AutoCAD is a computer-aided drafting program from AutoDesk that allows users to draft projects, designs and models into 2-D or 3-D digital blueprints. AutoCAD is considered the standard amongst CAD programs, and it is used by many universities to teach CAD skills to students and by professionals who are called upon to create designs for projects or companies. Because AutoCAD is a large, complex program, you will need to study the application and learn its ins and outs before attempting a CAD design.
1. Determine whether you require formal training. Learning AutoCAD for backyard projects or a particular hobby, for example, probably won’t require that you hold a certificate or degree, but most prospective employers will require that you have college or university AutoCAD training.
2. Find a local or online college, university or technical school that offers AutoCAD classes. Enroll if necessary or sign up for an AutoCAD course. Purchase the requisite textbooks and study guides, and a copy of AutoCAD if required. You may be eligible for a student discount through your college or university. Check with the campus bookstore or computer center, or contact Autodesk about possible discounts.
3. Locate online resources or obtain AutoCAD textbooks for at-home study if you don’t want to attend a school. AutoCAD tutorials are available online and many are free, such as those from North Carolina State University, CADTutor and 2LearnCAD. Alternatively, you can use textbooks, some of which include CDs with interactive materials, such as “AutoCAD for Dummies,” “AutoCAD: A Problem-Solving Approach” and “The AutoCAD Textbook.”
4. Take Autodesk’s AutoCAD certification exam at an Autodesk Authorized Certification Center if you want an AutoCAD certificate. This exam is issued by Autodesk and is accepted by companies and corporations as evidence of your proficiency in AutoCAD. Navigate to the Autodesk Certification website and click “Autodesk Center Search.” Enter your zip code and the distance you are willing to travel, then click “Search.” Select a certification center nearest you for its contact information. Contact the location and schedule an exam. You’ll be mailed a certificate if you pass; otherwise, you can retake the test after you’ve studied some more.