Computer-Aided Design and Drafting (CADD)

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 Everything we use in our daily lives has been designed by someone. These devices and objects, tools and machinery start out as technical drawings and CAD models. CAD designers use computer-aided design techniques in the creation of 2D and 3D models and production drawings. Computer-aided design and drafting is used in all industries, including entertainment, healthcare, commercial food preparation, packaging, aerospace, furniture and automotive manufacturing, among others.

This degree program prepares graduates for positions as drafters and designers, with a focus on total design along with the communication and integration of the design of related parts or components. Students will:

  • Learn the skills necessary to create 2D drawings and 3D models.
  • Obtain knowledge of manufacturing processes such as welding and sheet metal fabrication, engineering materials, and the use of precision measuring tools.

This program concentrates on the use of CAD in designing and documenting new and existing products and concepts. Students in the CADD program will learn to use computers to familiarize themselves with current CAD hardware and software used in industrial design applications such as detailing, illustration, and Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing to produce models. These models can be expanded upon using parametric modeling, assembly technology and further techniques to best illustrate their designs. Once the concept is created and documented, designs may be produced in the Rapid Prototyping or 3D Printing Center.

Taking ideas and bringing them to life is at the heart of careers in the field of drafting and design. Every piece of equipment, building or widget began as a concept that had to be taken through an exacting process in order to become a reality.


Our curriculum provides you with practical skills, knowledge and experience in technical drafting, design and computer-aided drawing techniques using the latest software. You will also gain associated knowledge in production, through studies in manufacturing processes, materials, and the use of precision measuring tools. Your primary focus is on total design and development for manufacturing and includes hands-on practice in the design and integration of related parts and components.  

When you complete the program, you’ll be prepared for an entry-level CAD design technician position in any one of a number of areas, including manufacturing, construction, machine design, gauging and fixtures, and the creation of CAD drawings and models for Web publication.  

Program Goal

The computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) degree program prepares the student for employment in the modern CADD environment. Students are skilled in preparing complete, concise and accurate computer-based engineering communications. CADD courses provide experiences where students function as members of design teams, demonstrating professionalism and responsibility and instilling confidence. Through multiple projects and activities, students gain skills in solving both 2D and 3D technical problems involving parametric and solid modeling and 3D printing using modern CADD software and equipment..

Program Outcomes

A successful graduate of this major should be able to:

  1. Produce working drawings, such as details, subassemblies and assemblies in compliance with industrial standards utilizing 2D and 3D computer-aided drafting techniques.
  2. Design and calculate data for gears, cams and mechanisms and analyze them using 2D and 3D CAD simulation techniques.
  3. Calculate dimensions and tolerances and apply these values to working drawings.
  4. Produce technical drawings and models for a variety of applications in compliance with industrial standards using 2D and 3D computer-aided drafting and design techniques.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to research and acquire data and apply this information, such as the use of manufacturers' catalogs and available web resources to select standard parts and products.
  6. Apply math, English, science and machine design technology principles and practices to drafting and design industrial applications.
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of safe and professional behavior associated with the drafting and design occupation.

Career Opportunities

Converting an abstract idea into a working design is the job of the drafter and designer. The drafter/designer may be involved in drawing one of many parts of a complete assembly, then designing the tooling, fixtures, gauges, dies, injection molds and special machines to produce one or all of those parts. For the drafter/designer, creativity and attention to detail are essential in the manufacture of such diverse products as automotive and aircraft components, consumer products, medical products, electronics, food processing and special machinery.

Successful graduates may find positions in design areas such as product design, machine design, gage and fixture design, residential and commercial design or in preparing CAD drawings/models for publication on the Web. Students broaden their drafting and design skills with coursework in civil, structural, electrical, electronic, piping and architectural drafting, providing employment opportunity in related work areas. Within the degree program, students are introduced to product design and manufacturing processes where problem-solving and analytical skills are enhanced through projects individually and in team collaboration. Cutting-edge CAD instruction within state-of-the-art computer and 3D printing labs prepares the graduate for today’s work environment with a focus on parametric CAD and digital prototyping applications. AutoCAD®, Autodesk Inventor®, Revit® and related software programs are used extensively in the program.

Opportunities for employment in the field of industrial technology, and specifically computer-aided design/drafting, are diverse.  Graduates find challenging and rewarding careers in all geographical areas of the United States and abroad as CAD operators, drafters, designers, engineering technicians, production technologists, safety technicians, manufacturing technicians, quality control technicians, CNC machine programmers, robotic technicians and many other industrial, manufacturing and product design fields.  The average annual wage rate for industrial technology and related positions in southwestern Pennsylvania is over $58,000 per year.  The Southwestern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center estimates that there are more than 4,100 industrial firms in the region that account for more than 196,000 manufacturing jobs. “The facts support their work: Manufacturing is Pennsylvania’s third largest source of gross regional product that accounts for over 10% of the total workforce.  And in 2013, Pennsylvania was the eighth-largest manufacturing state in the nation in terms of GDP.” (