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Computer Aided Design

Student leaning on table in engineering computer lab

Department: Computer Aided Design

Program Type: Business and Information Technology


Are you seeking a degree in engineering, product design, civil engineering, or manufacturing? Consider a degree or professional certification in computer-aided design (CAD). CAD is an advanced product development tool that automates numerous complex design tasks. CAD designers, engineers, and technicians develop new products quickly and precisely in manufacturing. Traditional technical drawing theory and practices are used with the most up-to-date AutoCAD software applications, rapid prototyping machines, modeling simulators, and other high-tech commodities.

The CAD program at Elgin Community College provides you with the technical expertise to pursue career opportunities in engineering, product design, manufacturing, and much more.

Get additional information, including course listings and class descriptions.

Planning to Transfer? Learn more about earning a Bachelor’s degree, earning summer credits for transfer, or dual admissions with a university by making an appointment with an academic advisor. 

Prepare for Immediate Employment

The job prospects for computer-aided design (CAD) look good because more and more industries are using drafting software. This software is used by architects, engineers, and construction workers. When you finish your certification program, you can find work in these fields, and there's also demand for CAD professionals in manufacturing and the automotive industry.

Our new CREO certificate enhances your engineering product design by offering a user-friendly 3D CAD solution that simplifies learning and streamlines the entire product innovation process, from design to manufacturing.

The rise of 3D printing technology is creating more jobs for CAD professionals. However, because AI and automation are becoming more common in design work, the job market might focus on specialized roles requiring advanced skills. It's expected that there will be about 18,900 job openings every year for the next ten years. Refer to Career Coach to learn more about related professions and compensation.

Plan of Study and Course Descriptions

Review the ECC catalog for details about the computer-aided design plan of study and course descriptions.

Associates of Applied Science

Basic Vocational Certificates

What is Computer-Aided Design?

Computer-aided design (CAD) is the science of using computer-based software to create, modify, analyze, and optimize product designs. This software is used to increase a designer's productivity, improve design quality, create a database for manufacturing, and enhance product accuracy through two-dimensional (2-D) or three-dimensional (3-D) drawing models. CAD software generates electronic files used for manufacturing processes.

Who uses CAD?

CAD software is used heavily in architecture, arts, and engineering projects. 

Professions that use CAD tools include:

  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • City planners
  • Graphic designers
  • Animation illustrators
  • Drafters
  • Fashion designers
  • Interior designers
  • Exterior designers
  • Game designers
  • Product designers
  • Industrial designers
  • Manufacturers

CAD tools tailored to specific industries include:

  • MicroStation (offered by Bentley Systems)
  • AutoCAD (offered by Autodesk)
  • CorelCAD
  • IronCAD
  • CADTalk
  • SolidWorks
  • Onshape
  • Catia
  • LibreCAD
  • OpenSCAD
  • Vectorworks
  • Solid Edge
  • Altium Designer

How to Become a Computer-Aided Designer?

ECC offers an extensive CAD program that serves the industry by providing the latest courses, applications, simulators, and technology in academia. Comprehensive, advanced classes with an Associate of Applied Science degree allow immediate job placement or acceptance in transfer Bachelor programs.

Refer to Computer-Aided Design for detailed information.

Student Story

Military veteran Leo Cooksey pursued a new career in engineering after sustaining injuries that limited his ability to perform some tasks. Leo received hands-on training at Elgin Community College, completed certificates in AutoCAD and Computer-Aided Design, and secured an internship where he thrives.

Learn more about the Computer-Aided Design department at ECC!

Earning an Associate of Applied Science degree and a basic certificate in Computer-Aided Design can set your career in motion.

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