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Cad Technician Degree

Education Options for CAD Technicians

If you want to get into this field, you have several options. Let’s have a look at them:

CAD Certificate

A certificate program in CAD would focus mainly on mechanical designs, drawing and drafting. This degree is ideal for students looking to gain skills for entry level jobs in the field. Through this certificate program, students would be taught the use of different drawing instruments and scaling objects. They would be exposed to topics such as architectural drawing, 2-D and 3-D modeling and sheet metal development techniques. They might also learn the concepts behind coordinating systems, printing to scale and plotting. Critical thinking, management, communication and strategy development are other skills that students would be expected to pick up during this certificate program.

Typical courses in this program would include the following:

  • AutoCAD
  • Dimensioning and parametric design techniques
  • Understanding diagrams, sketches and illustrations
  • Complex drafting, mechanical drawing and sketching
  • Fundamentals in designing and drawing

CAD Certificate program students usually get their training at hi-tech facilities and use the most updated AutoCAD software.

Associate of Applied Science in CAD

This is a 2-year degree that focuses on creating a foundational understanding of CAD in beginners. An Associate of Applied Science in CAD prepares students to use systems in manufacturing and engineering, among other such areas. In addition to classroom instruction, students also get to learn through hands on training sessions, workshops and internships. By the end of the program, they are expected to be proficient in reading mechanical prints and blueprints. Other skills they might pick up during this program include problem solving tactics, organizational proficiencies and research methods. Typical courses offered in this program include:

  • CAD Data Administration
  • Civil and Mechanical drawing and drafting
  • Processes in manufacturing
  • Dimensional and drafting essentials
  • Engineering and technical design and drawing

To apply to an associate degree program in this field, you will be required to have at least a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification.

Bachelor of Science in CAD

This is a 4-year long degree that focuses on advance level topics in the field. Students are taught how to use ideas and skills to make sketches and illustrations. They receive training which enables them to design and draft diagrams, orthographic drawings and graphics. In addition to these field-specific skills, students also learn general skills such as reading, writing and communication. They may also develop creativity and critical thinking skills along with supervisory or leadership abilities. These skills come in handy at the workplace and are very attractive to potential employers.

Typical courses in a Bachelor of Science in CAD include the following:

  • Computer applications administration and systems
  • Graphics and technology in engineering
  • Technical design and drawing
  • Technology in materials and machinery
  • Mechanical and structural drafting

This program would include a lot of practical work including labs, trainings and internships. Seminars and lectures will also be pretty common and networking opportunities might give you the opportunity to meet accomplished professionals in this field. To be eligible for admission into this program, you will need to have at least a high school diploma or an equivalent degree. Relevant courses covered in high school would be an added benefit, though they are not required by most colleges as a prerequisite for admission. However, make sure you check individual college application requirements before you finalize your admission plans.

Careers for CAD Technicians

CAD certificate holders are typically employed at entry level positions for CAD drafting technologies. Candidates who have associate or bachelor’s degrees can find employment in a variety of sectors and industries such as construction, engineering, architecture and surveying. Other jobs for CAD degree holders include those in animation, product development and high-end architecture.

The following are some of the common employment opportunities for CAD degree holders:

  • Mechanical designers
  • Product designers
  • Associate engineers, design or manufacturing draft technicians
  • Application programmers
  • CAD manufacturing systems managers
  • Technical support engineers and training consultants

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists CAD technicians under the category of Drafters. It defines Drafters as individuals who “use software to convert the designs of architects and engineers into technical drawings.” These professionals could specialize in a variety of fields such as architectural, electrical, civil or mechanical drafting.

Drafters design plans with the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software. They begin with rough sketches created by engineers and architects and turn them into final designs, to be presented to potential investors. In addition to that, they also add the necessary details to architectural plans from their own knowledge of building techniques, such as specifying dimensions, procedures and materials for new products.

BLS provides the following data for Drafters:

2016 Median Pay

$53,480 per year

Typical Entry Level Education

Associate’s Degree

Work Experience in a Related Occupation


On-the-job Training


Number of Jobs, 2014


The 204,400 jobs held by drafters in the US were divided up in different industries as follows:

Architectural, engineering, and related services






Most CAD technicians work in offices, though some site visits might be required, as per the needs of the clients and relevant collaboration requirements with the engineers and architects. The work schedule involves full-time work with overtime being common especially around project deadlines.

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