AutoCAD is one of the most-used CAD software packages across the field of computer-aided drafting, with certified qualifications that showcase a firm degree of competence and proficiency for use in professional projects.


We provide varied AutoCAD training routes to certification depending on the current experience of the learner, with formats ranging from home-based self-study to interactive classroom-based tuition and group-focused learning.


The best way to learn AutoCAD may depend on your time and availability, but progressing through instructor-led courses from novice to expert offers a streamlined pathway to certification.


Working Toward AutoCAD Certified User Status


AutoCAD Certified User, abbreviated to ACU, is a certification program where participants study the basic skills and competency required to use AutoCAD effectively for technical design applications. Courses cover:


  • Creating drawings and designs
  • Editing designs or models
  • Manipulating layouts and objects
  • Adding additional objects
  • Designing new layouts
  • Plotting and organizing objects


Students are advised to expect to spend around 150 hours using AutoCAD, alongside completing the appropriate study modules to have the knowledge necessary to achieve a passing mark on the certification exam.


ONLC provides two courses, two and three days, respectively, covering all the relevant topics and content, with expert instruction and hands-on participation beginning with initial design and editing and leading to more sophisticated learning around editing, plotting, and publishing.


How to Obtain the Autodesk AutoCAD Certified Professional Mark


The second and more advanced AutoCAD certificate is called the Autodesk AutoCAD Certified Professional (ACP) standard. It is intended for designers with an in-depth understanding of more complex and technical AutoCAD functions, with a suggested real-world experience of up to 1,200 hours required to meet the examination standard.


ACP course materials cover the following topics:


  • Manipulating and changing objects
  • Hatching – using fill patterns and gradients
  • Managing AutoCAD files
  • Creating and editing 2D designs
  • Navigating the AutoCAD interface
  • Dimensioning
  • Annotation techniques
  • Printing and plotting 


Certified AutoCAD users with ACP status can also progress to more in-depth studies specific to their field, such as certifications in AutoCAD for architecture or structural design.


As with the ACU certification, ONLC provides three levels of training, with each course running for between two and three days. Following course completion, students have the knowledge to deploy AutoCAD functionality in commercial environments and continue developing their practical skills while obtaining the experience required to sit the ACP exam.


Advantages of a Formal AutoCAD Certification


Technical CAD proficiency is in high demand across construction, media, engineering, manufacturing, and architecture, using 2D and 3D design and modeling to test and analyze concepts, compare product performance, and make astute decisions. For example, architects commonly require AutoCAD designers to generate detailed outlines of planned construction work or may study towards an AutoCAD certification to offer this modeling service in-house.


Holding a recognized AutoCAD credential demonstrates the ability required to apply for CAD-related positions, with inclusion in the Autodesk database of qualified professionals.


Certified User status is intended for users who are becoming accustomed to using AutoCAD software, where the certificate shows a commitment to high quality and proficiency in CAD functionality. Professional Certification standards are created for more experienced users and can be used in enterprise-level applications in many industries.


Although intensive courses run over a compact timeframe, they are step one towards certification. The Autodesk certification process required candidates to complete their studies, gain practical experience and then enroll in an examination session.


Sitting an AutoCAD Examination


Exam content depends on the certification you are working towards but will generally run for 120 minutes, with between forty-five and sixty questions, ranging from multiple choice to graphic interpretation skills tests and active screen tests. All exams are proctored and require a score above the threshold to pass, with options to sit tests at home or at an examination center with tech monitoring to ensure exam results are verified and all certifications credible.


Course students can access exam preparation materials to reinforce their AutoCAD learning and are advised to access practice tests beforehand, although the questions in a real-time examination will not be replicated. Once complete, certified AutoCAD users can earn salary premiums of roughly 18% above sector averages, particularly in high-growth sectors where advanced use of CAD is a core requirement for recruiters looking for competent design professionals.

About The Author

Tom is an AutoCAD professional that has worked in all phases of CAD project delivery: Consultation, Sales, Project Management, Implementation and Support. This gives him a strong perspective to provide relevant, effective, and valuable CAD training to his students. He has been an AutoCAD professional since 1994, and has trained hundreds of people in the proper use and utilization of AutoCAD. He has trained throughout the US and Canada, and has been the manager of his own AutoCAD Training center in Jefferson County New York. He is a certified in AutoCAD at the Associate and Professional levels. He has taught at all levels, including Elementary School, Middle School, High School, and College. He has trained engineers, architects, soldiers, sailors and airmen. He finds training to be a joy, and continues to expand his training offerings, which now includes Revit.

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