Computer Aided Drafting Technology Associate in applied science degree

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People who work in computer aided drafting technology use their skills to create two- and three-dimensional drawings on the computer. These drawings are used to visually represent buildings, bridges, canals, and houses. This program is available for qualified deaf and hard of hearing students. 

The associate in applied science (AAS) in computer aided drafting (CAD) technology, offered by RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf, will prepare you for a rewarding career as a CAD technician. The program provides you with the skills to become a support technician in the architecture, engineering and construction field. You might work with architects or engineers on projects such as buildings, highways, or bridges. Construction companies and building suppliers also hire CAD technicians.

CAD operators, also called CAD technicians, take the sketches of an engineer, architect, or designer and produce a set of technical drawings. In addition to a strong emphasis on computer-aided drafting, the major provides you with a background in mathematics, building systems, construction regulations, site utilities, and materials and methods used in the architecture, engineering, and construction industries.

The AAS degree in computer aided drafting technology prepares students to find immediate employment upon graduation or to continue their education by working towards a bachelor’s degree. Transfer requirements into RIT’s bachelor degree programs vary by program.

Cooperative education

As a student in the computer aided drafting technology program, you will be required to complete a cooperative (co-op) work experience prior to graduation. You may schedule your co-op after completing your second-year academic requirements.

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  • Civil Engineering

  • Construction

  • Government (Local, State, Federal)

  • Architecture and Planning

Typical Job Titles

Drafter Technician


Computer Aided Drafting Technology, AAS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
Freshman Seminar
The course provides entering NTID students with opportunities to develop/enhance academic skills, personal awareness, and community involvement in order to maximize their college experience. Students have opportunities to explore and navigate the college environment, develop/reinforce academic skills and participate in service learning opportunities. Students are encouraged to establish meaningful connections with faculty, staff and peers. The course promotes the development of plans for ongoing growth and involvement in class and in the RIT/NTID and/or broader community. Students must pass this course to earn an associates degree.
Data Collection & Analysis
Students develop hands-on experience with basic measuring instruments used by the A/E/C industry through lab and field activities. Students develop a methodology for recording field measurements that can be accurately converted into digital documentation. Students also develop the ability to interpret industry standard construction documentation produced by others.
Computing Tools for Engineering Technology
This course provides a foundation of computer skills common to classroom and work environments in engineering related fields. These include skills with using operating systems, networks, the internet, common office productivity tools, and graphics tools. Assignments will include engineering communication and problem solving components. Effective communication strategies will be explored in giving a presentation. Students will also develop a basic website which will be used as a basis for the student's electronic portfolio.
Engineering Graphics in AEC
The objective of this course is to introduce students to engineering graphics as a means of communication in the technical fields of architecture, engineering and construction (A/E/C). The course is laboratory oriented and provides the student with basic skills to create professional 2D drawings with this comprehensive first course in the use of AutoCAD software for mechanical, architectural and civil drawings. The course assumes no prior knowledge of engineering drawing or CAD.
Construction CAD I
The objective of this course is to learn the fundamental concepts of building information modeling (BIM) and how computer aided drafting (CAD) is used to produce basic construction documents. Students will learn to create a basic BIM project as well as learn basic AEC concepts and terms. Students will also develop effective time management skills and file management strategies.
Civil Technology Graphics
The objective of this course is to develop an understanding of drawings and practices used in the civil drafting field. Students engage in sketching exercises as well as use computer aided drafting tools to create plans and drawings for civil engineering projects. Students are introduced to mapping, surveying, GIS, plot plans, contour lines, highway layout, profiles and earthwork drawings. Students develop an understanding of the technical and legal purpose of these drawings and how to assemble them. No official prerequisites are required, but students should have basic computer literacy skills.
Topics include the trigonometric ratios, radian measure, angles in a coordinate system, ratio values for special angles, trigonometric inverses, graphs of trigonometric functions, and trigonometric identities and equations
Advanced Mathematics
Topics from precalculus mathematics are studied with an emphasis on functions and graphs. Topics include the algebra of functions and the study of inverse functions. Rational, exponential, logarithmic and piecewise-defined functions are among those studied. Students, who earn credit for NMTH-275, cannot take NMTH-260 or NMTH-272.
ASL-Deaf Cultural Studies†
LAS Perspective 1 (ethical)
LAS Elective
First Year Writing (WI)
Wellness Education*
Second Year
Job Search Process for CADT
Course goals are to prepare students to secure a cooperative or professional work experience in the student's major and to assist the student in acquiring the skills for accessing information, networking, developing resumes and letters, completing various employment-related forms, interviewing, and using various communication techniques in preparing students for the job search process. This course also includes a lab where students will design and create a hard-copy and a web-based electronic portfolio, and students will engage in practice interviews to effectively communicate the contents of their portfolio.
Construction CAD II
The objective of this course is to learn how Building Information Modeling (BIM) can bring different disciplines together in a coordinated way to facilitate the design of a building. The course will build on the CAD skills learned in Construction CAD I to develop a more complex commercial BIM project that includes Architecture, MEP services and structural systems. Students will learn various AEC concepts and terms as well as how to organize a set of construction documents.
Construction CAD III
Students learn to apply 3-D CAD techniques to a multi-level construction project situated on a site with significant topographic features. Students will function as a team to create a total project model. Structural systems will be integrated into the construction of the building model. Students will extract and refine a series of orthographic views of the site and building models such that a comprehensive set of working drawings is produced.
Energy Modeling for Sustainable Construction 
This course explores the fundamental relationship between building systems and energy. It also, addresses the building envelope (outside walls, roofing) and how location, siting, landscaping, and material selections affect the energy consumption of a project. Students will be introduced to energy analysis software available through the United States Department of Energy. Students will also learn to apply BIM software to analyze the energy efficiency of building design iterations.
Construction Material and Methods I
Students study soil, aggregate, Portland cement concrete, asphalt cement concrete and wood products used for construction. Laboratory work focuses on testing soil, aggregates and Portland cement concrete. ASTM standards are used in all testing. Students also test mortar using ASTM standards and follow building codes for framing construction. Students will engage in hands-on lab activities.
Construction Materials and Methods II
This course is a continuation of the Construction Materials and Methods I course. Students learn standard technical vocabulary related to common construction materials, basic building science concepts related to thermal insulation and moisture protection, and various construction framing methods. Students will also learn the aesthetic, economic and performance characteristics of a wide variety of non-structural materials and finish products associated with the construction industry. Hands-on lab activities are used to learn how many common products are installed.
Principles of Structural Systems
In this course, students learn the basic concepts of loads and stresses and how the structural members of a construction project support and distribute loads. The overview includes the practical aspects of how structural elements as assembled and incorporated into construction projects and the influence of building codes on the selection of structural systems.
MEP Systems
Students learn to identify the basic components and operation of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems for a construction project. These systems include water supply, sanitary sewer and waste water treatment, storm drainage, solid waste handling, power supply generation, indoor climate control, lighting and communication systems. Students will learn the advantages of specifying sustainable solutions for these systems. Students will become acquainted with the graphic representation of these systems on construction documentation.
Co-op: CADT
Designed to give the student an opportunity to gain experience on the job, to apply what they have learned and to self-evaluate personal and communication skills. Placement assistance is provided to help the student find a relevant work experience.
LAS Perspective 6 (scientific principles): Principles of Physics
Principles of Physics is designed to provide a broad background in general physics. Students are provided with hands-on laboratory experience in a supervised setting. Topics, which are presented in a lecture/lab format, include motion, Newton's Laws of Motion, forces, and analysis of vectors.
LAS Perspective 2 (artistic)
Third Year
Advanced Construction CAD
Students develop CAD and BIM skills gained in previous courses by adding skills in design development. The project, a building of two or more stories, requires the synthesis of information and principles both from previous courses and from reference sources. Students will create a BIM project from preliminary drawings. Some design work will be required as students will incorporate information from building codes, specifications and data for mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) services and structural systems.
Presentation Graphics
Students gain specialized skills and knowledge in production of presentation graphics using CAD and visualization software. Using general CAD skills as a starting point, students learn to setup and render various types of images and animations for presentation of construction projects to clients, agencies, boards, and the public. Students will engage in a team design project which will culminate with a final presentation.
Technical Elective‡
LAS Perspective 3 (global)
LAS Perspective 4 (social)
Total Semester Credit Hours

Please see the NTID General Education Curriculum-Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing associate degrees are required to complete one Wellness course.

† An ASL-Deaf Cultural Studies (AASASLDCS) course is required for graduation. It can be taken in any semester and can be taken at NTID or another college of RIT. In order to fulfill this requirement as part of the credit hours in the program, it can be a course approved for both AASASLDCS and an LAS Perspective or LAS Elective.

‡ Choose one from the following list of courses, or another course by departmental approval, Principles of Design and Color (NAIS-120), Raster and Vector Graphics (NAIS-130), Scenic and Lighting Technology (NHSS-223), Materials of Construction (CVET-140) and Materials of Construction Laboratory (CVET-141), Surveying (CVET-160) and Surveying Laboratory (CVET-161), Theatre Practicum (Lighting [NHSS-248-02] and/or Set Construction [NHSS-248-08]), GIS Fundamentals (NCAD-280). Permission required for CVET-140, 141 and CVET-160, 161.

Admission Requirements

For the career-focused AAS Degree

  • 2 years of math required
  • 1 year of science required
  • English language skills as evidenced by application materials determine associate degree options.

Specific Requirements

  • English: Placement in a First Year Writing course, such as FYW: Writing Seminar (UWRT-150). Students typically enter First Year Writing with reading scores equivalent to 130 or higher on the NTID Reading Test and writing scores of 67 or higher on the NTID Writing Test. However, students who complete AAS degrees typically enter NTID with reading scores above 98 on the NTID Reading Test and writing scores above 50 on the NTID Writing Test.
  • Mathematics: Placement in Trigonometry (NMTH-220). Typically, students entering this program will have completed at least three years of high school mathematics.
  • Science: Placement into Principles of Physics (NSCI-201) or a higher level course. Typically, students entering this program will have completed at least three years of high school science. High school physics would be beneficial.

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