Computer-aided drafting and design have been a part of high-tech engineering careers for decades. Mechanical engineers, electronics engineers, architects, 3D printing pros and members of several other disciplines can make use of the power of AutoCAD to help get their jobs done.

AutoCAD has such a rich set of features that it would be impractical to try and list them all here, but there are some general categories of functionality as described by Autodesk, developer and publisher of the AutoCAD application:

  • Geometrical drawing
  • Layering
  • Editing
  • Data export
  • Annotation
  • Dimensioning

An online CAD training program may also tailor its curriculum toward a specific career or subset of features, such as architecture or 3D modeling.

Online AutoCAD Course Structure

The AutoCAD concepts that students pick up in online CAD courses can vary from program to program, depending on the goals of the program and the length and intensity of the curriculum. Here are some typical learning outcomes expected of students in online AutoCAD training at the introductory level:

  • Navigate the AutoCAD interface with mouse control and command-line input
  • Create accurate geometrical drawings using universal coordinate system
  • Assemble complex 2D and 3D shapes to construct industry-standard plans
  • Define and analyze appropriate design materials for a given project
  • Automate certain aspects of the drafting process for a streamlined workflow

The Fundamentals of AutoCAD course offered online by the CAD Institute starts by explaining the program's primary display and its controls, including view transport tools and the basics of the coordinate system, before students even draw their first shape.

Types of Online CAD Courses

Online AutoCAD training can be found in numerous forms. Many traditional universities, career schools and technical colleges offer CAD training, and online learning marketplaces like Udemy often have one-off AutoCAD content available for students who don't have the resources necessary to commit to a fully guided curriculum.

There's another option, particularly for students whose available money and time are less abundant than their desire to learn. Some individuals with adept or expert-level AutoCAD skills make tutorial videos for free and post them on sharing sites like YouTube, where interested students can watch and learn on their own time.

While course offerings from universities and dedicated online AutoCAD training institutions may be well suited for student completion and success, students on a budget or a limited schedule can still find training if they're willing to explore their options.


"CAD Tools | AutoCAD Software Features," Autodesk, September 4, 2014, http://www.autodesk.com/products/autocad/features/all/gallery-view

"Fundamentals of AutoCAD Course Content," CAD Institute, July 25, 2014, http://www.cadinstitute.org/fund_content.html

"Computer Aided Design (CAD) Drafting Technologies," Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical, July 25, 2014, http://www.southeastmn.edu/academic_programs/draftinganddesigntechnology/index.asp?programID=11

"Introduction to CAD in Construction and Architecture - Course Syllabus," University of Massachusetts Amherst, July 25, 2014, http://blogs.umass.edu/bct220-schreyer/syllabus/

"AutoCAD Training Classes Online," Penn Foster Career School, July 25, 2014, http://www.pennfoster.edu/programs-and-degrees/engineering-and-drafting/drafting-with-autocad-career-diploma.aspx

"AutoCAD 2014 - 2D Fundamentals," Udemy, July 25, 2014, https://www.udemy.com/autocad-2d-fundamentals

"Learning AutoCAD - 3D Modeling and Rendering," Udemy, July 25, 2014, https://www.udemy.com/learning-autocad-3d-modeling-and-rendering/?dtcode=UmVpk7r1cFV2

"Learning Autocad 2013 Tutorial #1: Introduction," YouTube, July 25, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yruPUj_61bw

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