AutoCAD combines artistic and technical skills. It’s a great program to learn, and it prepares you for an excellent career as a designer. Whether you are an architect, interior designer or even theatrical designer, becoming proficient with AutoCAD is a crucial first step to starting your career. First, you will need to understand what AutoCAD is and what its purpose is. Then, compare and contrast the top-rated online courses in AutoCAD. Finally, use the buyer’s guide to decide what key features you are looking for in an online course. Learning online is a fast, flexible and efficient way to learn AutoCAD from home.
What Is AutoCAD?
CAD stands for Computer Aided Design. AutoCAD is a particularly popular software choice for using this technique. It is not the only software available. Its competitors include programs like Vectorworks. However, AutoCAD is an excellent, well-rounded choice for learning CAD. The program is highly versatile and easy to learn, making it great not only for beginners, but also for professional designers. Although there are other software choices, this list will focus exclusively on AutoCAD. Whether you are looking for an associate's degree, certification or just a few hours of tutorials, this list offers options to fit any schedule.
Why Learn Online?
There are many colleges, technical schools and job training centers that provide courses in AutoCAD and other CAD programs. However, learning online is becoming one of the most efficient ways to learn a new software program. Online courses often use recorded lectures, which makes them either free or substantially cheaper than in-person classes. Online learning, or distance education, also usually offers a very flexible schedule. Take lectures at your own pace and complete assignments at any time before the due date. Most online courses also provide the chance to go back and watch past lectures as many times as you need. If you struggle to recall important details or dislike extensive note taking, this is a great feature. Finally, online education is often designed by leading professors and professionals around the nation or worldwide. You do not have the restrictions of the quality or quantity of schools in your area, but have access to excellent programs in AutoCAD.
How Are They Rated?
Each of these courses represents the best online courses in AutoCAD. This list was created, and each class was rated, based on a number of key features, including customer reviews, professional reviews, affordability, flexible scheduling, beginner-level instruction and engaging and relevant content. Each course is given a rating out of five stars, with five being the highest and one being the lowest. Of course, the best course for you is often a matter of personal preference and your current situation and educational needs. While each class gives excellent instruction, some are more suited to different levels of commitment or certification needs. These will be discussed further in the buyer’s guide.
This excellent beginner-level guide to AutoCAD features 12.5 hours of lectures, additional resources and quizzes and assignments. The course is very flexible, and it offers the ability to rewatch all the content, even after you complete the course. This online class is ideal not only for new designers, but it also offers additional information for intermediate professionals already familiar with the program. It’s not as extensive or as long as other courses, but if you need a quick and flexible introduction, this is a perfect choice for you. Udemy often features extensive discounts, so this $29.99 course is frequently available for $9.99. You will receive a certificate of completion at the end, in order to highlight your new skills and experience.
If you are looking for a more comprehensive and well-rounded look at AutoCAD, consider this specialization by Coursera. Coursera provides free online courses that are taught by leading professionals in many industries. Classes are often bundled together under a broad topic called a specialization, such as this option of five courses. At the end of the specialization, if you have successfully passed each quiz, you will have the opportunity to pay for a certificate of completion. Each course is created and taught by professionals at Autodesk, which is the creator of the AutoCAD software. The video lectures may not be as engaging or interactive, but the package of courses offers a wide range of skills using AutoCAD and other similar software. This is also one of the most extensive options, taking approximately 21 weeks to complete. If you want a broad understanding of AutoCAD and other design programs, this is a good place to start.
If you want an extremely accelerated program, try Udemy’s crash course in AutoCAD. This fast-paced program uses only three hours of lectures to give you the most fundamental skills you need to begin using AutoCAD immediately. Taught by the award-winning designer, Andrew Shroeder, this course helps you create and edit files from day one. It is, of course, far less extensive than other longer programs. It also costs the same as Udemy’s other courses, at $9.99. While it is comprehensive for its length, a true grasp of AutoCAD takes longer than just a few hours.
A great way to learn with low commitment, CADTutor offers free videos and guides for learning AutoCAD at your own pace. It’s an informal way to learn, so there are no assignments, quizzes or due dates. You won’t receive any certificate from your training, but if you learn quickly on your own, then this might be the most time and cost-effective option. These classes are highly educational, but they are not as engaging or interactive as courses from other online learning providers. CADTutor has online forums, where you can interact with fellow professional designers. If you aren’t sure how much time or money you will need in order to learn the fundamentals of AutoCAD, or if you enjoy learning by doing, these tutorials are a great choice for you. However, many individuals find it difficult to apply all the knowledge in the separate tutorials into one cohesive course.
If Udemy’s Crash Course felt fast, this lightning-quick course teaches all the basics of AutoCAD in just 45 minutes. With only one lecture over 10 minutes, this short series takes you through each basic tool and command. The idea is, once you have this rudimentary understanding, you will be able to practice on your own to become proficient. This methodology is particularly useful for individuals who already have some experience in CAD and simply need to learn the layout of AutoCAD. It’s also great for anyone who prefers to learn in a hands-on way, rather than passively listening to lectures. Again, at $9.99, it feels rather expensive for its length when compared to the other great courses you can purchase for this much or less.
A unique, subscription-based online learning provider, Lynda.com allows students to take as many tutorials as they would like for a monthly cost. The courses have an affiliation with LinkedIn, which provides students with course suggestions and a great way to network after completing each class. You can start with a free month's trial, but afterward, you must pay either $29.99 per month or $24.99 per month on an annual subscription. Lynda.com has plenty of AutoCAD courses to choose from. More importantly, you can watch all of the tutorials for the same price. You will also receive a certificate of completion. While the courses lack some of the interactive features of their competitors, the sheer number of courses available to you make this a great choice. It is good for individuals who have lots of time to take several classes, but the cost is high if you are only planning to take one or two courses.
Looking for a more concrete certificate and comprehensive instruction? Bestcolleges.com provides a list of top-rated online courses taught by colleges and universities. Earning an online certification is a great way to highlight your new credentials. The highest-rated college on this list is West Kentucky Community and Technical College’s Computer Aided Drafting and Design Degree. This two-year associate's degree gives you a complete view of not only AutoCAD, but also other areas of design and CAD drafting. Each semester is 16 weeks long. Of course, a college degree will cost significantly more than the other online courses. However, an associate's degree offers a level of certification that you can’t get through other, more informal classes.
Now that you have taken the time to research the best online AutoCAD classes, here are a few areas to consider when choosing the best course for you. Understanding why you want to take an online course, as well as what features are the most critical, will give you confidence in choosing the best AutoCAD class.
How much money are you willing to invest in your training? If you are looking for a highly-rated course that offers a trusted certificate of completion, these courses often cost more. Other classes, on the other hand, are free, but may not be as comprehensive or offer a certificate. Choosing your budget is the first step to selecting the best class for you.
Most online classes are extremely flexible, but some still hold you to deadlines for assignments and quizzes. Other courses are completely flexible and have on-demand lectures and information. Another factor to consider is the overall time commitment. Do you have three hours to spare, or do you have three weeks? Decide your availability, and figure out whether you can commit to a weekly schedule or not.
Each of these classes is for beginners, but some give you only the rudimentary skills you need, while others bring you up to speed with professional designers. Of course, more comprehensive courses involve more time. Think about your current abilities and how much you want to learn through your online class. If you learn well on your own, you might consider a shorter class. The quick crash courses allow you to get only the skills you need. Or, if you are a visual learner, consider more in-depth courses that give you step-by-step instructions and examples to bring you to the professional level.
Does the idea of lectures, quizzes and reading articles make you cringe? Some courses feel very much like a college class, while others offer visually interesting streaming content with lots of examples and real-world connections. Of course, if you want just the basics and prefer to avoid all the extra examples, you may want a more traditionally structures class. Whichever you choose, the quality of instruction is very high in all of these courses.
Finding the top seven best online AutoCAD classes is as simple as deciding the important features you need, choosing a course from this list and beginning your journey. Although AutoCAD can feel intimidating to new designers, it is an extremely useful and efficient way to provide your clients with expertly crafted designs. Whether you are an interior designer, architect or visual artist, learning AutoCAD online is a great way to improve your craft. Each course offers up-to-date instruction on the latest version of AutoCAD, and also gives you insight into basic design principles that you can use in any area of computer-aided design. Try a course, particularly a free one, and start your journey to AutoCAD expertise.