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Computer Aided Drafting - Advanced Certificate

Drafters prepare technical drawings and plans, which are used to build everything from manufactured products such as toys, toasters, industrial machinery, and spacecraft to structures such as houses, office buildings, and oil and gas pipelines.

In the past, drafters sat at drawing boards and prepared a drawing by hand. Now, most drafters use Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) systems to prepare drawings. Drafters can create and store drawings electronically so that they can be viewed, printed, or programmed directly into automated manufacturing systems. CADD systems also permit drafters to quickly prepare variations of a design.

Mechanical ability and visual aptitude are important for drafters. Prospective drafters should be able to draw well and perform detailed work accurately and neatly. Artistic ability is helpful in some specialized fields, as is knowledge of manufacturing and construction methods. In addition, prospective drafters should have good interpersonal skills because they work closely with engineers, surveyors, architects, and other professionals and, sometimes, with customers.

Careers and Job Outlook

Drafters’ earnings vary by specialty, location, and level of responsibility. 

State of Michigan average yearly earnings: $35,890
Source: Michigan Department of Career Development, 2010 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

The national median pay of a drafter is $47,880 per year. 

Source: 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at

Find Out More

Have questions or want more information about CAD? Contact:

Tari Hackborn
CAD program coordinator

Computer Aided Drafting - Advanced Certificate

Program Code: CTA.35865

As a computer drafter, you will make detailed manual or computer drawings of products and machinery from sketches and specifications conceived by engineers and designers. The finished drawings are used as working plans for engineering and manufacturing purposes. Depending on experience and level of responsibility, duties may vary from preparing basic drawings to modifying the finished design using computer aided design equipment.

In order to enter this area of work, you should be able to: work within precise limits or standards of accuracy, concentrate for long periods of time, visualize 3-dimensional objects from drawings or pictures, see detail in objects or drawings, and recognize slight differences in shapes and shadings. Computer skills are a requirement.

Required Courses

CourseCreditsCourse TitleCompleted
CAD 1143Introduction to CAD ______________
CAD 1203Introduction to CAM ______________
CAD 2142CAD Techniques ______________
CAD 22633D Parametric Solid Modeling ______________
CAD 2322Introduction to Rapid Prototyping ______________
CNC 1624Computer Numerical Control Theory ______________
DRF 1213Blueprint Reading ______________
DRF 1282Geometric Tolerancing ______________
MIT 111W3Manufacturing Processes ______________
MS 1132Introduction to Machining Processes ______________
MTH ---4Any Approved Intermediate Algebra Course ______________

31Total Credits


1 - A grade of "C" (2.0) or higher is required in all courses for the certificate.
2 - CAD 114, CAD 120, CAD 214 and CAD 226 are Key courses must be completed within 5 years of completing certificate or degree. Failure to complete within the stated time frame will require you to repeat this course. See graduation requirements page.

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