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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Mechanical Drafting Design and CAD Technology

Majors Overview December 8, 2013

Gain information about Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in mechanical drafting design and CAD technology and its coursework, career choices, and continuing education choices.

A.A. Programs in Mechanical Drafting Design and CAD Technology

Students enrolled in an associate’s degree in mechanical drafting design focused on CAD technology are taught Computer-aided design (CAD) as a primary skill using which they become adept at creating technical drawings by employing the latest CAD computer software including Solidworks, Inventor and AutoCAD.

They gain familiarity with basic materials used in the drafting design methods, in addition to learning about machine shop processes and tolerance and dimensioning techniques. Technical schools and community colleges are among those that offer this two-year program.


Coursework in a program focused on CAD technology combines classroom instruction and hands-on experience and usually includes topic areas such as:

•CNC programming
•Mechanical blueprint reading
•Descriptive geometry
•Mechanical layout and design
•Mechanical drafting
•Machine shop processes
•Manufacturing processes
•Tolerance and dimensioning techniques
•Tool, die, and fixture design
•Metal working processes

Career Choices

Graduates of the program can seek entry-level occupations in a variety of industries that rely on the use of CAD technology, in career titles including:

•Product designer
•Mechanical drafter
•CADD operator
•Mechanical designer

Continuing Education Choices

Those who successfully complete the associate program may seek immediate entry into the workforce or pursue continued education by earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical drafting design focused on CAD technology by transferring credits earned in the associate program to a four-year college. Colleges don’t ordinarily offer drafting programs but may offer programs that include drafting principles in the coursework, including architecture or engineering. Graduates can hope to become engineering technicians, engineers or architects if they augment the degree with additional training, certification and work experience.

A certification program for drafters is offered by the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA). While certification is not mandatory, it can help a professional to showcase his knowledge of the industry drafting standards while reinforcing his commitment. Certification can be obtained through the passage of a test that includes general drafting concepts including national drafting standards, drawings, geometric designs and architectural terminology.

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