CADD student working on a computer surrounded by tools of the trade at her workstation

The design drafter is a skilled technician who starts with a concept and develops the working drawings and digital models required to guide the production of items such as:

  • Machines
  • Consumer products
  • Structural details
  • Important tools

The Portland Community College Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) program teaches you the skills to help launch a successful mechanical design and drafting career.

Why choose Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) at PCC?


According to the Oregon Employment Department, wages for CADD professionals in Portland range from $20.07 to $49.12 per hour. The average annual salary is $63,812.

Learn in a cohort of like-minded students who will become colleagues in your professional network. PCC CADD classes are small and instructors are dedicated to your learning. We offer generous hours of instruction and open lab opportunities for a complete comprehension of software packages and their complex functions.

Take advantage of our flexibility, through our afternoon, online, and evening offerings. Our program has an active advisory committee of current mechanical design, drafting, and engineering industry leaders. That means you’ll receive the most modern education available, with real-world, hands-on assignments and cutting-edge concepts that ensure your skills are current and relevant. Our curriculum is certified by the American Design and Drafting Association at the Apprentice Drafter classification.

Degrees and certificates

Degrees and certificates by number of terms to complete
Award Length Financial aid eligible Currently accepting students?
Certificate: Computer Aided Design and Drafting1 year
Career Pathway Certificate: CAD OperatorLess than 1 year
Career Pathway Certificate: Mechanical DrafterLess than 1 year
Career Pathway Certificate: Technical DesignerLess than 1 year


What will you learn?

The PCC Computer Aided Design and Drafting CADD program is designed to develop your skills within one year in areas such as:

  • 3-D modeling
  • Abstract and mechanical reasoning
  • Computer-aided drafting
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Freehand sketching
  • Design and optimization
  • Drawing organization
  • Materials and design for manufacturing
  • Mathematical concepts
  • Mechanical drafting
  • Proper line work
Software programs

The software programs you will use include:

  • AutoCAD
  • Inventor
  • SolidWorks
  • Fusion 360

Each class contains a number of unique topics and concepts. Learn more in our program overview and frequently asked questions.

What will you do?

As a graduate of PCC, you will be expected to apply skills in the following:

  • Computer-aided design (CADD) software
  • Mechanical reasoning and mechanical design
  • Abstract and spatial concepts and associated computations
  • Industry standards

The Oregon Employment Department projects demand for CADD professionals in the Portland area to grow nearly 14% by 2027. Drafters are hired by firms of all sizes or are self-employed. PCC graduates find work in manufacturing firms, construction companies, engineering firms, along with city, state and federal agencies.

The PCC CADD program primarily focuses on training for the mechanical design and drafting industry. However, graduates have found employment in the civil, construction, public works, and other related industries by selecting elective classes.

Who will hire you?

Graduates of PCC’s CADD program have been hired by organizations such as:

  • A-DEC
  • CH2M Hill
  • City of Portland
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • ESI
  • Freightliner Corporation
  • Columbia Helicopters
  • KPFF Consulting Engineers
  • Mentor Graphics Corporation
  • Tektronix
  • Williams Air Controls
  • Allied Systems Heavy Equipment
  • HuntAir

Next steps

Applying to PCC is free and only takes a few minutes.Apply now

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