9 Best AutoCAD Courses

Autodesk was started by John Walker in 1982 with software that he acquired from the inventor Michael Riddle by agreeing to pay $10 million in royalties. It was an amazing deal that started the long-term success of Autodesk, which made over $3 billion in revenues during 2020.

This software, which became known as AutoCAD, first released in 1983 is still a popular 3D design software program to this day. Watch the Introducing AutoCAD 2021 video to get an overview of the many ways that this software tool is used. Architects, engineers, builders, contractors, designers, manufactures, inventors, innovators, modelers, or other professionals working with the 3D spatial parameters of items, all use AutoCAD.

Watch the short video entitled I use Fusion 360 – One Product. Unlimited Possibilities. to get a glimpse of how this software, used in creative ways, helps innovators to do things that have never been done before.

I reviewed the best courses for students to take to learn how to use AutoCAD. AutoCAD is such a powerful tool there are many terrific courses to teach students how to use it in the areas of specializations, which include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Manufacturing Generative Design
  • Manufacturing Digital Design
  • Structural Design
  • Drafting
  • Architectural Design
  • Infrastructure Design
  • Mechanical Design

All of these courses are offered as completely online coursework by Autodesk on Coursera. There are also courses available that are exam prep to become an Autodesk Certified Professional.

Best AutoCAD Courses:

  1. 1. Autodesk CAD/CAM for Manufacturing →
  2. 2. Autodesk CAD/CAM/CAE for Mechanical Engineering →
  3. 3. Autodesk Generative Design for Manufacturing Specialization →
  4. 4. Autodesk CAD and Digital Manufacturing Specialization →
  5. 5. Autodesk Certified Professional: Revit for Structural Design Exam Prep →
  6. 6. Autodesk Certified Professional: AutoCAD for Design and Drafting Exam Prep →
  7. 7. Autodesk Certified Professional: Revit for Architectural Design Exam Prep →
  8. 8. Autodesk CAD/CAM for Infrastructure Design →
  9. 9. Autodesk Certified Professional: Inventor for Mechanical Design Exam Prep →

Here are my reviews for eight areas of AutoCAD specialization to help you decide which programs and/or test prep courses are best for your needs.

1. Autodesk CAD/CAM for Manufacturing

Autodesk CAD/CAM for Manufacturing

Cost: Subscription fee of $49 per month.

There are four courses in this specialization, which are:

  1. Introduction to CAD, CAM, and Practical CNC Machining
  2. 3-Axis Machining with Autodesk Fusion 3
  3. Creating Toolpaths for a CNC Lathe
  4. Multi-Axis CNC Toolpaths

Duration: Four months to complete (studying seven hours per week).

This Autodesk course teaches design-related vocabulary, the foundations of computer aided design (CAD), toolpath generation, and how to use computer aided manufacturing (CAM). Students develop technical skills using Autodesk® Fusion 360™.

What certificate will you get?
A Training Certificate in Autodesk CAD/CAM for Manufacturing Specialization.

You will learn:

  • Basics of Computer Aided Design
  • Basics of Computer Aided Manufacturing
  • Toolpath Creation
  • How to Use Autodesk Fusion 360 Software
  • CAD Design Process Applied to Prismatic Parts

User Feedback:
“I highly recommend taking Autodesk training on Coursera for the incredible value of improving your skills at such a low cost.” Tom S. from Maine

“I enjoyed these courses and that I could take my own pace. It takes me a bit longer since English is not my native language; however, I found the course material easy to understand.” Kathri D. from Dubai.

Best for:
This course can be taken by those without any previous experience with AutoCAD. Entry-level students are welcome. Prior knowledge of CAD and CAM is helpful but not required to take this course.

2. Autodesk CAD/CAM/CAE for Mechanical Engineering

Autodesk CAD/CAM/CAE for Mechanical Engineering

Cost: Subscription fee of $49 per month.

There are four courses in this specialization, which are:

  1. Introduction to Mechanical Engineering Design and Manufacturing with Fusion 360
  2. Modeling and Design for Mechanical Engineers with Autodesk Fusion 360
  3. Simulation Analysis for Mechanical Engineers with Autodesk Fusion 360
  4. CAM and Design Manufacturing for Mechanical Engineers with Autodesk Fusion 360

Duration: Four months to complete (studying five hours per week).

This program begins by covering the fundamentals of computer aided design (CAD) and how it is used in computer aided manufacturing (CAM) that meets any mechanical engineering requirements through the process of computer aided engineering (CAE).

What certificate will you get?
A Training Certificate in Autodesk CAD/CAM/CAE for Mechanical Engineering.

You will learn:

  • How to Choose a Design Strategy
  • Working with Engineering Requirements
  • Creating Adaptive Toolpaths
  • Prepare Designs for Manufacturing Using CAM
  • How to Use Simulation Driven Design for Product Innovation

User Feedback:
“I found this a good program to learn how to use Autodesk Fusion 360 in the manufacturing design process.” Barbara S. from Dallas, Texas

“I have been using AutoCAD for architectural design work and wanted to learn about the applications in manufacturing and how CAM works. I was able to learn how all the tools work together.” Gurminder T. from Bengali, India

Best for:
Mechanical engineers who work in manufacturing can take this specialization program to expand their knowledge of generative design. This program helps design engineers understand the workflow of the manufacturing process from the design stage to manufacturing.

3. Autodesk Generative Design for Manufacturing Specialization

Autodesk Generative Design for Manufacturing Specialization

Cost: Subscription fee of $49 per month.

There are four courses in this specialization, which are:

  1. Generative Design for Additive Manufacturing
  2. Generative Design for Performance and Weight Reduction
  3. Generative Design for Industrial Applications
  4. Generative Design for Part Consolidation

Duration: Four months to complete (studying seven hours per week).

Generative design is a process of exploration that creates many design alternatives quickly from one idea. This computer aided design comes up with ideas that users are not likely to think of on their own. The generative design system simultaneously considers all the parameters of performance requirement, spatial constraints, materials, manufacturing processes, and cost limitations.

What certificate will you get?
A training Certificate in Autodesk Generative Design for Manufacturing Specialization.

You will learn:

  • Fundamentals of Generative Design
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Designing for Manufacturing Principles
  • How Machine Learning Influences Innovation
  • Job Skills Using CAD and CAE by Working with Autodesk® Fusion 360™ Software

User Feedback:
“Once you start using Autodesk Fusion 360 services to work on generative design projects, you will learn how the design process can be so easy and fun.” Cedric G. from Salt Lake City, Utah

Best for:
Designers and engineers, who currently use other design software, take this program to learn about Autodesk Fusion 360.

4. Autodesk CAD and Digital Manufacturing Specialization

Autodesk CAD and Digital Manufacturing Specialization

Cost: Subscription fee of $49 per month.

There are five courses in this specialization, which are:

  1. Intro to Digital Manufacturing with Autodesk Fusion 360
  2. Autodesk Fusion 360 Integrated CAD/CAM/CAE
  3. 3D Model Creation with Autodesk Fusion 360
  4. Engineering Design Process with Autodesk Fusion 360
  5. Manufacturing Process with Autodesk Fusion 360

Duration: Six months to complete (studying three hours per week).

Students of this specialization learn the foundations of computer aided product design and innovation in digital manufacturing. Students learn technical skills by using the Autodesk® Fusion 360™ system to design a search and rescue drone like the Japanese invention called the Xvein drone and how to customize their own drone design for the manufacturing process.

What certificate will you get?
A Training Certificate in Autodesk CAD and Digital Manufacturing Specialization.

You will learn:

  • Fundamentals of Digital Manufacturing
  • How to Integrate the Use of CAD, CAM, and CAE
  • The Digital Transformation of the Manufacturing Process
  • 3D Model Creation
  • Explorations of Mechanical Assemblies
  • How to Engineer the Manufacturing Process

User Feedback:
“After taking this program, I designed my own drone!” Willi V from Mexico
“Working with industry experts is incredibly valuable.” Peter W. from London England

Best for:
This course can be taken by those without previous experience; however, having a basic knowledge of CADS, CAM, and CAE is helpful. This program is an excellent choice for both a professional engineer working in industrial design and a hobbyist interested in drone technology.

5. Autodesk Certified Professional: Revit for Structural Design Exam Prep

Autodesk Certified Professional: Revit for Structural Design Exam Prep

Cost: One-time fee of $35.

There are two courses in this specialization, which are:

  1. Structural Components, Modeling, and Materials
  2. Families, Documentation, Views, and Revit Project Management

Duration: Two weeks with a total of 18 hours of studying.

This is the course to take for those who want to become an Autodesk Certified Professional. This course covers Revit™ for Structure, which is a software tool used for Building Information Modeling, creating 3D digital models, and project documentation. Students take this course to prepare for the Autodesk Certified Professional: Revit for Structural Design exam.

What certificate will you get?
After passing the exam, you will become an Autodesk Certified Professional with a Training Certificate in Revit for Structural Design.

You will learn:

  • Creating a Site Field
  • Setting Up a Shared Coordinate System
  • Selection Sets and Elementals
  • Understanding Families and Types
  • Schedules, Call Outs, and Dependent Views
  • Revisions and Revision Systems
  • Management of Sheets

User Feedback:
“Well-organized instructions for structural engineers who wish to gain mastery of Revit Structures to become certified by Autodesk for career advancement.” Bob K. from Los Angeles, California

Best for:
Those seeking a Revit for Structural Design certification must have 400 to 1200 hours of experience using Revit for structural design. Students who take this exam prep course are already familiar with Revit and understand appropriate workflow, process, and project objectives.

6. Autodesk Certified Professional: AutoCAD for Design and Drafting Exam Prep

Autodesk Certified Professional: AutoCAD for Design and Drafting Exam Prep

Cost: One-time fee of $35.

There are two courses in this specialization, which are:

  1. Advanced Drawing, Organize Objects, and Drawing with Accuracy
  2. Layouts, Printing, Outputs, Annotation Techniques, Reusable Content, and Drawing Management

Duration: Two weeks (17 hours of studying).

This is an exam prep course for those who want to become an Autodesk Certified Professional by passing the AutoCAD for Design and Drafting exam.

What certificate will you get?
Those who pass this exam become certified as an Autodesk Certified Professional in AutoCAD for Design and Drafting.

You will learn:

  • Draw and Organize Objects
  • Editing Function
  • Coordinate System
  • Create and Manage Layouts
  • Drawing Management Techniques
  • Using Blocks
  • Controlling External References and Underlay Files

User Feedback:
“This is an important test to pass for those wanting to become an Autodesk certified design and drafting professional.” Carlos V from NYC, New York

Best for:
A successful candidate for certification by Autodesk has 400-1200 hours of training and practical experience working with AutoCAD before taking this test.

7. Autodesk Certified Professional: Revit for Architectural Design Exam Prep

Autodesk Certified Professional: Revit for Architectural Design Exam Prep

Cost: One-time fee of $35.

There are two courses in this specialization, which are:

  1. Design Modeling, Modeling, and Model Documentation
  2. Families, Documentation, Views, and Revit Project Management

Duration: Two weeks (16 hours of studying).

This is an exam prep course for those who want to become an Autodesk Certified Professional and take the Revit for Architectural Design exam.

What certificate will you get?
Those who pass the exam become an Autodesk Certified Professional in Revit for Architectural Design.

You will learn:

  • Key Aspects of an Architectural Project
  • Importing CAD files
  • Massing Tools
  • Creating Views
  • How to Work with Rooms and Areas
  • Families and Parameters
  • Working with Revisions
  • Best Practices for Revit Projects

User Feedback:
“Every architect must have this certification to be taken seriously.” Tom B. from Atlanta, Georgia

Best for:
The prerequisites to take this exam are two years of experience working with Revit for 400 to 1,200 hours as a professional.

8. Autodesk CAD/CAM for Infrastructure Design

Autodesk CAD/CAM for Infrastructure Design

Cost: One-time fee of $35

There are two courses in this specialization, which are:

  1. Points, Parcels, Surfaces, and Grading
  2. Alignments, Profiles, Corridors, Pipe Networks, and Plan Production

Duration: Two weeks (22 hours of studying).

This is an exam prep course for those who want to become an Autodesk Certified Professional and take the Infrastructure Design exam.

What certificate will you get?
Those who pass the exam become an Autodesk Certified Professional in Infrastructure Design.

You will learn:

  • Key Aspects of a Civil 3D Project
  • How to Modify Parcels
  • Using Surveying Tools
  • Sites, Feature Lines, Surfaces, and Grading Models
  • Creating Alignments and Profiles
  • Corridors and Pipe Networks
  • Plan Production and Data Management

User Feedback:
“I was happy when I passed the exam. You have to study hard to pass this test but this program helps a lot.” Doug I from Ukraine

Best for:
You should have worked as a civil engineer for about two years before trying to pass this exam and be very familiar with AutoCAD.

9. Autodesk Certified Professional: Inventor for Mechanical Design Exam Prep

Autodesk Certified Professional: Inventor for Mechanical Design Exam Prep

Cost: One-time fee of $35.

There are two courses in this specialization, which are:

  1. Core Functionality of Autodesk Inventor
  2. Specialized Tools, Assemblies, and Documentation

Duration: Two weeks (15 hours of studying).

This is an exam prep course for those seeking to become an Autodesk Certified Professional: Inventor for Mechanical Design.

What certificate will you get?
Those who pass the exam will become an Autodesk Certified Professional: Inventor for Mechanical Design.

You will learn:

  • Using the Autodesk Inventor
  • Managing Files, Libraries, and Document Properties
  • Tools That Improve Work Flow
  • Assemblies, Drawings, Sheet Metal, and Welding
  • Machine Design
  • Specialized Tools

User Feedback:
“I work as an inventor and this course taught me new ways to use tools that improve my innovations.” Lance S. from Phoenix, Arizona

Best for:
You should have worked with AutoCAD for a minimum of 400 to 1,200 hours (recommended) and be very familiar with the system before trying to pass this exam.

Conclusion

Autodesk continues to improve AutoCAD for its millions of users. Professionals who work in computer aided design benefit greatly from having skills using this software and learning how to use the Autodesk Fusion 360 cloud services.

It is a wise career strategy to take online courses and to become an Autodesk Certified Professional as part of your continuing education to improve your skills. This will make your job advancements more likely. If you really want to have some state-of-the-art engineering fun, take the drone course. That is my favorite one.

My Digital Path Team/ author of the article

Members of our team have more than 25 combined years of experience in IT. They have been educators, held various positions in the IT industry, and enjoy helping students learn more about this exciting field.

Some of our team members do not have a university degree because they are self-taught. They just wanted to learn how to code, which is possible by taking certificate programs instead.

Any courses and university programs that we review already meet our high qualifications to be included in our evaluation programs so that students can have confidence in selecting from the reviewed courses and programs which are most appropriate for their career advancement.

My Digital Path
Comments: 4
  1. Peter Harwell

    Hello! I always wanted to try this software for my 3D design projects. How widely used is Autodesk software?

    1. My Digital Path Team (author)

      Hello, Peter! Thank you for your question :) Of course, you should try it! Autodesk has over 90 software products that are the defacto industry standard for product design, manufacturing, engineering, and architecture.

  2. Lucas

    Hi! As I can see, there is a team of professionals! Can someone explain, what is the difference between AutoCAD® and AutoCAD® LT?

    1. My Digital Path Team (author)

      Hi, Lucas! Yes, I can answer your question! AutoCAD® ($1,690 per year) is the full version, and AutoCAD® LT ($420 per year) has fewer features but may be sufficient depending on the projects you are doing. Here is a comparison of the two versions of AutoCAD®.

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