Computer Aided Drafting Technology Associate in occupational studies 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 occupational studies (AOS) 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 program 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.

Graduates will enter businesses and industries that need technical employees with skills in computer aided drafting technology and a broad knowledge of applications and procedures. Graduates find work in a variety of settings, including engineering firms, government agencies, and architectural and construction firms. Positions for which graduates qualify include drafters/technicians for architectural, highway design, and civil environments.

The AOS degree in computer aided drafting technology prepares you to find immediate employment upon graduation.

Cooperative education

As a student in the computer aided 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.


  • Civil Engineering

  • Construction

  • Government (Local, State, Federal)

  • Architecture and Planning

Typical Job Titles

Drafter Technician

Curriculum for Computer Aided Drafting Technology AOS

Architectural and Civil Drafting Technology, AOS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
   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.
   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.
   NTID General Education Foundation – Career English: Career English I
This is the first course in a two-course sequence. It is designed to develop reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary skills that students need for AOS course work and for the work environment. The reading and writing components are thoroughly integrated with approximately equal time being devoted to each. Grammar and vocabulary are thoroughly integrated into the reading and writing components. Course content includes general and technical articles, memorandums, letters, electronic communication, directions, work-related forms, and short report.
   NTID General Education Foundation – Career English: Career English II
This is the second course in a two-course sequence. It is designed to advance and refine reading, writing, grammar, and vocabulary skills that students need for AOS course work and for the work environment. The reading and writing components are thoroughly integrated with approximately equal time being devoted to each. Grammar and vocabulary are thoroughly integrated into the reading and writing components. Course content includes general and technical articles, memorandums, letters, electronic communication, directions, work-related forms, and short reports.
   NTID General Education Foundation – Mathematics: Integrated Algebra
An intermediate algebra course consisting of a blended lecture/lab component in which non-linear functions and graphs, systems of linear equations, exponents, polynomials, roots, radicals and properties of the complex numbers are considered. There is significant emphasis on scientific and geometric models, as well as the use of graphing utilities. Students cannot earn credit for both NMTH-210 and NMTH-212.
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
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.
   NTID General Education – Scientific Processes Perspective:  Physics of         Matter
This course focuses on introductory science processes using the content of physical properties of matter as a vehicle to establish an appreciation of the processes of science. The basic processes of observing, collecting data, classifying, comparing, analyzing, and forming hypotheses will be addressed using physics concepts including mass, density, displacement and buoyancy.
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‡
   NTID General Education - Perspective†
Total Semester Credit Hours

Please see the NTID General Education Curriculum (GE) for more information.

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

† NTID General Education Perspective course may be from any of these three Perspective categories: ASL-Deaf Cultural Studies; Communication, Social & Global Awareness; and Creative and Innovative Exploration.

‡ 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 (PRFN-223), Materials of Construction (CVET-140) and Materials of Construction Laboratory (CVET-141), Surveying (CVET-160) and Surveying Laboratory (CVET-161), Theatre Practicum (Lighting [PRFN-218-02] and/or Set Construction [PRFN-218-08]), NCAD-280 GIS Fundamentals. Permission required for CVET-140, 141 and CVET-160, 161.

Admission Requirements

For the career-focused AOS 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

Successful completion of a sampling experience either through the Summer Vestibule Program or an equivalent career exploration course is a prerequisite, as are the following:

  • English: Placement into Career English I (NENG-212) or above. Students successfully completing an AOS degree typically enter with reading scores of 79 or higher on the NTID Reading Test and writing scores of 39 or higher on the NTID Writing Test.
  • Mathematics: Placement into Integrated Algebra (NMTH-212) or a higher-level course. Typically, students entering this major will have completed at least three years of high school mathematics.
  • Science: Placement into Physics of Matter (NSCI-154) or a higher-level course. Typically, students entering this major will have completed at least three years of high school science. High school physics would be beneficial.



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