What Is the Difference Between CAD and AutoCAD?

Computer-aided design (CAD) is the general term that applies to the use of computers in the design of houses, office buildings, interiors and anything else that previously required hands-on drafting. AutoCAD is a specific piece of software used by many architects and designers for commercial design purposes. Read on to find out about the uses of CAD and AutoCAD. Schools offering AutoCAD Drafting & Design Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

CAD and AutoCAD Overview

AutoCAD is software that utilizes computer-aided design (CAD) principles in the modeling of buildings, manufactured goods, urban infrastructure and even fashion design. If you are an architect or designer, you might use AutoCAD software to create 2- and 3-dimensional drafts of custom home designs or renovations. If you work as a civil engineer, you can use AutoCAD software to design improvements in roadways and make cities and towns more energy-efficient. Other industries and professions that employ CAD and make use of AutoCAD software include manufacturing, automotive technology and engineering.

Important Facts About Working in CAD

Median Salary $64,697 (mechanical engineers), $44,587 (interior designers), $57,852 (design architects)
Key Skills Technical drawing skills, understanding CAD software, engineering, manufacturing, architecture and design
Work Environment Office setting, construction sites, or other field sites
Professional Certification Different certification levels are available through courses and exams sponsored by Autodesk, such as AutoCAD Certified User, AutoCAD Certified Associate and AutoCAD Certified Professional.

Source: PayScale.com, December 31, 2015

Types of CAD

Depending on the type of work you perform, there are different forms of CAD that you could employ. Drafts that are 2-dimensional are flat, while 3-dimensional and 2.5-dimensional drawings show the depth and space of a design. You might use wireframe, surface and solid modeling to calculate the dimensions of a design or simulate what the inner structure of your design might look like.

AutoCAD Software

AutoCAD is a trademarked product of Autodesk. When you use AutoCAD, you have the ability to draft 2-D and 3-D designs and create photorealistic rendering. Because different fields use AutoCAD in specific ways, there are several versions of the AutoCAD application for a variety of work types, such as architecture, mapping and piping design.

Learning AutoCAD Software

Technical schools or community colleges offer stand-alone courses in CAD that you can complete in a few weeks. You can also find CAD courses as part of a certificate or degree program, such as a fashion design or architecture program. You can enroll in courses and programs that specifically teach the AutoCAD application, though some schools might use other software, such as SolidWorks or TurboCAD, instead.

Autodesk also offers courses and training programs through authorized certification centers. These courses can prepare you to earn certification in AutoCAD from the vendor. Autodesk certification demonstrates your proficiency of the AutoCAD application.

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:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools