AutoCAD is an advanced computer design software used throughout mechanical, civil engineering, interior design, and architectural applications as the original CAD tool that remains widely used across 2D and 3D modeling and design applications. Using AutoCAD, designers can create complex designs, surfaces, wireframes, and more. That being said, it takes time to learn and master its capabilities. Learning the software and getting an AutoCAD certification can propel aspiring architects and designers into their dream jobs and open many possibilities.

Like all advanced software suites, the ideal learning approach for AutoCAD will depend on your existing knowledge and design expertise and the time you have to commit to your tuition. Online courses, interactive instructor-led classes, and self-study programs are all available to suit your requirements.

Those new to AutoCAD or unfamiliar with CAD processes are advised to initially enroll in a novice-level course, covering the basic principles and design standards necessary to leverage the full potential the software offers.

Unfortunately, video tutorials may be inaccurate or out of date, and it is extremely difficult to gain the depth of understanding required for professional use by following informal or non-interactive guides. While thousands of learning resources are available online, we suggest a formal course, particularly for those hoping to progress to recognized certification. Hands-on training with interactive learning, practical experience, and classes progressing from foundational concepts to more complex functionality provides a thorough baseline of knowledge as the first step toward a recognized qualification.

Instructor-led AutoCAD classes through ONLC are structured progressively to ensure students extract the most value from their learning, building on concepts and principles step by step to ensure all participants have grasped the fundamentals before moving on. We offer formal learning pathways, from initial introductions to AutoCAD to advanced qualifications for professionals looking at how to get AutoCAD certification.

Types of AutoCAD Classes

ONLC provides a variety of classes, with options such as instructor-led training at our network of training centers and opportunities to learn AutoCAD online with remote study through interactive classroom sessions, or on-demand self-study, which you can progress through at your own pace. We also provide AutoCAD course bundles as a cost-effective option for those looking to become certified.

Depending on your current knowledge of AutoCAD, you can start learning as a novice, exploring the basics as a starting point, or begin with the intermediate level two course within our Core Series. The right learning structure is at your discretion, with additional modules in 3D AutoCAD functionality, beginning with AutoCAD Civil 3D Fundamentals and a separate course covering 3D Drawing and Modeling.

If you are unsure which course to begin your studies with, we recommend reviewing the course outline, duration, and content to select a class or program aligned with your current competence in AutoCAD.

Why Learn How to Use AutoCAD?

AutoCAD software is widely used in varied sectors and fields, with all subsequent CAD software modeled on this pioneering tool–making it a helpful asset for design professionals looking to expand their knowledge across several CAD interfaces and become highly sought-after talent.

Businesses often enroll workforce or design professionals in AutoCAD certification learning pathways to aid organizational efficiency and growth, using software to expedite modeling and support construction project planning.

Those adept in AutoCAD commonly find that other design tools are easier to learn intuitively, providing a competence that can be expanded quickly. With trends such as 3D printing in product concept testing and design, AutoCAD-certified designers can tap into growing areas of demand, creating elaborate and intricate designs, contributing to graphic animation as a promotional and concept-testing tool, and replacing manual design techniques with a more productive solution.

Learning AutoCAD Software as a Beginner

ONLC provides AutoCAD courses for learners of all capabilities, from a five-day introductory course to our Core Series, proceeding through Essentials, Intermediate, and Advanced classes as you expand your knowledge and practical skills. So how long does it take to learn AutoCAD? With our five-day course, you can become familiar with its capabilites, but to truly understand and master it, you likely need to take up to advanced courses and get hands on experience with it which can take up to a year.

On-demand study also caters to a variety of levels, with a fundamentals home learning format covering levels one and two and a Complete course that moves through all three levels as a natural progression.

What will you learn during an AutoCAD beginner-stage course? The starting point is to cover the baseline topics that AutoCAD users require as a learning foundation, making it easier to absorb more complex material later on. Essentials courses look at the functionality available to create and edit designs and deploy varied tools and features to develop techniques further and generate more detailed modeling outcomes.

The ideal learning format will vary between users. Still, a mixture of practical editing and image construction, studying the technicalities of parameters within CAD, and interactive sessions where participants can engage with their instructor and cement their knowledge provides the best likelihood of progressing to a formal AutoCAD certification.

Our exclusive AutoCAD for Novice Users course is specifically created for those without experience. It is suited to all learners, including those without a background in architectural design or computer modeling.

Using AutoCAD Certification for Career Enhancement

New AutoCAD users typically start with 2D design, moving on to 3D modeling and then accessing the more advanced tools as their skills and understanding of the software grow. Using that understanding to obtain a formal AutoCAD certification can be beneficial, particularly for candidates looking to establish themselves as highly skilled design professionals in engineering, 3D product design, architecture, and technical product development.

There are two primary AutoCAD certifications, both of which are covered by the ONLC AutoCAD tuition framework:

  • AutoCAD Certified User status indicates that the individual has proven their ability to use AutoCAD effectively, with a recommended 150 hours of practical experience advised before attempting the examination.
  • Autodesk AutoCAD Certified Professional qualifications are professional-grade credentials and showcase enhanced expertise, with a significant degree of experience recommended for certification candidates.

Exam processes differ between certifications but must be organized through approved providers to be valid and recognized by Autodesk. Candidates can sit exams either at their nearest test center or from home with prior approval.

Once completed, candidates with a passing grade receive a verified digital badge with an integrated link to allow prospective employers to check the authenticity of the certification and begin their careers in design.

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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