Complete Guide to Online CAD Certificate Programs

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 3/18/2020
Quick Facts
Accreditation: Institutional
Average Tuition: $22,618
Alumni Salary: $33,490

Computer aided drafting (CAD) professionals are responsible for using special software to turn technical plans, drawings, and designs into digital images. Online CAD certificates are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. There are a number of high school courses that students can take to prepare them for online CAD programs, such as computer technology, drafting, graphic art, and math.

Many CAD programs are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), including several online options at technical schools. Accreditation ensures a quality education and assures employers that graduates have specific skills. Those with accredited degrees may also want to consider getting a professional certification for career advancement.

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Comprehensive List of Online Schools for CAD/Computer Aided Drafting Certification

Full List Accreditation Annual Tuition Recommend Rate
Full List (29)
Penn Foster Career School DEAC Not Provided 45% (152 reviews)
42 Programs, 1 Certificate in CAD/Computer Aided Drafting (view all)
42 Programs, 1 Certificate in CAD/Computer Aided Drafting
  • Drafting with AutoCAD®
Maysville Community and Technical College SACS COC $14,808 100% (1 reviews)
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College SACS COC $5,552 Add Review
Boston Architectural College NECHE $21,924 100% (1 reviews)
Brigham Young University-Idaho NWCCU $4,208 100% (6 reviews)
Century College HLC $5,578 Add Review
Columbus State Community College HLC $9,540 100% (3 reviews)
Faris Technical Institute COE $11,205 Add Review
Hodges University SACS COC $14,300 67% (3 reviews)
Missouri University of Science and Technology HLC $27,484 Add Review
Nash Community College SACS COC $8,776 Add Review
New Mexico State University HLC $23,076 Add Review
Randolph Community College SACS COC $8,133 Add Review
Ridgewater College HLC $5,939 Add Review
Santa Monica College WASC ACCJC $8,840 Add Review
Somerset Community College SACS COC $14,808 100% (1 reviews)
Stark State College HLC $7,286 0% (1 reviews)
Terra State Community College HLC $9,452 Add Review
Ashland Community and Technical College SACS COC $14,808 Add Review
Big Sandy Community and Technical College SACS COC $14,808 Add Review
Elizabethtown Community and Technical College SACS COC $14,808 Add Review
Hazard Community and Technical College SACS COC $14,808 Add Review
Jefferson Community and Technical College SACS COC $14,888 Add Review
Minnesota State College Southeast HLC $5,686 Add Review
Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College SACS COC $14,808 Add Review
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College SACS COC $14,808 Add Review
Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Murfreesboro COE $3,477 Add Review
Thomas Nelson Community College SACS COC $10,809 Add Review
West Kentucky Community and Technical College SACS COC $14,808 Add Review

Online Certificates in CAD/Computer Aided Drafting

Online CAD certificate programs provide training using a particular CAD software suite. Although not all online certificate programs have admission requirements, it's helpful to have knowledge of computers and design before entering a certification program. Many online certificate students already have a degree in a related field and are obtaining a certificate to specialize their skills. The courses required to complete an online certificate program vary and can take anywhere from a few weeks to a several months to complete. Depending on the online program, students will take between 10 and 30 credits.

Mastery of CAD is helpful in many industries, and some specialized versions of CAD offer their own certificates. Architectural CAD and AutoCAD are popular certificate programs and contain courses including programming; menu commands; and beginner, intermediate, and expert use of the tool. The goal of these certificate programs is to teach students to create actual drawings with CAD so that when they enter the job market, they will be able to use it effectively. Students will gain experience using CAD software to create documents and simulate real-world projects.

Graduates of online CAD certificate programs enter various careers that use online modeling and design software. Popular jobs include engineering, interior design, architecture, product design, and landscaping. These jobs will typically require additional formal education in a specific field in addition to the certificate.

The Importance of An Accredited Online CAD Certificate Program

Before enrolling in an online CAD program, it is recommended that students verify that the school offering the certificate program has been accredited. Accreditation means that the school has been evaluated and approved by a recognized agency with high standards of academic excellence. While attending an accredited school isn't always required to land a job after receiving your degree, it does help ensure that your degree will be honored within professional or educational realms. Without accreditation, you may encounter difficulty when attempting to transfer your earned credits to another educational institution or applying for financial aid.

The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) accredits many schools offering CAD certificate programs and is recognized by the US Department of Education as an authoritative accrediting agency in the United States. Please visit OnlineU's accreditation hub for more information.

CAD Certification Requirements

Once you have completed an online certificate program and have a significant amount of experience using CAD, becoming certified is a great way to show potential employers or graduate schools that you're competent. Certification is obtained from a collaboration between Autodesk, the creator of AutoCAD, and Certiport testing centers. Depending on your experience level and career path, you may choose from two main levels of certification: Autodesk Certified User or Autodesk Certified Professional. Additional certifications are also available for Autodesk instructors or Autodesk professionals with specialized experience in road and highway design or mold design.

Certification at the "User" level is designed for those who wish to demonstrate a basic understanding of CAD, such as students or recent graduates. User-level testing examines creating drawings, altering objects, working with layouts, and plotting. Professional-level certification is designed for applicants with at least 400 hours of CAD experience who may be seeking career advancement. The "Professional" exam builds upon the concepts introduced at the Certified User level and also tests applicants on dimensioning, manipulating objects, and working with reusable content. Exam training guides are available through Autodesk.

Autodesk certification exams are offered at satellite testing centers across the United States. In order to remain current, Autodesk certification must be renewed each year that an updated version is released.

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