HomeA-Z Program Guide → Top Online Drafting And Architecture Schools

Top Drafting and Architecture Schools Online

Top Online Drafting and Architecture SchoolsThe process of turning an empty lot into a corporate campus or community park is not easy. It involves a variety of construction specialists and equipment working together for months toward a single, unified vision. However, before any ground can be broken, detailed, graphic plans must be drafted and approved by licensed structural and landscaping architects. These plans provide the detailed, visual instruction for every step of the project -- from soil topography and projected water flows, to the density of concrete to use at what part of a building.

Combining the individual information on tensile strength and plumbing codes into a visual document can be done by drafters with CADD certificates or associate degrees in drafting and design. However, the documents must be designed and approved by registered architects with degrees from some of the few accredited architectural institutions in the nation. These programs incorporate engineering, mathematics, artistic design and history with practical, hands-on experience both in the classroom and in architectural firms.


While there are distance-learning options for professional certifications and two-year associate programs in drafting, there are very few accredited and board-approved distance learning degree programs offered in the U.S. for architectural design, and the few accredited programs that do offer architecture programs through distance learning, such as the California Academy of Arts University, are usually at the master’s level and require students to have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution prior to enrollment. There is currently no distance learning program for landscape architecture.

The following schools have been ranked as the top schools to earn a degree in landscape architecture by Design Intelligence, the bi-monthly report from Design Futures Council. Compiled in 2011, rankings are determined by a number of factors, including the quality of education during courses as well as the quality of education possessed by the graduating body. Also included was the school’s contribution to the field of architecture,

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Degree Rankings:

1.  Louisiana State University
2.  Pennsylvania State University
3.  California Polytechnic University
4.  San Luis Obispo
5.  Purdue University
6.  Texas A&M University

Master of Landscape Architecture Degree Rankings:

1.  Harvard University
2.  Louisiana State University
3.  Kansas State University
4.  Cornell University
5.  University of Pennsylvania (tied)

Below are some of the Drafting and Architecture focuses available from schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com

Architectural Drafting

Drafters, specifically architectural or civil drafters, are responsible for making an architect’s drawings a possibility. Drafters analyze building codes and by-laws, as well as structural information and limitations about proposed materials to create a graphic representation of building plans and coordinate electrical and structural designs together into one, usable document. Drafters can specialize in a type of building design, such as suburban houses or apartment buildings, or avoid structural drafting all together and specialize in drafting mechanical documents.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, drafters are increasingly relying upon computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software to perform their jobs. The design software integrates information on building materials, structural designs and topographical information to visually display how elements work together in a virtual finished product. In addition to drafting and design programs, specific software assists drafters and engineers with the day-to-day operations of construction. The BLS recommends current drafters gain experience with these new systems (BLS.gov, 2012) as the software will play a larger role in the profession during the coming years.

Because of the reliance upon CADD software, many technical institutes offer software certificates or associate degrees focusing on the fundamentals of design and sketching in addition to CADD software and many of these programs can be completed through distance learning. According to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012), an associate degree program can prepare students for a position as a drafter or an apprentice drafter. Additionally, many colleges and schools do not offer bachelor’s degrees in drafting, however, they do often provide classes and degrees in engineering, mathematics and architecture which may help a student interested in drafting.

The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) reports the national median wage for a drafter employed in the field of civil or architectural drafting was $47,250 per year in May of 2011. Employment of drafters was projected to grow only up to six percent from 2010 to 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012) however, as CADD software and other drafting software lowers costs and increase productivity.

Structural Architecture

Architects do more than draw aesthetically pleasing designs for building construction, they are responsible for estimating material cost and construction time, managing construction projects and drafters while also preparing the designs for a structure that will meet or exceed building safety codes.

According to the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), all states require practicing architects to be licensed in that state and licensure usually requires a professional degree from one of the 123 architectural schools accredited by the NAAB. However, the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) notes that registration boards set their own standards and some may allow graduation from a non-accredited institution. Check with an individual state’s architectural registration board for local licensing requirements.

Also required for licensure is the three-year, on-the-job training period and continued education. The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) reports that most students receive their training as an intern during an architectural program and courses for continued education can be completed through distance learning.

According to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012), a bachelor’s degree in architecture can be completed in five years and is intended for students with no previous training in architecture. For students with experience in architecture, the 1-to-5-year master’s program is available. O*Net Online states that 68 percent of all participating architects felt that either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree was required for employment.

The Boston Architectural College offers an online Master of Architecture for students who have already earned a bachelor’s in architecture and who are currently employed as an architect, as does the Academy of Art University. The colleges also offer online certificates in sustainable design to students with the same background.

Classes in architecture may include construction methods, mathematics, and architecture theory. According to the Academy of Art, the design studio is central to all architecture programs. The studio is where students make scale, three-dimensional models of their designs or concepts to be assessed by instructors.

The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) expects employment in the architectural profession to grow by 24 percent between 2010 and 2020, with specific growth expected in green and sustainable architectural design fields. The national median salary in May of 2011 is also listed at $73,340 per year for architects and 65 percent were employed in architectural firms (BLS.gov, 2012).

Landscape Architecture

While landscape architects may plan the location of buildings, their primary focus is the arrangement of trees, pathways, roads and open spaces in a construction project. Landscape architects can also plan where to plant flowers, shrubs and trees and which kind should be planted. They design parks and corporate campuses as well as schools and wildlife restoration projects.

Just as with structural architects, licensure is required to practice as a landscape architect. Licensure is awarded upon completion of the two-part Landscape Architect Registration Examination administered by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards. Requirements for taking the exam include earning a degree from a school accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board and working one-to-four years under a licensed landscape architect.

According to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012), many states offer alternatives to the education requirement if the applicant has enough on-the-job experience.

Currently, the LAAB has accredited two bachelor programs for landscaping architecture: a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture. There is also a Master of Landscape Architecture program available for students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree.

While the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) does expect the landscape architectural employment to grow, it only expects a growth of 16 percent from 2010 to the end of 2020, slower than the expected growth of other architectural professions. The national median salary for a landscape architect is listed at $63,240 by the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) using May 2011 data.

Learn more about accredited Drafting and Architecture programs from schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com:

Because structural architects and landscape architects are required to be licensed in order to practice, generally degrees from schools that are not accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architects and NAAB cannot be used towards licensure. Verify that your school of choice is accredited by ASLA or NAAB using their search tools before enrolling. There are some exceptions for the licensure education requirements, be sure to check with your state’s board of licensing about specific exceptions. These exceptions usually require extensive work-experience.

For schools offering degrees or certificates in drafting, verify that your school has been accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, which provides a search tool for locating accredited schools.

Sources and further reading:

O*Net Online

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)

The U.S. Department of Education (USDE)

The National Architectural Accrediting Board

American Society of Landscape Architects

Design Intelligence

Online Drafting and Architecture Schools

    Searching Searching ...

    Matching School Ads
    Master of Civil Engineering Online
    • Study at a university accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.
    • Immediately apply what you’re learning to current workplace challenges
    • Experience the convenience and flexibility of online learning—access coursework 24/7
    • Take advantage of four start dates per year
    • Benefit from no required GRE/GMAT 
    • Enjoy small class sizes and students from diverse backgrounds
    • Earn your degree from a respected institution in as few as 18 months
    Show more [+]
    • Accredited
    • Online Courses
    • Financial Aid
    • Transferable Credits
    Master Of Science in Systems Engineering
    • Online MBA program ranked 6th in the USA by CEO magazine.
    • In a university-sponsored survey, 4 out of 5 alumni reported being satisfied with their experience.
    • #1 Online School for military veterans according to Military Times.
    • 75,000+ graduates across all industries offer extensive networking opportunities.
    • My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.) lets students watch, view, read, or hear content.
    • Smartphone app available for on-the-go learning.
    • Online Courses
    • Flexible Scheduling
    • Accelerated Programs
    • Financial Aid
    • Transferable Credits
    BS in Aeronautics
    • Liberty University’s online programs ranked in the top 10 out of more than 2,100 colleges & universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility.*
    • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.**
    • Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program.
    • Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help you get the most out of your hard work and maximize the credit you previously earned.
    Show more [+]
    • Accredited
    • Online Courses
    • Financial Aid
    • Transferable Credits
    M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management
    • Ready to earn your business degree? If you identify with at least one of the statements below, GCU could be a good fit for you!
    • I have worked in the business field for a number of years and want to further my education in order to qualify for promotions, leadership positions, and salary increases.
    • I am graduating from high school and am interested in pursuing a career in a business field, but I first need the skills experience.
    • I am interested in a Bachelor's, Master's or Doctoral degree in my specialized business area of focus.
    • I want flexible course offerings, such as the option of 100% online, evening or campus classes.
    • I need a university that provides quality educational offerings through academic excellence and real-world relevance. Does this sound like you? Apply today!
    • Accredited
    • Online Courses
    • Flexible Scheduling
    • Accelerated Programs
    • Financial Aid
    • Transferable Credits
    MS Organizational Leadership - Project Management
    • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
    • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
    • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
    • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
    • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
    • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
    Show more [+]
    • Online Courses
    • Financial Aid
    • Transferable Credits
    Graduate Certificate in Project Monitoring and Evaluation

    Change the World with American University

    Be a part of something bigger than yourself. At American University, we strive to help you develop your professional interests and indulge in your passion for making a difference. Our online degree programs allow you to gain the advanced skills for active leadership in a variety of fields.

    Set Yourself Apart at American University

    At American University, our smart, passionate and engaged students and faculty focus their knowledge to create meaningful change. Our strengths in international service and public affairs inspire our sense of social responsibility and a dedication to cultural and intellectual diversity. We're defined by our global perspective, practical idealism and a dedication to public service.

    • Online Courses
    Master of Science in Project Management

    Saint Mary's University of Minnesota's Online Master's Programs

    At Saint Mary's, we take pride in offering online graduate degrees designed to complement the schedules of working adults like you. Get an affordable, convenient education from a top-ranked university that's grounded in real-world applications.

    Saint Mary's University's long history of innovation in education continues with the launch of our new iPad® application, allowing for learning on the go. Our commitment to our Lasallian Catholic tradition of continuous learning, ethics and advancing the common good also endures.

    • Online Courses