A computer-aided design, or CAD, drafter has a two-year associate's degree in drafting from a community college or technical institute. Depending on the employer, a drafter may qualify for a job with just a certificate in drafting. Degree and certificate programs instruct students on sketching, the basics of design and computer-aided design and drafting computer software. A school might only specialize in a single type of drafting, such as electrical or mechanical drafting.
Before entering a community college or technical institute drafting program, it's best that high school students complete classes in science, mathematics and computer technology. Students who choose to learn at a community college instead of a technical institute often complete more general education classes and learn more about drafting theory. After attaining an two-year degree, a person is prepared to either enter the workforce or continue on to a four-year college. Colleges offer courses in engineering, mathematics and architecture.
While not required, attaining certification from the American Design Drafting Association can help a CAD drafter become a stronger job candidate and become more proficient at his job. Certification specialties include mechanical, architectural and civil drafting.
In addition to the proper education, drafters should also possess specific skills. These skills include critical thinking to find design flaws, time-management to stick to a deadline, and attention to detail in order that plans are accurate and adhere to specifications.