimensional modeling

Career Choices

Armed with the techniques, skills, and software of drafting technology, an individual can pursue numerous career choices, such as:

•Sound-system designer
•City building planner
•Plant manager

Job and Wage Outlook

A slower-than-average job growth rate of one percent has been predicted for drafters over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, architectural and civil drafters brought home an average annual wage of $49,630 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

It is not mandatory for a design technician or drafter to obtain professional certification. However, a professional with certification could be preferred by employers over one without it. Since 1948, the American Design Drafting Association has been offering numerous professional certifications, such as Certified Digital Designer, Certified Design Drafter, and Certified Drafter. A certification for Certified Apprentice Drafter was being developed by the agency beginning in mid-2010.

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