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Best Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Susan Sanchez - May 17, 2022


Computer-aided drafting and design (CADD/CAD) is a subfield of engineering and one of the most sought-after technical skills by industry professionals. Thus, getting valuable training in this area through an accredited school can do wonders for your job opportunities. Many online students benefit from the best online computer-aided drafting associate degrees and programs.

There are dozens of programs online in the field of CAD, whether they are associate programs or certificate programs. However, an online associate program will not only train you in a specific skill but also supply general education. In this article, we focus on the information you need for getting an Online Associate Degree in Computer-Aided Drafting. We also cover computer-aided drafting associate degree jobs for after you graduate.

Where Can I Get a Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Online?

You can get a computer-aided drafting associate degree online through various online community colleges and vocational training schools. A couple of the best schools to get a computer-aided drafting associate degree are Minnesota State College Southeast, Ridgewater College, Mid Michigan College, and Seminole State College of Florida.

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What Schools Offer the Best Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degrees?

  • Mid Michigan College
  • Minnesota State College Southeast
  • Ridgewater College
  • Seminole State College of Florida
  • Valencia College

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree?

The admission requirements for an associate in computer-aided drafting online program include high school transcripts and a high school diploma. These are the general minimum requirements for an associate degree . The application process may vary from school to school, but online degrees usually have an online application process.

Some additional online associate degree in computer-aided drafting requirements, such as minimum GPA requirements and placement tests will vary by program. Application fees can also range from free to up to $80.

Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Admission Requirements

  • High School Diploma
  • Official High School Transcripts
  • Online Application
  • Application Fees (may vary)
  • Additional Requirements (may vary)

How to Get a Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Online

To get a computer-aided drafting associate degree online, students will have to complete the required graduation requirements. This will usually include an average of 60 credit hours, over two years. The program’s courses will include a mix of core courses and general electives. Some programs may require a final project.

Computer-Aided Drafting Degree Requirements

  • Complete the required number of core classes
  • Complete the required number of general electives
  • Complete the final project (if required)
  • GPA of 2.0
  • Completion of all tuition payments

Best Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Ivy Tech Associate of Applied Science in Design Technology Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Mid Michigan College Associate of Applied Science in Computer Aided Drafting & Design Technology Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Minnesota State College Southeast Associate of Applied Science in Computer Aided Design (CAD) Drafting Technologies Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Northcentral Technical College Associate in Mechanical Design Engineering Technology Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Quinsigamond Community College Associate in Science in Manufacturing Technology New England Commision of Higher Education, Inc. (NECHE)
Ridgewater College Associate Degree in Computer Aided Drafting and Design Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Seminole State College of Florida Associate in Science in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Texas State Technical College Associate of Applied Science in Drafting & Design Southern Association for Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Valencia College Associate in Science in Computer Aided Drafting and Design Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
YTI Career Institute Associate Degree in Computer Aided Drafting and Design Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)

Best Schools for Computer-Aided Drafting: Top Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Programs

The best online schools for an associate degree in computer-aided drafting will provide the training you need to land an entry-level job. Factors in decision-making will be the cost of tuition, program length, and more. Below, we head into more detail about the listed associate degree programs.

1

Ivy Tech

Indianapolis, IN

Ivy Tech was founded in 1963 and has since served over a hundred thousand students. They're known for having affordable tuition, and offering financial aid to qualifying students. Currently, they have 74 academic programs to offer with over 500 classes online.

Associate of Applied Science in  Design Technology

The design technology program will prepare students for various career paths in a design discipline, including Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing. Students will learn about mechanical graphics, applied technical mathematics, and computer-aided design.

Associate of Applied Science in  Design Technology Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $149.55/credit (in-state); $292.57/credit (out-of-state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Hybrid
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 28%

Associate of Applied Science in  Design Technology Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.5 or assessment test
  • Standardized Tests: ACT, SAT, or PSAT, or an assessment test
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: N/A

Applying to Ivy Tech

  1. Open the online application.
  2. Provide the information requested throughout the online application.
  3. Near the end of the application, choose the program you wish to apply to.
  4. Also, provide the financial method you wish to pay with and whether you will apply for financial aid.
  5. Submit your assessment documents. You can submit your GPA scores; your standardized test scores; or your previous college degree that meets the assessment requirement. If you do not meet the requirements for any of these, you can take an assessment test.
2

Mid Michigan College

Harrison, MI

Mid Michigan College , founded in 1965, has nearly 50 programs that grant associate degrees, training credentials, and certificates. They have a student population of 3,291, and each year thousands of students attend the college. Mid Michigan College is dedicated to creating opportunities and empowering communities.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Drafting & Design Technology

Mid Michigan College's 64 credit CADD program educates students with different skills, from basic blueprint reading to advanced drafting skills. The schedule is flexible and partially online, with open in-person labs as well as online courses. The program has been recognized by respected industry companies such as SolidWorks and SoftPlan.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Drafting & Design Technology Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $137/contact hour (in-district); $229/contact hour (out-of-district)
  • Required Credits: 64 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 15-17 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Hybrid
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 16%

Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Drafting & Design Technology Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: N/A

Applying to Mid Michigan College

  1. Sign up to Mid Michigan College's online website. You'll have to provide your email address and full name.
  2. Upon signing up, you'll get an email sent to your provided email address. You'll get a link to password creation for your Mid Michigan College account in this email.
  3. Create your password. You will use your email and password for the online application and other online student affairs in the future.
  4. Upon creating your password, you can start Mid's online application. Fill up all required details.
  5. Upon your acceptance to the school, you can attend orientation and start sending your high school transcripts.
3

Minnesota State College Southeast

Winona, MN

The Minnesota State College Southeast , first founded in 1949 under a different name, was the second-ever public vocational-technical school in Minnesota. It offers associate degrees, certificates, and diplomas and currently has a student population of 1,912 undergraduates.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Drafting Technologies

This Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Drafting program provides valuable training for the field and equips students with specific skills designed to improve their job prospects. They'll complete 16 credits of general education and 44 credits of technical education through online classes that will prepare them for the field of architecture and engineering.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Drafting Technologies Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $182.78/credit (in-state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 38%

Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Drafting Technologies Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $20 for the online application
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: N/A

Applying to Minnesota State College Southeast

  1. Create a StarID account for Minnesota State College Southeast. Register and apply for both their in-person and online programs.
  2. Head to the online application form.
  3. Fill out needed details such as personal info and citizenship, veteran status, and contact info.
  4. Pay the $20 application fee.
  5. Wait for confirmation and acceptance email.
4

Northcentral Technical College

Wausau, WI

The Northcentral Technical College was founded in 1912 and has since equipped students with excellent technical education. Currently, they have over 190 programs, including associate degrees, certificates, and diplomas. They offer on-campus and online programs in various fields of study, as well as financial aid for prospective students.

Associate in Mechanical Design Engineering Technology

The mechanical design engineering technology program equips students with the CAD skills to design and prepare engineering drawings. They'll learn how to design machinery parts and products using 2D and 3D computerized drawing software. Some of the core courses included in the program are Technical Drafting/CAD, Strength of Materials, and Tooling & Production.

Associate in Mechanical Design Engineering Technology Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $10,105
  • Required Credits: 63-65
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: in-person or 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 36%

Associate in Mechanical Design Engineering Technology Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.5 (or meet standardized test requirement)
  • Standardized Tests: ACT composite score of 18 or above. (or meet GPA requirement)
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: N/A

Applying to Northcentral Technical College

  1. Ensure that you meet the listed requirements for the program you wish to apply to.
  2. Fill out the online application form. It's fully online and only takes a few minutes.
  3. There is normally a $30 application fee to be paid after filling out the online application form. However, currently, it is being waived, and students do not need to pay it.
  4. Submit your high school transcripts, ACT composite score, Accuplacer scores, or a college transcript.
  5. Wait for an acceptance letter to be mailed to you.
5

Quinsigamond Community College

Worcester, MA

Quinsigamond Community College was founded in 1963 to provide higher education to Central Massachusetts residents. Since then, they have served over 13,000 students with over 120 associate degrees and certificate options. They also claim to be one of the top 100 largest employers in the area of Central Massachusetts.

Associate in Science in Manufacturing Technology

This 65-67 credit program prepares students to enter the field of advanced manufacturing with the help of CAD knowledge and other essential skills. Some of the core courses include Mechanical CAD, Manufacturing Safety, and Solid Modeling. Upon completion, the student is awarded a Manufacturing Technology Associate in Science degree.

Associate in Science in Manufacturing Technology Overview

  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc. (NECHE)
  • Tuition: $205/credit (in-state); $411/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 65-67 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 15-18 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Hybrid
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 22%

Associate in Science in Manufacturing Technology Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $20
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Must be able to lift heavy objects and have stable muscle control.

Applying to Quinsigamond Community College

  1. Go to their online application form.
  2. Fill up the required personal details. It will include your full name, address, and a few others.
  3. Provide your enrollment information and what degree or certificate program you wish to enroll in.
  4. Provide your academic information as well as your residential information.
  5. Submit proof of your High School Transcripts either through the mail, email fax, or direct upload to their Admissions Document Center. After this last step.
6

Ridgewater College

Willmar, MN

Ridgewater college was founded in 1961. It has since granted associate degrees, licenses, and diplomas to thousands of students. The college claims to serve more than 5,500 students through its two campuses and its online programs.

Associate Degree in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design

This Associate Degree in Applied Science for CAD provided by Ridgewater College offers an outstanding program for all types of students. During your 67 credit hours of coursework, students will be taught drafting basics, applied math, and more. You will also learn geometric dimensioning and the use of industry software to gain hands-on experience.

Associate Degree in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $212.60/credit (for online courses)
  • Required Credits: 67 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 44%

Associate Degree in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Laptop that meets the proper specifications

Applying to Ridgewater College

  1. Create a StarID account. It is essential to begin your online application.
  2. Start your online application and fill up all required details. You may also download the application form instead or contact the admissions office for a different format.
  3. Contact your high school to get a copy of your high school transcripts or GED.
  4. Email your transcripts to Ridgewater College's admissions email address.
  5. Upon acceptance, you can start the process for enrollment and also apply for financial aid.
7

Seminole State College of Florida

Sanford, FL

The Seminole State College of Florida first started in 1966 with a few portable classrooms. It now has six branches spanning the county with an enrollment of around 30,000. The school offers associate degrees, bachelor's degrees , and certificates. It is known for being one of the best schools in the Florida College System.

Associate in Science in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design

This 62-credit program equips students with valuable training that prepares them for the field of architecture, engineering, or construction and manufacturing. Some of the core courses include Introduction to SolidWorks and Architectural Design. The students receive an Associate of Science degree after completion and come out with essential skills for higher education.

Associate in Science in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $104.38/credit (in-state); $381.87/credit (out-of-state)
  • Required Credits: 62 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at around 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: in-person, hybrid, remote, or 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 47%

Associate in Science in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: N/A

Applying to Seminole State College of Florida

  1. Fill up the online application form. You'll have to supply information such as admittance type, your goal, and basic personal information.
  2. Provide your records in the form, such as your educational history and residential status.
  3. Send your official high school transcripts from your high school to the college's address. Without this, you will be unable to register for classes or financial aid.
  4. Once you're accepted, you must create a MySeminoleState Account.
  5. Complete the new student welcome, and you're all good to go to schedule your registration for classes.
8

Texas State Technical College

Waco, TX

Texas State Technical College (TSTC) was founded in 1965 as one of the first-ever sophisticated technical educational institutions in the state. Currently, they have over 50 programs that equip students with essential skills in their field. They offer associate degrees and specialized certificates.

Associate of Applied Science in Drafting & Design Technology

The drafting & design program offered by TSTC lets students choose between two different degrees: Architectural/Civil Drafting Technology or Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Technology. Students will learn basic computer-aided drafting, civil drafting, and technical illustration and presentation throughout the 60 credit program.

Associate of Applied Science in Drafting & Design Technology Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Cost: $12,780
  • Required Credits: 60
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online or hybrid
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 36%

Associate of Applied Science in Drafting & Design Technology Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: N/A

Applying to Texas State Technical College Technical College

  1. Fill up and complete the free online application.
  2. Apply for financial aid (recommended but not required.)
  3. Submit your high school or college transcripts.
  4. Register for your classes.
  5. After registering for your classes, you can start setting up for payment.
9

Valencia College

Orlando, FL

Valencia College was founded in the fall of 1967. Since then it won the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which marked them as one of the best community colleges in the nation. Currently, they have over 130 programs for bachelor's and associate's degree programs. They also have a student population of 45,949.

Associate in Science in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design

This 62-credit Associate in Science degree program prepares students for employment by equipping them with essential skills in CAD. They are also assigned a career program advisor to help them find the best education plan per their career goals. Some of the core courses in this program include Mechanical Drafting, Technical Math, and Engineering Graphics.

Associate in Science in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $103.06/credit (in-state); $390.96/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 62 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: Partial or 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 44%

Associate in Science in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $35
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: N/A

Applying to Valencia College

  1. Sign up for the Valencia College application portal.
  2. Fill up all required information.
  3. Check your eligibility for financial aid, and apply for possible options.
  4. Upon acceptance, you can start creating your Atlas account and access the rest of the steps.
  5. Complete the new student orientation, and you're good to go to register for classes.
10

YTI Career Institute

Altoona, PA

YTI Career Institute was founded in 1967 with its first program in drafting and design. They have since expanded to numerous programs in various fields such as business, culinary arts, medical, computer, and technical fields. Their degree programs range from certificate, to associate, to bachelor's, and can be taken online or at one of their in-person campuses.

Associate Degree in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design

YTI Career Institute's computer-aided drafting and design program equip students with AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and Revit training. Students will learn basic drafting theory, civil theory, and mathematics, through the 20-month program. Upon completion, the student is awarded a CADD Associate in Specialized Technology degree.

Associate Degree in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Overview

  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  • Tuition: $24,992
  • Required Credits: 100 quarter credits
  • Program Length: 8 quarters at 13 credits per quarter (on-average)
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 57%

Associate Degree in Computer Aided Drafting and Design Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: N/A

Applying to YTI Career Institute

  1. Create an account for the admissions portal.
  2. Verify your email to finish account creation.
  3. Upload your documents, and fill up all required forms.
  4. Start the financial aid process.
  5. Upon completion of the application process, wait for the school to contact you of your acceptance and proceed to enrollment.

What Is an Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree?

An online computer-aided drafting (CAD) associate degree is an online program that trains students with CAD skills. Some of the topics that these degree programs cover are 3D modeling software such as AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Print Reading, and Applied Mathematical Concepts.

A computer-aided drafting associate degree online program typically lasts two years, with the student completing 60 credit hours of education courses on average. After completion students may use transfer credits for an accelerated bachelor’s in a similar area of study. The program also equips students with hands-on experience and knowledge for a successful career path.

Online vs In-Person Computer-Aided Drafting Degrees

The main difference between online and in-person computer-aided drafting degrees is that online learning lets you work from the comfort of your home or any other location, while in-person learning grants campus students the benefit of closely interacting with teachers. Regardless of your choice, the program equips you with skills that match industry standards.

To help you decide which path is right for you and your educational goals, we list down the benefits of both below. Read on for 5 benefits of online vs. in-person computer-aided drafting degrees.

Top 5 Benefits of an Online Associate Degree in Computer-Aided Drafting

  • More flexible schedules. Taking an online associate degree program generally lets you have more control over your schedule. An online learning program lets you simply log in and complete your work at a time convenient for you.
  • Greater accessibility than in-person classes. Online classes in computer-aided drafting allow you to access your work and lectures anywhere. You don’t have to worry about going to campus to submit work or materials when everything is done.
  • Lower tuition & boarding costs. An online learning program tends to cost less than in-person ones. There are no boarding or housing costs to consider or miscellaneous fees related to school facilities.
  • No transportation costs. This comes hand-in-hand with great accessibility. You don’t have to worry about spending money going to and from the campus.
  • Convenient for parents and working adults. The overall convenience of online classes makes it easier for parents and working adults to complete a degree program. It also allows for multitasking various duties while getting an education.

Top 5 Benefits of an In-Person Associate Degree in Computer-Aided Drafting

  • The environment is distraction-free. Learning in-person lets you stay more focused than an online learning program. Doing tasks at home or in a different location makes you susceptible to distractions such as the noise of other people.
  • The learning is potentially more hands-on. In-person degree programs tend to offer more hands-on learning than virtual ones. Professors can closely supervise their students’ activities.
  • There is more engagement with the teachers and material. Students feel that they’re in an environment of learning, which promotes more participation and instructor interaction. Students will also be able to create peer groups with others in the program.
  • The discussions flow easier. Because of a lack of possible issues such as Internet delays and disconnections, discussions flow smoothly and as intended.
  • There is potentially more depth for networking. Although studying online lets you connect with people around the world, in-person classes let you connect with more depth and stability. It also allows the chance to form more lasting connections in-person with professors and fellow students.

What Types of Online Associate Degree Can You Get in Computer-Aided Drafting?

You can get the following types of Associate Degrees in Computer-Aided Drafting:

  • Associate Degree in Applied Science
  • Associate Degree in Science

You can get either type of Associate Degree in Computer-Aided Drafting entirely online. The best degree for you will depend on your long-term educational goals.

Is It Better to Get an Associate in Science Degree or Associate in Applied Science Degree in Computer-Aided Drafting?

It is better to get an Associate of Science if you want to pursue additional education after completing the online learning program. An Associate in Science degree is generally meant to prepare you to transfer into a bachelor’s and not a technical job. This degree type is good for learning theoretical and foundational knowledge in computer-aided drafting.

An Associate of Applied Science degree promises prospective students the opportunity to work immediately upon graduation. This degree will primarily focus on more hands-on projects and equipping students with skills to land them in entry-level positions right out of school. Ultimately the choice depends on your career goals. Both are great options, and either is better than attempting to learn computer-aided drafting through free online classes.

How Much Does a Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Cost?

Online associate degree programs in computer-aided drafting cost on average $3,621 . For public institutions specifically, the average was $3,377. Meanwhile, for private institutions, the average tuition was $15,828. There may be additional costs depending on whether you take online or in-person programs, need premium software, and other factors.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Online?

It takes two years on average to get a computer-aided drafting associate degree online as a full-time student. As a part-time student, getting the associate degree may take anywhere from 3-6 years, depending on your yearly schedule.

An associate degree program usually takes 60 credit hours to finish, but it may reach up to 68 depending on the program. On average, if you complete 15 credit hours in a semester, you should be able to graduate in around 2 years. Some schools offer an accelerated program option, which can shorten the time needed to get your degree.

Are Online Computer-Aided Drafting Degrees Respected?

Yes, online computer-aided drafting degrees are respected. Online degrees are respected as much as a traditional on-campus degree. The program requires the same credits, coursework, and final projects as an in-person program. An accredited online computer-aided drafting degree can definitely help you get a job.

Is Computer-Aided Drafting Hard to Learn Online?

No, computer-aided drafting is not hard to learn online. The majority of your work and projects will take place on computer-aided design (CAD) software, which you will need a computer for. Knowledge and skills such as 3D modeling techniques, can all be translated to a distance learning format easily.

Computer-Aided Drafting Bootcamp vs Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree: Which Is Better?

An online computer-aided drafting associate degree is better if you wish to get in-depth knowledge in the field while still having general education. However, both options still have their benefits, and both offer great practical experience. Below, we list the top five benefits of each option in detail.

Top 5 Benefits of an Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree

  • In-depth theory and knowledge. An online associate degree would be more in-depth in foundational knowledge, such as how things work, compared to bootcamps. Students may take lessons not included in bootcamps that discuss the theories and history in the field of CAD.
  • Lasting connections and networking. As opposed to a bootcamp, an online associate degree program would help students form more long-term connections. There is more time and more collaborative projects with teachers and fellow students.
  • Reputable programs and schools. Established colleges are generally more reputable than bootcamp schools. They have more graduated students than the relatively new category of bootcamp schools and usually more accreditations and recognitions. It means degrees and colleges tend to have a better impact on your resume.
  • More financial aid options. Because of the previous point, getting a degree in a college or school generally lets you have more financial aid options. It helps offset the higher cost of a degree than a bootcamp program.
  • More time to register the knowledge and skills you learn. Degrees take longer to earn, which allows you time to digest the information over a longer period. This will give you the chance to apply your skills and hands-on experience throughout the program.

Top 5 Benefits of a Computer-Aided Drafting Bootcamp

  • Cheaper costs. Although it’s harder to look for financial aid, bootcamps tend to cost up to thousands of dollars cheaper than degrees.
  • Shorter timeframe. Bootcamps teach you valuable skills with the best industry software in a short timeframe. Giving you the chance to move directly into the workforce once you finish.
  • Up-to-date curricula /focus on the latest industry trends. Bootcamps are less rigid with their curricula and closely keep up with industry trends and top skills. It helps ensure that you enter the workforce with skills that are fine-tuned for the current state of the industry.
  • More specific practical skills. Although an associate degree digs deeper, bootcamps focus on equipping you with practical skills. They focus on granting you advanced drafting skills in a short amount of time without dabbling too much in theory and foundational basics.
  • Usually comes with career services. A bootcamp usually comes with a career center and services that help their students’ employment chances. It helps improve the overall career opportunity count of bootcamp-graduating students.

Why You Should Get a Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Online

One of the main benefits of a computer-aided drafting associate degree online program is that it is more in-depth and takes a more hands-on approach than programs such as certificate programs or bootcamp programs. At the same time, it’s also more flexible, accessible, and affordable than higher education degrees or in-person degrees.

This online degree is perfect for those who wish to become a computer-aided design drafter. It’s not too expensive, not too short and intensive, and not too rigid compared to other options. It still leaves you open to pursuing higher education if you wish to pursue that, rather than immediately entering an entry-level job.

What Courses Do You Take in an Online Associate Degree Program in Computer-Aided Drafting?

A few Associate Degree in Computer-Aided Drafting online courses may include Mechanisms, Manufacturing Processes for CAD Design, and Engineering Graphics and Drawing. Below are a few examples of the courses and classes you could encounter in a CAD associate degree program.

Mold Design for CAD Design

This course is about mold design will typically teach students how to use various 3D software to create basic plastic injection molds. The software used in this course can vary, but may include programs such as SolidWorks or Inventor.

Engineering Graphics and Drawing

This course and other similar courses will introduce students to the techniques of technical drawings concerning CAD. Concepts on basic engineering drawings, contour drawings, and even the concept of architectural illustration may be some of the discussions. Execution of techniques will be through both manual and computer methods.

Mechanisms

Students can learn and explore the inner workings and logic behind mechanisms in this course. Some of the included mechanisms may be basic circuits, chain drives, and linkages. They’ll then be taught how to apply this knowledge to their 3d models or digital models during the design process.

Manufacturing Processes for CAD Design

This course for CAD design covers the various common manufacturing processes in the field. It will also cover the building materials such as plastics and steel to give students solid modeling knowledge outside of CAD. This course will help students that wish to enter into the manufacturing industry and construction side of computer-aided drafting.

Design Project for CAD Design

This course and other similar design courses will focus on bringing to life ideas through coursework focused on design. Students will learn in-depth about various design processes and how to incorporate this into computer-aided design software. This course will focus on design parameters and thinking creatively to enhance your design skills.

Continuing Education Paths for Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Graduates

The best continuing education path to take with an online computer-aided drafting associate degree is to transfer credits from your associate degree into a bachelor’s program such as mechanical engineering. You may also continue to a master’s degree following your bachelor’s. Alternatively, you could get an entry-level job to gain a few years of experience.

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What to Look For in the Best Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Programs

The things to look for in the best computer-aided drafting associate degree programs are factors like accreditation, tuition costs, continuing education options, and curricular content. Below are five important factors you should consider in your program search.

Accreditation

An accredited school is a much better choice than one with no accreditation. It assures that the school meets the minimum educational standards and has a good reputation. When choosing a school, you should always confirm its accreditation by an official agency to see if it’s still active.

Continuing Education Options

Make sure that the associate degree program you choose is compatible for credit transfer if you intend to get a higher education. Transfer credits will allow you to complete a bachelor’s program in less time if you choose to complete one. It’s also important to see what other degree options are available for after graduation.

Cost

The cost is also another factor when choosing the online learning program to enroll in. Your finances should not unreasonably suffer just to get an education in computer-aided drafting. Luckily, online degree programs are more cost efficient. You should also check whether the program has financial aid options.

Curricular Content/Availability of Electives

The content of your chosen program is also another factor to consider. Always check the overview of courses outlined in the program and whether they fit your educational goals. The availability of elective courses might also be an important factor as it will give you the chance to take classes outside of your program in other fields.

Flexibility/Format

If you enroll in an online learning program, flexibility is always one of the biggest considerations. Some programs are fully online, while some are hybrid and require minor in-person sessions. Make sure to verify the format of your chosen program suits your needs to maximize your education.

What Is the Most Affordable Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree?

The most affordable online computer-aided drafting associate degree program on our list is offered by Valencia College. It has the lowest credit hour rate of $103.06/credit for in-state and $390.96 credit for out-of-state. It costs $6,389 for the in-state full tuition and $24,239 for the full out-of-state tuition.

Can I Get a Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Online for Free?

No, you cannot get a computer-aided drafting associate degree online for free. However, you can always check whether you’re eligible for any financial aid options, whether from the school itself or the federal government. While you can’t get a free online Associate Degree in Computer-Aided Drafting, you can use resources such as MOOCs, open coursewares, and free tutorials.

Salary and Job Outlook for Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Graduates

Man in design class doing architectural drafting on a online drafting program
Computer-aided design (CAD) operators have a strong job outlook.

Online computer-aided drafting associate degree holders have a promising future and many career paths to choose from. After your program, you will have the skills, knowledge, and experience to enter the workforce and begin your career. Below we have provided information to help you as you look for computer-aided drafting associate degree Jobs.

How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree?

It is not very hard to get a job with an online computer-aided drafting associate degree. There are plenty of jobs for people with CADD skills. Some CADD schools may refer their graduating students to companies who they are connected with. This helps students secure a position right out of school.

What’s the Average Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Salary?

The average salary for someone with a computer-aided drafting associate degree job is $46,164 per year , according to PayScale. Your online Associate in Computer-Aided Drafting salary will be affected by other factors such as job title, experience, state, and the company you’re working for.

What Jobs Can You Get With an Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree?

With an online computer-aided drafting associate degree, you can become a drafter, a product designer, or even an animator. You can also learn how to become an industrial designer, which can lead you to a high-paying salary, as you continue to gain experience in this field. You will find it is not hard to get a job with an online computer-aided drafting associate degree.

Computer-Aided Drafting Degree Jobs

  • Computer-aided drafting design instructor
  • Computer-aided design CAD administrator
  • CAD designer – drafting
  • CAD drafting supervisor
  • CAD drafter

Potential Careers With an Online Computer-Aided Drafting Degree

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How Much Money Can You Make With an Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree?

With an online computer-aided drafting associate degree, you can make anywhere between  $40,000 and $60,000 per year. This will depend on seniority, the industry you choose to work in, and the state. Below is the table where we list five of the highest-paying jobs you can get with an online computer-aided drafting associate degree.

Highest-Paying Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Jobs Average Salary
Mechanical Designer $61,880
Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Designer $55,275
AutoCAD Designer $51,548
Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Drafter $49,238
Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Technician $48,864

Best Jobs for Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Grads

Some of the best online computer-aided drafting associate degree jobs include mechanical designer, computer-aided design designer, and AutoCAD designer. An online computer-aided drafting degree can lead to strong job prospects. Below is a breakdown of the job descriptions, salaries, and job outlooks.

1

Mechanical Designer

$61,880

A mechanical designer creates the designs and technical drawings for various equipment and devices in the mechanical field. They also help improve and streamline the processes in manufacturing. They work closely with design engineers and people who have mechanical engineering degrees and earn a good annual salary.

2

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Designer

$55,275

A CAD designer is responsible for the same tasks as a drafter. They are typically the ones with more industry work experience and with more freedom to administer modifications and improvements to ongoing projects. They are a CAD drafter with more experience, greater responsibilities, and a higher annual salary.

3

AutoCAD Designer

$51,548

An AutoCAD designer mainly uses AutoCAD to create drafts and designs for engineers and architectural managers. Their responsibilities can cover a wide range of fields, such as mechanical or civil drafting. This role ensures that the digital designs and drafts meet the required standards and client specifications.

4

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Drafter

$49,238

Computer-aided design (CAD) drafters are tasked with converting designs created by engineers and architects into technical and detailed drawings. They must consider all details such as dimension, materials, production and manufacturing methods, and more. Through their work, many engineering and manufacturing problems are solved and analyzed.

5

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Technician

$48,864

A CAD technician tends to work side by side with a drafter and share many similar tasks. Technicians may be more inclined and acquainted with the mechanics of troubleshooting, scripting, and CAD. All in all, they are equal to drafters but with slightly different tasks.

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Is an Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree Worth It?

Yes, an online computer-aided drafting associate degree is worth it. It lets you enter the field of engineering while also learning arts and design. Getting this degree will help you get more employment opportunities and offer you a variety of positions in the field.

Getting an online computer-aided drafting associate degree is flexible and a good investment in the future. You’ll have the opportunity to continue your education or move directly into the workforce. If you want to enter the engineering field and learn about drafting software, you’ll find getting an online computer-aided drafting degree worth it.

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Online Computer-Aided Drafting Associate Degree FAQ

Is it a good career choice to earn this degree and enter the CAD workforce?

Yes, it is definitely a good career choice to earn this degree and enter the workforce. An associate’s degree is enough to qualify you for most entry-level positions in the CAD field. You learn enough practical skills to start getting jobs while still leaving yourself open for more educational opportunities.

What type of bachelor’s degree can I take after finishing this online associate degree?

After finishing this online associate degree, you can use your earned credits to transfer to an engineering bachelor’s degree . Some options are a mechanical engineering bachelor’s and a civil engineering bachelor’s. Your school may also offer more options.

Is an online computer-aided drafting associate’s degree program heavy on math topics?

Yes, an online computer-aided drafting associate degree program can be heavy on math topics. Computer-aided drafting is, after all, a subfield of engineering. So, yes, it can get heavy on core math and science subjects, depending on your curriculum.

Do I learn autoCAD in this CAD associate’s degree program?

Yes, you will likely learn AutoCAD at an online computer-aided drafting associate’s degree program. The program is supposed to teach you practical skills in the field, and that includes all industry-standard 3D modeling software. AutoCAD is a part of this software.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Susan Sanchez

About the author: Susan is an experienced content writer who has been contributing to the field for nearly 10 years. During her writing career, she has been published on many different websites, including SelfGrowth.com and BuzzFeed. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the Lyceum University of the Philippines as well as extra education in journalism and human resources.

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