From computer chips to convertibles, bridges to bungalows... before anything is constructed or manufactured, it's drafted with CAD
Drafters create the blueprints for everything around us. Using computer aided design (CAD) software, drafters produce technical drawings for a wide range of industries, including architecture, construction, manufacturing, and semiconductor fabrication (computer chips). ACC offers associate degrees and certificates in each of those specialized fields in addition to an interdisciplinary associate degree covering multiple areas. If fast, focused training on the latest CAD software is all you need, then check out the noncredit courses at Austin's CAD Learning Center. All students have access to free tutoring seven days a week and multiple scholarship opportunities.
Should I earn a degree or certificate?
If you're interested in training that'll allow you to obtain an entry-level job as quickly as possible, or you already have a degree in another area, you should look into an Architectural and Engineering CAD certificate. An associate degree, however, can qualify you for higher-level positions. Our advice: if you don't already have a degree, get one. Classes can be planned in such a way that you can receive your certificate in A&E CAD while working toward an associate degree - which can mean employment opportunities before you graduate.
Associate of Applied Science degrees are offered in the following areas of specialization:
Interdisciplinary - Students may choose courses from the architectural, mechanical, civil, or electronics areas to create a custom degree plan that draws from several different areas of study.
Mechanical - Instruction is focused on mechanical CAD graphics and theory used by engineers and designers to prepare drawings of a wide variety of mechanical parts and assemblies.
Architectural - This specialization is for students interested in pursuing careers in architectural CAD drafting and design or those who wish to transfer to a four-year architectural program.
Electronic Graphics - Electrical CAD drafters prepare wiring and layout diagrams for electrical distribution systems, buildings, circuit boards, and other applications in the commercial electrical and semiconductor industries.
Civil ‐ Civil drafters create drawings for the civil engineering industry, including areas of land development, transportation, public works, environmental, landscaping, surveying, design visualization and many others.
Certificates are offered in the following areas of specialization:
Architectural and Engineering Computer Aided Design - This certificate is for students pursuing careers in drafting who do not wish to take the academic courses involved in obtaining an associate degree.
Integrated Circuit Layout & Design - Students interested in the study of integrated circuit mask design, which is used in the semiconductor industry, should enter this specialization.
Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) – Students learn to model machine parts using CAD tools and then utilize CAM software to generate tool paths that drive the CNC machines that turn the CAD models into physical products.
Civil CAD - The main focus of this program is Civil Engineering Computer Aided Design, which applies to transportation, public works, and other infrastructure disciplines.
* Students are strongly encouraged to meet with a faculty advisor before selecting a degree or certificate program.
In addition to the courses above, an extensive selection of noncredit classes are offered to meet the needs and schedules of working professionals through Austin's CAD Learning Center.
What skills can I gain?
Students develop the knowledge and techniques used in the creation of technical drawings, which are graphics used by manufacturers to fabricate electronic and mechanical products, by construction professionals to produce architectural structures (houses and buildings), and in civil engineering projects (roads, dams, bridges).
How long will it take to get a degree or certificate?
Full-time students typically require two years to complete an associate degree, not including prerequisites. Certificates take most full-time students one year to complete.
Where can I work with this education?
A wide range of businesses and government entities depend on CAD drafters, including those in the architecture, automotive, construction, manufacturing, and semiconductor fabrication fields. Locally, ACC graduates are employed at organizations such as National Instruments, Freescale, IBM, BAE Systems, Applied Materials, and numerous smaller design firms.