What Is AutoCAD?

For over two decades, professionals in various design and engineering fields have used AutoCAD software for a wide range of applications. Read on to discover specific applications of AutoCAD as well as career fields that frequently use this software. Schools offering AutoCAD Drafting & Design Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

AutoCAD falls into the category of programs known as computer-aided design, or CAD, software. Architects, interior designers and engineers commonly use CAD programs. Methods and techniques using CAD programs are now industry standard for these fields. CAD has virtually replaced traditional technical drawing modes, such as hand drafting. AutoCAD software has been available since the early 1980s and currently features a host of applications, including:

  • 2-dimensional (2D) drafting
  • 3-dimensional (3D) modeling
  • Project documentation

Important Facts about This Field of Study

Common Courses Art forms, design, drawing, dimensional design, figure drawing, architectural design, design communication, world history of architecture
Programs Certificate, undergraduate degree
Online Availability Many schools offer online options
Possible Careers Drafter, automotive designer, Department of Transportation, construction, landscaping, patenting businesses
Median Salary (2018) $54,920 (for architectural and civil drafters)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% (for architectural and civil drafters)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Fields that Incorporate AutoCAD

Because drafting has always been an essential component to such careers as architecture and interior design, professionals in these fields need efficient tools to aid their designs. CAD programs, such as AutoCAD, help interior designers and architects expedite their projects. Civil engineers use AutoCAD to design construction projects, such as roads, bridges and tunnels. Another benefit of CAD software is enhanced visualization, which aids in the commercial sales of design projects. Other areas that utilize AutoCAD include:

  • Real estate
  • Factory design
  • Structural engineering

Degree Programs that Integrate AutoCAD

Students seeking to enter any of the above career fields can find accredited degree programs that use lower-cost student versions of AutoCAD. The University of Southern California uses AutoCAD in its Bachelor of Architecture program. California State University at Fresno offers instruction in this software in its Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design. The University of Massachusetts at Lowell integrates AutoCAD in its undergraduate mechanical engineering program. Many other programs across the U.S. include the use of this software. Courses in these degree programs build the following skills:

  • 2D and 3D modeling
  • Graphic analysis
  • Project editing

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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