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Minnesota State College Southeast
A Technical & Community College

Computer Aided Design (CAD) Drafting Technologies - Diploma

Career Area: Engineering, Manufacturing & Trades
Program: Computer Aided Design (CAD) Drafting Technologies
Campus(es): Online

MSC Southeast's 100% online CAD program attracts students from all around the world.

Complex products all start with a plan. By receiving a degree from Minnesota State College Southeast's online CAD drafting program, you will learn how to translate ideas at the product conception stage into physical work plans that launch the design process. As a CAD designer, you will be an essential part of any technical team.

Our one year, 33-credit CAD Drafting Technology Diploma will teach you the tools of the trade so that you can be successful in your career on day one. Employment opportunities in the CAD drafting field abound, and a degree from MSC Southeast’s online CAD drafting program will prepare you with the specific skills employers are looking for. Solidworks, Inventor, Google SketchUP, Autocad - they’re all here, and you’ll learn how to apply these industry-standard software programs on a project basis just as you will on the job.

Best Colleges Online SealHave a busy schedule or just like to work at your own pace? MSC Southeast’s online CAD drafting program is flexible enough to accommodate your busy lifestyle, but rigorous enough to ensure you develop the skills employers demand. Take the next step to achieve an online CAD degree, and put a new career in motion - apply today!

Top ranked program

Computer Aided Design (CAD) Drafting Technologies at MSC Southeast has been recognized by as the nation's #4 Best Online Computer Aided Drafting Associate Degree in 2019.

Apply now for admission to MSC Southeast

Career Field: Engineering, Manufacturing & Technology
Cluster: Manufacturing
Pathway: Manufacturing Production Process Development
Recommended high school classes and basic job/program skills

Download the Program Plan


1100 or higher Liberal Arts and Sciences courses required unless specified

English/Communications requirement
Choose one 2000 level 3 credit English or Communications course.
3 cr
Math requirement
Choose one 3 credit Math course.
3 cr
6 crs
Technical electives (see advisor for approved electives)
Choose one or more Technical electives.
6 cr
AutoCAD is the most common computer aided drafting software. This course will cover AutoCAD functions as used in engineering drawing. Basic and advanced commands will be used to complete assignments. An introduction to 3-D CAD will be included. (Prerequisite: none) (3 credits: 1 lecture/2 lab)

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3 cr
This course is an exploration of the inner workings of machines, namely mechanisms. This includes cams, linkages, belt and chain drives, gears, bearings and speed reducers. Also included will be a section on fluid power. (Prerequisites: MDAD1204 and MDAD1250, or MDAD1241 and MDAD1250, or MDAD1250 and MDAD1252) (Concurrent: MDAD 1241 if not already taken) (3 credits: 1 lecture/2 lab)

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3 cr
This course covers the fundamentals of Solidworks parametric drawing and design. The student will use Solidworks to create 3D parametric models as well as use these models to create engineering drawings and documentation. (Prerequisite: none) (3 credits: 1 lecture/2 lab)

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3 cr
Print Reading for CAD Design
This is essentially a blueprint reading course that focuses on drafting essentials. Content will include 2d view projection, line types, dimensions, tolerances, sections, auxiliary views, and all the other basics required to understand a basic engineering drawing. This course lays the building blocks for the remainder of the Drafting and Design courses. Special Note: The student will be required to either scan and send in assignment sheets or send them through the mail to arrive on or prior to the posted due dates. (Prerequisite: none) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Manufacturing Processes for CAD Design
This course covers manufacturing methods and materials. It includes plastics, steels, machining, casting, molding, material selections, etc. This course also covers material handling, JIT, inventory reductions, etc. Attention will be given to understanding the characteristics of manufacturing processes and systems. This will help the student in fitting into today's and tomorrow's manufacturing climate. (Prerequisite: none) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Working Drawings 1 for CAD Design
This course will provide the student with a solid understanding of what is required of industrial technical drawings. This course covers assemblies, sectioning, machine parts, tolerancing, sheet metal developments, fasteners, and weldments. Special note: The student is required to purchase a student version of Solidworks, Inventor, or equivalent 3d software. (Prerequisites: MDAD1204 and MDAD1250, or MDAD1241 and MDAD1250, or MDAD1255 and MDAD1250.) Concurrent enrollment in MDAD1241 Solidworks is required if Solidworks has not been completed.) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
CAD Drawing Using Free Software
This course will cover CAD functions used by professionals, as well as those with no experience, in the CAD drafting field. Using a hands-on approach with scanned photos, students will recreate them in a 3D environment using Google Sketchup or similar free software available from the internet. (Prerequisite: none) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
27 crs

Total Credits Required for this Major: 33 Credits

Estimated Costs for this Major

Approximate Tuition/Fees:$7,246
Minimum Tool Cost:$50
Estimated Total:$8,096


Career Opportunities

  • Mechanical Designers
  • Plant Designers
  • Mechanical Drafters
  • CAD Technicians

Career Information


Program graduates will be able to:
  1. Complete industry standard assembly drawings using 2d and 3d CAD.
  2. Complete industry standard part drawings using 2d and 3d CAD.
  3. Calculate mating part conditions to guarantee part fits.
  4. Define and apply proper design materials.
  5. Define and apply proper standard part vendors.
  6. Communicate verbally and in written forms.


  • Courses are taught using state of the art CAD 3D Parametric software
  • Excellent training for self-starters
  • CAD Drafters/Designers are in constant demand
  • The courses are focused on developing your skills for employment
  • Instructors are licensed because of their experience in the drafting and design field
  • Excellent placement
  • Online CAD degree in two short years or less.


James Ziegler
Jim Ziegler is a Mechanical Drafting graduate of Western Technical College (formerly WWTI). He is also holds a B.S. degree from UW-Stout in Vocational and Adult Education. Jim has more than 10 years of experience in the mechanical design field. His varied experience includes mechanical design work in mobile hydraulics, large scale decorative lighting projects, and contract drafting and design. Jim has been an instructor at MSC Southeast for many years, including more than 7 years as an online CAD instructor.




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