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Online Architectural Drafting Degree

Architectural drafting involves the creation and designing of drawings, plans, and models which are used in the building of structures. It is a profession which is related to both the fields of architecture and engineering; one that involves artistic elements as well as mathematics and technological components.
Architectural drafters work to prepare the layouts and designs of various structures and buildings. In order to seek employment in this field it is usually sufficient to have an associate’s degree in architectural drafting. Due to the heavy technical requirements of these programs, online architectural drafting programs are very rare. Nevertheless, there are certain schools which do offer these courses. It is more likely that you will find hybrid courses with both online and on-campus components.

Components of Online Degree Programs in Architectural Drafting

Architectural drafting programs are very technical in nature. It is for this reason that online programs in architectural drafting are very rare. Typically, students are taught how to create sketches and layouts in studio classes on campus. Students are then taught how to create 3D models in a workshop like setting. The guidance offered under the instruction of experienced faculty members and the hands-on approach to learning are extremely beneficial for aspiring architectural drafters.
The very few schools which offer online instruction in this field have advanced technical requirements. Students will be required to purchase specific software programs like Revit or AutoCAD. The curriculum will involve learning techniques in 3-D modeling and green building, Building Information Modeling (BIM), and computer-aided drafting (CAD).
Students can also expect to  learn about commercial and residential construction, and develop a portfolio to show to potential employers, throughout the program.

Entry Requirements

  • A high school diploma or equivalent
  • Minimum GPA requirement as determined by individual programs
  • Some programs require applicants to take standardized tests in math and English

Common Courses

Typically, an online associate's degree in the field, if offered, can be completed in less than 2 years.  
The curriculum comprises a combination of general education courses and architectural drafting core courses.
Some of the courses students can expect to take in the program include:

  • Rapid visualization techniques
  • Drafting and design technology
  • Computer-aided drafting techniques
  • BIM modeling
  • Advanced sketching
  • Drawing to scale
  • Sustainability in design
  • Green building trends
  • Engineering drawing
  • AutoCAD
  • Building codes
  • Construction blueprint interpretation
  • Methods and materials
  • Electrical and electronic drafting
  • Plumbing and piping

Job Prospects and Salary

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • As of May 2014, the annual median salary made by architectural and civil drafters was $49,970
  • The top ten percent of professionals in this field made upwards of $75,650

After completing an associate's degree in architectural drafting, graduates may find employment in architectural and design firms.
Some of the common job positions available to architectural drafters include:

  • Architectural drafter
  • Mechanical drafter
  • Civil drafter
  • Materials technician
  • CAD technician

Architectural drafting involves the creation and design of the blueprints of various structures and buildings. In order to qualify for this position, the most common degree to acquire is an associate’s degree in architectural drafting. Due to the hands-on nature of the degree, and the need to learn these practical skills, 100% online programs in architectural drafting are extremely rare. You are more likely to find hybrid programs which have online components, and on-campus practical components.

States with the highest employment level in this occupation:



Employment per thousand jobs

Location quotient

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California 1660 0.11 1.26 18.13 37720
Florida 1130 0.14 1.68 17.97 37370
Illinois 960 0.16 1.92 17.9 37240
Texas 760 0.07 0.78 16.62 34570
New York 650 0.07 0.85 20.12 41840


How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Architectural Drafting Degree?

Students who are interested in pursuing a career in Architectural Drafting may opt for an online degree. A few institutions such as the Hodges University, the Ridgewater College and the Boston Architectural College offer it online. It is a very complex and technical degree. Hence, it is commonly offered on campus. In cases where this degree is available online, students are required to purchase or possess certain software programs like AutoCAD, Revit, etc. In addition to these, the students must have access to a computer and internet. An online degree in Architectural Drafting usually takes about 16 to 18 months, although it may take longer depending upon your pace.

What Are the Requirements for Completing an Online Architectural Drafting Degree?

The requirements to complete an online degree in Architectural Drafting vary for each institution and their curriculum. Even though the curriculum varies for each institution, a few subject areas can be common. For instance, students of this degree are usually taught Computer-Aided Drafting Techniques (CAD), AutoCAD, Rapid Visualization Techniques and Advanced Sketching, etc.

How Much Can I Make after Completing an Online Architectural Drafting Degree?

After completing an online degree in Architectural Drafting, graduates often work in the field as Architectural and Civil Drafters, Mechanical Drafters or Architects. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the annual median salary for the following careers as:


Median Salary

Architectural/Civil Drafters

$54,920 per year

Mechanical Drafters

$55,920 per year


$79,380 per year

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What do architectural drafting programs teach?

A:Architectural programs are designed to provide students with technical skills and knowledge of architecture. Students will learn how to design, draft, and draw architectural designs for building purposes. Architects and builders often rely on these drawings to practically construct a building. The program will emphasize theory-based learning and practical learning.

Q:In an architectural drafting course, what areas will I study?

A:The coursework of an architectural program depends on what level of program you are pursuing. Typically, subjects such as the following are covered: building materials, computer aided drafting, architecture graphics, architectural design, architectural modeling, trigonometry and algebra, etc. Alongside theory learning, you will also gain hands on experience and will practically learn how to draft using computer softwares.

Q:What can I do with an architectural drafting certificate?

A:A certificate in architectural drafting is a short career-oriented course that is geared towards equipping individuals with specialized knowledge and skills. If you are already working in this field, you can improve your career prospects with the help of a certificate. On the other hand, you can also switch your career and become an architectural drafter. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, architectural drafters made a median annual income of $49,630 in 2012. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:What are the courses covered in an online architectural drafting degree?

A:Typically the courses covered in an online degree in architectural drafting include the likes of computer-aided drafting techniques, BIM modeling, green building trends, rapid visualization techniques, drafting and design technology, digital walk-throughs and sustainability in design. These programs can be completed in a small amount of time as well, depending on the school's policies. Along with this, students will be required to complete a set of core courses as well.

Q:How is an architectural drafting degree online covered?

A:If you plan to enroll in an online degree in architectural drafting, you will need a computer and a reliable internet connection. If the program is 100% online, the coursework is covered with the help of videos, online lectures, classroom conferencing, slideshows, and other online sources. On the other hand, in a hybrid program, you will cover certain portions of the coursework online, and also take a few classes on-campus. The curriculum may vary from college to college.

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