Drafting - Computer Aided Drafting (CAD)

What will I learn in this program?

Certificate of Completion in Computer Aided
Students in the CAD program will develop the skills to effectively and efficiently develop drawings using CAD software. These skills are acquired in drawing and editing tasks essential for employment in architectural, engineering, construction and manufacturing industries. The students also develop a strategic understanding of which software or technique is most effective for a particular goal, learn how to draw and dimension precisely, become familiar with CAD standards and their purpose, and will have a significant amount of practice creating a wide variety of 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional models. Drafters prepare technical drawings and plans, which are used by production and construction workers to build everything from microchips to skyscrapers.

Drafters' drawings provide visual guidelines and show how to construct a product or structure. Drawings include technical details and specify dimensions, materials, and procedures. Drafters fill in technical details using drawings, rough sketches, specifications, and calculations made by engineers, surveyors, architects, or scientists. For example, many drafters use their knowledge of standardized building techniques to draw in the details of structures. Some use their understanding of engineering and manufacturing theory and standards to draw the parts of a machine; they determine design elements, such as the numbers and kinds of fasteners needed to assemble the machine. Drafters use technical handbooks, tables, calculators, and computers to complete their work.

Employers prefer applicants who have completed postsecondary school training in drafting, which is offered by technical institutes, community colleges, and some 4-year colleges and universities. Employers are most interested in applicants with well-developed drafting and mechanical drawing skills; knowledge of drafting standards, mathematics, science, and engineering technology; and a solid background in CADD techniques. Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes but include more classes in drafting theory and also often require general education classes. Courses taken at community colleges are more likely to be accepted for credit at 4-year colleges. After completing a 2-year associate degree program, graduates may obtain jobs as drafters or continue their education in a related field at a 4-year college. Most 4-year colleges do not offer training in drafting, but they do offer classes in engineering, architecture, and mathematics that are useful for obtaining a job as a drafter.

What kind of jobs can I get once I complete the program? How much will they pay? What “demand” is expected for these jobs?


Average Annual Salary

Expected Regional Demand

Mechanical Engineering Technicians


Average Growth

Drafters, All Other


Average Growth

Architectural and Civil Drafters


Average Growth

Drafters, Architectural and civil drafters , Electrical and electronics drafters, and Mechanical drafters:
Opportunities should be best for individuals with at least 2 years of postsecondary training in a drafting program that provides strong technical skills and considerable experience with CADD systems. CADD has increased the complexity of drafting applications while enhancing the productivity of drafters. It also has enhanced the nature of drafting by creating more possibilities for design and drafting. As technology continues to advance, employers will look for drafters with a strong background in fundamental drafting principles, a high level of technical sophistication, and the ability to apply their knowledge to a broader range of responsibilities. Most job openings are expected to arise from the need to replace drafters who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force completely.

Does this program have any special enrollment requirements?


Does this program have any special costs?

Textbook(s) and a flash drive, $200 total.

How long will it take to complete this program?


Time to Complete*

Certificate of Accomplishment in Computer Aided Drafting

2-3 Semesters

*Based on full-time attendance or 12 units per semester

How do I get more information on this program?

Department website: www.ccsf.edu/engtech

Department contact information:
Engineering Department
Science Building, Room 148
(415) 239-3505