13 Best Online Drafting/Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Degrees in 2023


If you have a great interest in architecture but you hope to work in the tech industry, then you need to get a drafting/computer-aided design degree. Currently, students now have the option to earn their CAD degree online in one of the best schools in 2023.

CAD drafters work directly with the company needing the design, and drafters must be able to take directions and use them to deliver a high-quality design. And the entry-level for this job requires at least an associate’s degree or some vocational training.

So, in this article, you will get all the information on how you can get the best online drafting/computer-aided design (CAD) degree courses, the salaries you will earn using this online degree, and the schools offering online drafting/computer-aided design (CAD) courses.

What is Computer-Aided Design and Drafting?

Computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) is a subfield of engineering which has to do with the design and drafting of objects and materials by the use of specific software that reflects designs as modular 3D computer models.

Computer-aided design (CAD) software is used for generating the 3D models entire with detailed documentation such as dimensions, materials used, and even details of the design process.

Why Do People Learn Computer-Aided Design?

People learn Computer-Aided Design to communicate design intent with others electronically. Additionally, most CAD software used produces a master model.



This model can be the design authority and the input data source for a great number of related tasks: CAM for production, CAE for design simulation, analysis, rendering/animation for marketing, shop/assembly / other documentation, field service documentation, and many more.

In addition to the more robust design intent communication, CAD software can help in giving details, presenting model checks, and doing various other tasks that can reduce error as well as increase the time to market from design concept to release product.

Today, understanding 3D capable CAD software is approximately equal to using productivity software (word processor, spreadsheet, graphics, illustration), because, most engineering and design-related communication happen using CAD software of some kind. CAD is rapidly becoming affordable and accessible to almost everyone. People learn CAD to become literate in the areas related to the software, essentially.



How Much Does A Computer-Aided Design Drafter Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), careers involving computer-aided designs like architectural and civil drafters earned an average annual salary of $54,920, while the average salary for mechanical drafters was $55,920.

Also, electrical and electronics drafters earned an average of $60,070. The BLS further reports that these earnings can vary based on the level of responsibility, location, and specialty area.

According to PayScale, the average hourly pay for a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Drafter is $18.76.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Certificate In Drafting?

Students should consider a variety of elements when resolving how long it will take them to get an online certificate in drafting and design. Firstly, each school offers its own unique program, meaning one school might take less time to get the same certificate as another school. Though online programs do afford students a level of flexibility, the structure of an online program can differ from school to school.

Some undergraduate programs feature an individually paced format, enabling students to finish their work asynchronously, at their own speed. These students can also finish their work from any location of day.



Other online certificate programs operate in a cohort learning format, keeping every student on the same track and pace, wanting them to complete work at a specific time, and sometimes attending live online class sessions. These programs Basically, comprise about 60 credits of coursework and take about two years to complete.

What is the difference between Computer-aided drafting and Computer-aided Design?

Drafting is like creating 2D technical drawings while Design has to do with conception and 3D modelling. So using Computer-Aided Design, a designer comes up with concepts and brings them to existence. While the draftsman job is to turn them into 2D drawings to make sense “technically”.

A draftsman has the knowledge of using different standards for documenting the designs. In most product design firms, the responsibility of a design engineer includes both designing and drafting. But for architecture, the draftsman plays a vital role as 2D drawings are still the way of documenting the layouts.

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Best Online Drafting/Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Degree

When searching for the best schools for online computer-aided (CAD) drafting associate’s degree programs, consider factors such as program length, cost, flexibility, and accreditation. The top schools with online CAD associate’s degree programs are listed below.

#1. Hodges University

Naples, FL



Hodges University started as International College in 1990, changing to its current name in 2007. The university highlights locations in Fort Myers and Naples, Florida. With regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Hodges awards associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs on campus and online, including an online drafting program.

The online digital design and graphics program offers a 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, enabling students individualized attention. The program features a certification from the American Digital Design Association and earns the support of organizations, such as the International Code Council, the American Society of Testing Materials, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Hodges permits students to transfer from other colleges or universities, applying the credits they gained toward their bachelor’s degree at Hodges. Students who began an associate program at Hodges can seamlessly carry those credits into the bachelor’s program.

Students achieve communication, research, and critical-thinking skills. Graduates seek careers as graphic designers, newspaper or periodical designers, public relations specialists, video game designers, and graphic design specialists

#2. Minnesota State College Southeast

Winona, MN



A public community and technical college, Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical hosts colleges in Winona and Red Wing. It is a section of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, with its Red Wing campus proud of national identification for its string instrument and brass repair programs.

In 2016, the college shifted to a community and technical college, offering associate of art degrees and technical programs, including an online drafting program.

The online computer-aided design drafting technologies associate of applied science needs students to finish at least three courses in liberal arts and sciences. Students must finish 16 general education credits and 44 technical credits.

Furthermore, the 60-credit curriculum offers classes in print reading for CAD design, geometric tolerances, mechanisms, Solidworks, and AutoCAD.

Finally, students learn how to finish industry-standard assembly drawings, apply and define proper design materials, and also calculate mating part conditions. Hence, graduates seek careers as plant designers, mechanical drafters, CAD technicians, and mechanical designers. Therefore, all courses are taught using CAD 3D Parametric software.



#3. Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Murfreesboro  


Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Murfreesboro is one out of the 46 institutions on the Tennessee Board of Regents System. The school gives dozens of programs, which include an online computer-aided design option that leads to five credentials. Students can get certificates in assistant drafter or detail drafter. They can also choose diplomas in residential architecture drafter, mechanical drafter, or drafting and CAD technician.

However, the assistant drafter and detail drafter certificates need 432 and 864 hours of work, sequentially. Students working toward a drafting diploma basically, spend around 1,728 hours getting the credential. Also, Part-time online learners normally earn a diploma in 16 months.

Furthermore, for admission, students must possess a high school diploma or be at least 18 years old. TCAT admits students on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Council on Occupational Education accredits the Tennessee College of Applied Technology.

Score 77.82 | Graduation Rate 92%

#4. Alexandria Technical & Community College


The Alexandria Technical and Community College is a public, two-year institution located in Alexandria, Minnesota. The school awards certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees in about 40 areas of study.

ATCC gives a hybrid diploma in mechanical drafting, design, and engineering, as well as some unique course choices. The rapid prototyping course teaches students to manage and sustain a rapid prototype printer. In the mechatronics class, students learn of electricity and construct basic circuits. Through a needed machining course, students examine the basics of turning, milling, and grinding.

The certificate in drafting and design is made up of 69 credits and takes just less than two years to complete. Students register for 5-6 courses in the fall and spring semesters and receive two summer courses. The time engagement ranges from 14 to 24 hours per week, depending on the number of courses a student takes at once.

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The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) regionally accredited Tennessee College of Applied Technology.

#5. Ridgewater College


Ridgewater College’s Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technology division administers a computer-aided drafting program that students can achieve completely online. Hence, the program incorporates topics including elementary and advanced drafting, common manufacturing processes, and blueprint interpretation.

Students also study the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ standards and best practices. Learners practice using popular industry tools, including AutoCAD, Creo, Solidworks, and MasterCam 3D. Also, students get hands-on experience through collaborative projects with Ridgewater’s manufacturing students.

Many of Ridgewater’s online courses hold certification from Quality Matters, an organization that assesses web-based learning programs. The certificate in computer-aided drafting and design boasts commencement dates in the fall and spring semesters.

Further, aspiring students must submit an application along with a high school diploma or GED certificate. They do not require submitting transcripts, standardized test scores, or other materials.

Finally, Ridgewater College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

#6. St. Charles Community College


St. Charles Community College, in Cottleville, Missouri, offers associate degrees, certificates, and vocational training in over 50 subject fields. The school offers 16 online degrees and certificates, including a certificate of achievement in computer-aided drafting.

The online certificate in drafting and design covers 34-35 credits, and students can achieve 65% of the curriculum online. Learners take 13 credits of general education courses, which comprise topics like algebra, English composition, U.S. history, and microcomputer applications.

Students also take four major drafting courses and four electives. Elective choices include 3D modeling, geographic information systems, and sustainable design. St. Charles gives online classes through Canvas.

Online students get access to important student services including online tutoring and tech support. Also, online learners can schedule virtual tutoring sessions in math, science, English, or writing.

#7. Central Georgia Technical College


Located in Warner Robins, Central Georgia Technical College offers training in industries comprising aerospace, computer technology, and health sciences.

Drafting students can get three credentials through CGTC’s online courses. Students can seek technical certificates in computer-aided design (CAD) operators or high-level computer-aided design technicians. Students can also opt for a diploma in drafting technology.

The CAD operator and CAD technician certificates need 20 and 31 credits, respectively. The drafting technology diploma covers 46 credits, including eight general education credits. Certificate in drafting and design holders can get a 60-credit associate degree in drafting from CGTC.

Aspirants must be at least 16 years old and possess a GED or high school diploma. For course placement, prospective students must present standardized test scores, take the ACCUPLACER exam, or provide a postsecondary transcript.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC regionally accredited Central Georgia Technical College).

#8. Quinsigamond Community College


Located in Worcester, Massachusetts, Quinsigamond Community College offers over 120 programs of study to over 13,000 students every year.

Quinsigamond offers a computer-aided design certificate through its engineering technology department. The program, which highlights manufacturing technology, comprises topics including manufacturing methods, materials, metallurgy, and electro-mechanical drafting.

Students also study to adequately convey their ideas through coursework on technical communication. Learners complete 25 credits and Typically, complete the curriculum in two semesters. Students can take at least 50% of their courses online.

The program includes a solid modeling course that equips students for industry certification. Through hands-on projects, students study to build complicated 3D models from 2D drawings. At the end of the course, students sit for the Certified SolidWorks Associate exam.

After achieving the certificate in computer-aided drafting and design, students can apply their credits toward an associate degree in manufacturing technology.

Quinsigamond Community College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).

#9. West Kentucky Community and Technical College


A member of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, West Kentucky Community and Technical College offer 17 programs completely online, including a diploma in computer-aided drafting and design.

The drafting and design diploma covers 48-50 credits and takes four semesters to finish. Learners must finish two general education classes: humanities and quantitative reasoning. Students build a drafting foundation through six technical core courses including drafting fundamentals and engineering graphics.

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Learners can complete the rest of the 22 essential credits through technical electives. Some electives include an introduction to architecture, 3D printing technology, and construction management. Students take online courses in two 16-week terms every year.

Certificate in drafting and design holders can earn WKCTC’s associate in applied science by taking extra general education courses

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC regionally accredited West Kentucky Community and Technical College).

#10. Mountain View College


Mountain View College, established in 1970, is one of seven institutions in the Dallas Community College District. Mountain View gives dozens of certificates and degrees that students can achieve completely online.

The college offers a completely online certificate in computer-aided drafting and design that concentrates on architectural drafting. The program covers unique courses in architectural blueprint reading and architectural illustration.

In addition, students learn to use AutoCAD software to design architectural drawings for private and commercial projects. Notably, the program involves a topographical drafting class, which introduces map drafting and contour drawings.

Drafting students conclude 29-30 credits and complete the program in two semesters. Also, students take seven essential courses and one elective. Elective choices include 3D animation, pipe drafting, and civil drafting. Online students take courses asynchronously through eight-week sessions.

#11. Kansas City Kansas Community College

Kansas City, KS

The Kansas City Kansas Community College blows a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1 and has some of the most affordable tuition of any school on our list, with distance students paying just $88 per credit hour. The school gives a Drafting (Computer-Aided Design) Associate of Applied Science program that comprises 63 credit hours.

Furthermore, learners can finish most, or all, of the needed coursework online, depending on the course offerings each semester. The program covers courses in drafting technology, high-level computer drafting, print reading, and MicroStation.


#12. Ivy Tech Community College

Indianapolis, IN

The Higher Learning Commission accredits Ivy Tech Community College and has an average class size of just 22 students. The school offers an Associate of Science in Design Technology program that enables students to use electives to direct their studies in areas such as CAD, architectural design, and computer graphics.

Furthermore, students concentrating on CAD will take courses in architectural design, mechanical graphics, and design technology. Students may complete their coursework online, depending on course offerings every semester, and have a tuition rate of about $145 to $170 per credit for online courses.

#13. Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City, Ok

The Oklahoma State University at Oklahoma City awarded over $70,000 of financial assistance to students during the 2017 to 2018 school year and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 22:1.

The school offers an Associate of Applied Science in Architectural Technology with a focus on CAD Architecture. The program comprises 66 credit hours and covers courses in CAD drafting and drawing, construction drawing, and 3D modeling.

Students can finish most classes online and have a tuition rate of about $151 (in-state) to $395 (out-of-state) per credit hour.

FAQs On Online Drafting/Computer-Aided Design

What part of engineering does CADD deal with?

Computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) is a subfield of engineering that deals with the design and drafting of objects and materials through the use of specialized software that visualizes designs as modular 3D computer models.

How long does it take to get an online certificate in drafting?

Each school offers its own unique program, meaning one school might take less time to get the same certificate as another school.

Is CAD drafting a good career?

CAD careers are incredibly rewarding and challenging. You’ll work with a team of dedicated professionals and be part of creating something great.


Computer-aided design and drafting (CAD) is a subfield of engineering which has to do with the design and drafting of objects and materials by the use of specific software that reflects designs as modular 3D computer models.

Furthermore, Online computer-aided drafting classes may be used as part of an undergraduate degree or certificate program or as standalone classes that do not count towards a degree. Read this article carefully, we have prepared a list of Best Online Drafting/Computer-Aided Design (cad) Degree in 2023.


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