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Computer Aided Design

What Will I Learn?

The computer aided design curriculum introduces students to a broad realm of technical and architectural modeling and imaging, visualization techniques and projection principles and concepts that typify engineering and architectural drawings. The program also develops the ability to use CAD systems to create drawings and models that reflect a thorough understanding of the standard practices used in the field. Students are guided through problem-solving activities and design projects that promote team effort and foster creativity.

What Is The Occupational Outlook?

As a graduate of Heartland Community College's two-year Associate in Applied Science degree program you will be able to gain employment in a variety of settings that incorporate drafting & design technology. Employers interested in our graduates include manufacturers, architectural firms, and construction related companies. The outlook for employment in drafting and design is favorable. The Occupational Wage Survey for Illinois indicates that average starting salaries for drafting technicians range from $33,00-$36,000/year with Median salaries ranging from about $45,000 to $50,000.1

What Are My Options?

The Associate in Applied Science Degree in Computer Aided Design Technology prepares the student for a variety of entry-level positions involving design and drafting. Examples include CAD Technician, Drafter, and Designer. Students initially take introductory courses in technical graphics and AutoCAD. Students will then select an emphasis from one of three options: Architectural Drafting, Mechanical Drafting, and Building Construction Management. Students learn to create original drawings utilizing the latest software for design and drafting. Once a student has mastered the CAD software they will then apply that knowledge to create drawings and documentation focusing on the optional areas noted above including 3D modeling and product design. Students will also take related courses such as construction documents, Computer Imaging and Design, and Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing.

Graduates of the CAD program will have a variety of options available to them. Many students seek immediate employment upon graduation while others continue their education as a full-time student in a bachelor's degree program. BS degree options include programs such as Industrial Technology, Construction Management, and Applied Management. Some bachelor's degree programs are available in an on-line format and also as a 3+1 arrangement.

The Computer Aided Design certificate program requires the student to select an area of specialty. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to seek entry-level employment as CAD technicians, CAD operators and engineering or architectural assistants. All courses included in the CAD technology certificate are applicable to the Associate in Applied Science degree in CAD technology.

The Drafting Skills certificate of completion prepares individuals for entry-level positions as drafters, CAD technicians, detailers and related occupations. This certificate may be applied towards further study in CAD or manufacturing technology.


  1. Department of Employment Security, State of Illinois, Wage Data 2009, on the Internet at http://lmi.ides.state.il.us/PDFs/statewidewage_pub.pdf