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Minnesota State College Southeast
A Technical & Community College
MSC Southeast

Computer Aided Design Technology Skills Guide

Recommended High School Level Background Courses

• All Drafting Classes will be useful
• Courses such as Project Lead the Way (PLTW) or equivalent courses
• Introduction to Engineering Design
• Principles of Engineering
• Building construction
• Metals
• Welding
• Industrial Arts
• Algebra I
• Algebra II
• Geometry
• Trigonometry
• Physics
• Computer Basics
• Reading Comprehension
• English Composition

Basic Skills in the Program and on the Job

Technical Learning

Cad Designers make drawings and CAD models that others use to build things. These “things” include everything from toys to advanced machines. It is very important that the high school student takes Technical Education courses in subjects such as Project Lead the Way or equivalent types of courses as well as other Tech Ed coursework (Metals, Woods, etc.). It is both a visual and mathematical field that requires the application of actual spatial and mathematical relationships with that of the Computer Aided Design software to create robust designs for the industrial world. Skills such as time management, reasoning, and the ability to follow instructions are also important to the CAD program and you should try to gain them as well. The learning that takes place in Southeast Technical Colleges CAD Program always has these goals in mind.


Students in this program must learn the importance and meanings of various technical jargons. You must be able to relate the accompanying texts and follow a detailed sequence of instructions to complete drawing projects. Texts, which are an essential part of the coursework, are written at a college level. Supplemental readings include computer and CAD operating manuals, trade publications and customer specification forms.


Written and verbal communications are important in the CAD program. All students in the AAS degree will take at least one 2000 level English or Communications course. Students will also keep technical files in their Design Project classes as well as create technical reports and give oral reports about the CAD projects. CAD professionals are required to explain problems clearly, by use of specialized technical language. In the workplace, the CAD Designer must communicate with engineers, machinists, mold makers, sales professionals, and customers in a multitude of written, spoken, and visual languages.


First-rate mathematic abilities are needed in CAD Design Technologies. High school courses in algebra, geometry, physics, and trigonometry will help the student succeed in this program. All students in the AAS degree will take at least one 2000 level mathematics course and a College Physics course. CAD professionals use applied math constantly to define and refine their designs. This application of mathematics is crucial for success in the field.


Good understanding of computers, internet, downloading programs, and file structures is important for success in this online CAD design program. The student should feel confident in his or her abilities to load and use software to complete their instructional tasks. All students in the AAS degree will take at least one 2000 level Computers course. The students will take multiple courses use Computer Aided Design software while completing the coursework for this program which will enable them to become very proficient at the effective use of CAD and other software programs.

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