Bachelor's Degree in AutoCAD and CAD: Online and Campus-Based Programs
Computer-aided design (CAD) programs prepare students for drafting careers in engineering, architecture and other fields. Learn about bachelor's degree programs that include CAD and AutoCAD training, and find out if online programs are available. Check out the typical coursework and the employment outlook for CAD professionals.
Can I Earn a Bachelor's Degree in AutoCAD or CAD?
Computer-aided design or drafting (CAD) is not, in itself, a specific field of study at the bachelor's level. Typically, engineering and industrial technology majors include training in CAD and computer-assisted modeling. Some schools specifically include training in AutoCAD, one of the more popular CAD software applications. Some common programs that include AutoCAD and CAD education include:
- Mechanical Engineering Technology
- Electronics Engineering
- Civil Engineering Technology
- Industrial Technology
- Technology Management
- Architectural and Engineering Design
|Education||Degree programs in mechanical, electronics and civil engineering, as well as in technology management, offer training in CAD and AutoCAD|
|Online Course Structure||Student may have to purchase and install AutoCAD drafting software on home computer|
|Common Topics||Tooling design, advanced AutoCAD, graphical expression, architectural drafting, material strengths|
|Median Salary (2018)||$55,550 for drafters*|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||7% employment growth for drafters*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Can I Earn a Degree Online?
If you've completed some college-level courses in CAD and have experience in a drafting field, you can find bachelor's completion programs that provide you with courses through distance learning. Some schools also offer full degree programs online or in a hybrid format. Generally, you may be responsible for purchasing and installing AutoCAD or other drafting software on your home computer. Some schools allow you to purchase necessary applications through the online bookstore, though you may need to acquire it on your own. Most software manufacturers offer significant discounts to students.
Online courses and assignments are no different than lessons learned in a classroom environment. You will have the flexibility of studying according to your own schedule, and online professors and technical support through the school are available to you via email, live chat or message boards. Course reading materials, lecture and lessons may be provided via streaming video, live video conferencing, online textbooks or separate media.
What Will I Learn?
Depending on your major, your CAD courses will be combined with general education, professional instruction and specialized electives. Lessons teach you how to read CAD drawings, render 2D and 3D designs and create solid models. You may be exposed to some of the following topics and concepts:
- Advanced AutoCAD
- Principles of engineering design projects
- Graphical expression
- Industrial drafting designs
- Architectural drafting
- Tooling design
- Material strengths & properties
What Kind of Career Options Are Available?
As a CAD designer, you'll find many career opportunities in industries such as parks and recreation development, construction fabrication, aerospace engineering and public infrastructure planning. According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for drafters was projected to grow by 7% from 2016-2026 (www.bls.gov).