Best 8 CAD Certification Programs in 2021

Staff Writers by: Staff Writers

Take Your Design Career To The Next Level With CAD Certification

Whether you’re already an engineering professional or you’re ready to get your foot in the door, earning a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) certificate can show both current and future employers that you’re serious about your future in engineering and design. 

CAD certificates first became valuable on a resume in 1999, when Autodesk released the now-famous AutoCAD software. Design of both products and architecture was taken to new heights – humans suddenly had the ability to automate nearly all aspects of design, making product and building development more efficient than ever before. Before AutoCAD, engineers had to sketch out their ideas on paper. Today, it’s hard to imagine an engineer sitting down and drawing out a product without immediately taking that sketch to an automatic design program. 

With your CAD certificate, you aren’t just getting a few extra letters on your resume – you’re marking yourself as an asset to any company lucky enough to have you on board. If you’re already working with a company that will benefit from your newfound expertise, it’s smart to talk with your supervisor or your human resources department about whether they’d be willing to pay for some or all of your certification. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best CAD certificate programs for moving your career to the next level. 

1. Columbus State Community College – Columbus, Ohio

The CAD program at CSCC emphasizes the importance of understanding the core basis of drafting, established long before CAD came into existence. By teaching students about the foundations of drafting, graduates are able to both understand and explain the technology they’re using to create products. Over three semesters, students become proficient in CAD and are ready to become valuable members of any engineering team. 

  • Tuition: $163 per credit for in-state students, $333 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Student-to-faculty Ratio: 19:1
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission

2. Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Murfreesboro – Murfreesboro, Tennessee

With the option to earn CAD credentials fully online, Tennessee College of Applied Technology’s CAD certificate program is a convenient choice for students who are already entrenched in the professional world. Students go through the program part-time, allowing them to continue to excel at work while also learning the ins and outs of CAD. Part-time students are able to finish the program in 16 months. 92% of students who start the CAD program at TCAT graduate, showing a strong support system and a program style that’s doable with busy work and home lives. 

  • Tuition: Total cost $5,248.00
  • Student-to-faculty Ratio: 20:1
  • Accreditation: The Council on Occupational Education 

3. Ridgewater College – Wilmar, Minnesota

Students can complete the CAD certificate program at Ridgewater College completely online, making it a great option for students who are already working in design or are looking for a career change. This program covers MasterCam 3D, Creo, SolidWorks, and AutoCAD. Students at Ridgewater get hands-on experience through collaboration projects with manufacturing students at Ridgewater. 

  • Tuition: $192 per credit for most students, different rates may apply to students who are residents of North Dakota, South Dakota, or Wisconsin
  • Student-to-faculty Ratio: 19:1
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission 

4. Clark State Community College – Springfield, Ohio 

At Clark State, students in the CAD certificate program don’t just learn how to design products using CAD software. Students also learn about manufacturing principles, allowing them to decide whether the ideas they imagine when developing a product would be a good fit for the manufacturing process. This one-year program also includes employability and safety skills, helping to prepare students to enter the workforce. 

  • Tuition: $165 per credit for in-state students, $303 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Student-to-faculty Ratio: 14:1
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission

5. Alexandria Technical and Community College – Alexandria, Minnesota

Alexandria Technical and Community College’s CAD program takes students a little less than two years to complete. Throughout the program, students learn about standard CAD topics, as well as rapid prototyping, machining, and mechatronics. Students can decide how many classes they’d like to take at once, creating a workload that makes sense for their schedule and availability. 

  • Tuition: $170 per credit for in-person classes, $199 per credit for online classes
  • Student-to-faculty Ratio: 22:1
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission 

6. Quinsigamond Community College – Worcester, Massachusetts

Quinsigamond Community College offers students flexible scheduling options in their CAD certificate program, with the option of taking up to half of the required courses online. Most students are able to finish the program in less than a year. In addition to the standard CAD curriculum, the CAD program at Quinsigamond also focuses on technical communication, allowing students to become solid team members within their organizations. 

  • Tuition: $205 per credit for in-state students, $411 per credit for out-of-state students 
  • Student-to-faculty Ratio: 15:1
  • Accreditation: The New England Commission of Higher Education 

7. St. Charles Community College – Cottleville, Missouri 

This 32-credit program allows students to take more than half of their required courses online, making the CAD certificate program at St. Charles Community College a good fit for students who are working to advance their careers while also furthering their education. In addition to four required courses, students also choose from four electives, allowing them to customize their program to meet their career needs. 

  • Tuition: The base tuition rates are $106 per credit for in-district students ($121 per credit for online courses), $159 per credit for out-of-district but in-state students ($174 per credit for online courses), and $216 per credit for out-of-state students ($231 per credit for online courses). 
  • Student-to-faculty Ratio: 19:1
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission 

8. Dallas College – Mountain View Campus – Dallas, Texas 

Dallas College offers its CAD certificate program completely online. This two-semester program requires an elective, and students can choose from many options, including 3-D Animation, Special Topics in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD, Advanced Technologies in Mechanical Design and Drafting, and more. Dallas College covers a comprehensive array of design topics and includes a topographical drafting class. 

  • Tuition: $79 per credit hour for in-county students, $135 per credit for out-of-county but in-state students, $200 per credit hour for out-of-state and/or out-of-country residents
  • Student-to-faculty Ratio: 27:1
  • Accreditation: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools 

Methodology

We considered several factors to rank the above schools, including name recognition, quality of the program, cost, student to faculty ratio, and more. Be assured that all schools on this list are high-quality, vetted programs that can provide you with an excellent CAD education. 

If you’re a staff member at one of the above schools and would like to provide us with updated information, please don’t hesitate to reach out. If you’d like to see your school on one of our lists in the future, please contact us. 

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