Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Technology Program Details

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Technology prepares students for a career in a variety of design and drafting disciplines. The CAD technology student will be exposed to and operate different CAD software packages and related equipment. Students will learn how to create CAD models and drawings to meet international and U.S. customary design and drafting standards.

Students can obtain a one-year diploma or a two-year Associate degree in CAD technology. Students enrolled in the one-year diploma will be taught basic drafting and CAD practices with emphasis on entry-level drafting job skills. Students enrolled in the Associate degree program will complete the first year diploma requirements and in the second year apply advanced CAD software operations including three-dimensional parametric (solid) modeling, model/assembly analysis and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing. Associate degree students will also be taught a variety of specialized design and drafting standards that are used in several different industries.

Engineering and manufacturing design and drafting, computer animation, technical publishing and independent CAD contracting are areas where Computer-Aided Design Technology program graduates may find employment.

Program Entry Requirements

Graduation Requirements

To earn a Computer-Aided Design Technology diploma or AAS degree, a student must complete all course work as prescribed and maintain a 2.0 grade point average.

What Kind of Work Will You Do?

  • Prepare a variety of product engineering models and drawings, including detail drawings, assembly drawings and layout drawings in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional realms. Prepare three-dimensional prints (prototypes).
  • Design new products or modify existing products
  • Identify industry standards (ASME/ANSI, ISO, etc.). Work with industry codes
  • Operate computers, printers, 3D scanner, rapid-prototyping equipment and use a variety of CAD and computer software
  • Use computer-aided drafting (CAD) software to create models, assemblies, drawings and analyze models
  • Students gain practical experience that is applicable to design and drafting, through field trips and exposure to manufacturing processes

What Skills and Abilities Will You Need?

  • Visualize in two and three dimensions
  • Self motivation to start a project and self-discipline to carry it out
  • Adapt to various CAD software, drafting systems and work environments
  • Understand and work in an engineering office
  • Learn to apply math skills up through trigonometry
  • Visualize parts separately and how they fit together
  • Willingness to learn and use your imagination

What Companies Hire CAD Tech Students?

Some of the local companies that hire DMACC CAD Tech Students include:

  • Cox Communications
  • Cox Sheet Metal
  • Des Moines Water Works
  • DPT Mechanical
  • Eagle Iron Works McLanahan Co
  • EFCO
  • Emerson Process Management
  • Exotic Electro-Optics
  • John Deere
  • Kline Tool
  • LDJ Manufacturing Inc
  • Marel Townsend
  • Prairie Engineering
  • Quality
  • Sauer Danfoss
  • Titan Tire Corporation
  • Todd and Sargent
  • Weiler
  • Ambassador Steel/Harris rebar

What Else Should I Consider about this Program or Career Choice?

  • Computer-Aided Design and Drafting is projected as a growth field throughout the year 2015 and beyond
  • Computer experience is now a minimum requirement for many occupations
  • Graduates with minimal experience can start their own business with little capital investment
  • Average starting salary AAS: $50,000-$60,000 ​per year.​

Recommended High School Courses

  • Composition
  • Algebra I
  • Algebra II
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Physics
  • Principles of Technology
  • Computer Science
  • Drafting
  • Industrial Arts
  • Keyboarding
  • Metals
  • Office Procedures