Computer Aided Design (CAD) Specialist

Two students sit at a computer while working on CAD software.

Computer Aided Design (CAD) Specialist

Subject Area: STEM, Advanced Manufacturing and Construction

Award: Certificate

Minimum Credits: 10.5

Location: Peosta

Entry: Fall, Spring, Summer

Contact email:


The CAD Specialist certificate offers students an opportunity to acquire proficiency in computer-aided design. It can serve as an introduction to general CAD skills as a springboard to further study, as a short program for the development of specific skills to obtain immediate employment or as a bridge to upgrade existing skills with the latest in CAD technology.

This certificate presents students with hands-on activities in two- and three-dimensional computer generation, presentation quality drawings, blueprint fundamentals, solid modeling and computer animation and simulation techniques. Students will work with computer programs that will allow you to construct commercial-grade graphics, animation and special effects.

CAD specialists are in demand by the construction industry, factories, industrial manufacturers, architectural and engineering firms, special-effects production companies and software firms.

Admissions Requirements
  1. Apply for admission.
  2. Complete ACCUPLACER® admission testing. Testing may be waived based on previous college coursework or submission of valid ACT®, ACT Compass® or ALEKS® test scores. Scores are valid for three years.
  3. Submit official high school, high school equivalency and/or college transcripts to the Admissions Office of the campus you plan to attend.
Academic Requirements

View the printable Ed Plan.

Term 1
CAD:104 Computer Aided Drafting OR 3.0
CAD:172 Intro to CAD: AutoCAD 2.0
SDV:200 Intro to Computers or equivalent 1.5


Term 2
CAD:165 Rendering and Animation 3.0
CAD:175 Advanced CAD: AutoCAD 2.0
CON:113 Construction Print Reading OR 2.0
WEL:110 Welding Blueprint Reading 2.0
Employment Information

With an annual income range of $26,644 - $53,206, the career outlook for Computer Aided Design (CAD) Specialist graduates is steady.

Salary Source: Institutional Effectiveness; Salary range represents 10th-90th percentile earnings for related occupations in the NICC district. Growth rate based on projections from 2010-2020.

Employers of past NICC Alumni

All American Homes, Dyersville, IA
All Systems, Dubuque, IA
AY McDonald, Dubuque, IA
Bodine Electric, Peosta, IA
Cascade Lumber, Cascade, IA
Conlon Construction, Dubuque, IA
Eagle Window & Door, Dubuque, IA
EIP Manufacturing, Earlville, IA
Featherlight, Cresco, IA
Halliburton Energy Services, Burns Flat, OK
Unison Solutions, Dubuque, IA

Sample Job Titles

Assistant Project Manager
CAD Designer
CAD Technician

For additional job titles, visit O-Net.


Lenny Graves
Dean of Career and Technical Education
800.728.2256, ext. 240