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Top 11 Civil Drafter Certifications

This article will provide an overview of the top certifications for civil drafters, including requirements, benefits, and examples of certified professionals.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications for civil drafters are important in the job market because they demonstrate a level of expertise, competency and knowledge that employers look for when hiring. Certifications prove that an individual has the necessary skills to perform specific tasks and show potential employers that they have invested time and effort into developing their professional abilities. They also provide recognition from respected institutions, which can be a great asset in the job market. Furthermore, certifications can help civil drafters stand out among other applicants and boost their credentials when applying for jobs.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for Civil Drafters and explains how they can help a civil drafter advance their career.

What are Civil Drafter Certifications?

Civil drafter certification is a professional credential that recognizes an individual's expertise in the field of civil engineering drafting. This certification is offered by various organizations, including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). The certification serves to validate an individual’s knowledge and skills related to civil engineering drafting, as well as demonstrate their commitment to the profession.

The certification can provide a number of benefits to those who pursue it. It can help individuals stand out from their peers when applying for jobs or promotions, as employers are often interested in hiring individuals with specialized training and expertise. Certification may also make it easier for drafters to keep up with changes in technology and trends within the industry. Additionally, obtaining certification may open up opportunities for continuing education programs or additional certifications that can further enhance career prospects. Finally, having a professional credential may improve job security since employers are more likely to retain qualified personnel in times of economic uncertainty.

Pro Tip: Obtain certifications in AutoCAD and Revit software to increase your marketability as a civil drafter. Even if you have years of experience, having the right certification can open up more job opportunities and higher salaries.

Related: What does a Civil Drafter do?

Top 11 Civil Drafter Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Civil Drafters today.

1. Certified Civil Drafter (CCD)

Certified Civil Drafter (CCD) is a professional certification program offered by the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA). It is designed to recognize and validate the expertise of drafters in civil engineering and related disciplines. The CCD certification is intended for those who have demonstrated a high level of knowledge, skill, and experience in the field of civil engineering drafting.

The CCD certification requires applicants to pass an exam that covers topics such as design principles, drafting techniques, construction materials, CAD software, surveying methods, and other related topics. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and typically takes about two hours to complete. Applicants must also submit a portfolio demonstrating their work experience in the field.

To be eligible for the CCD certification, applicants must have at least three years of experience in civil engineering drafting or related fields. They must also have completed at least 30 semester hours of college-level coursework in drafting or related fields.

The cost for the CCD exam varies depending on where you take it; fees typically range from $150-$300 USD. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with submitting your portfolio or taking additional courses to meet eligibility requirements.

2. Certified Professional Civil Drafter (CPCD)

Certified Professional Civil Drafter (CPCD) is a professional certification program offered by the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA). It is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of expertise in civil drafting. The certification requires that applicants demonstrate their knowledge and proficiency in the areas of civil drafting, including building design, site planning, surveying and mapping, construction documents, and other related topics.

In order to become certified as a CPCD, applicants must successfully pass an examination administered by ADDA. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as drafting techniques, materials selection, project management, and legal considerations. Applicants must also submit proof of at least two years of experience in civil drafting or related fields.

The process typically takes about three months from start to finish. During this time, applicants must complete the application form and submit all necessary documentation for review. Once approved for the exam, applicants will be sent an examination fee invoice which must be paid before they can take the test.

The cost of becoming certified as a CPCD varies depending on the applicant’s location and the type of materials used during the exam process. Generally speaking, it costs around $500-$600 to become certified as a CPCD.

3. Professional Land Surveyor (PLS)

A Professional Land Surveyor (PLS) is a licensed professional who is responsible for providing accurate measurements of land and other features on the earth's surface. The PLS must have knowledge of boundary law, topography, geodesy, engineering principles, and construction methods in order to accurately survey land.

In order to become a PLS, an individual must first obtain a bachelor's degree in surveying or related field from an accredited university or college. After completing their degree, individuals must then pass the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Fundamentals of Surveying Exam as well as the Principles and Practice of Surveying Exam. Depending on the state, there may also be additional requirements such as passing a state-specific exam or completing continuing education courses.

The cost of becoming a PLS varies depending on the state but typically includes fees associated with taking the NCEES exams as well as any additional state-specific exams or courses required. In addition to these costs, individuals should also factor in any tuition fees associated with obtaining their bachelor's degree in surveying or related field.

Once all requirements are met and an individual has obtained their license they can begin practicing professionally as a PLS. Depending on the amount of time spent studying and preparing for exams, it can take anywhere from two to five years to become a licensed PLS.

4. Certified Building Designer (CBD)

Certified Building Designer (CBD) is a professional certification for individuals who have demonstrated their knowledge and expertise in building design. The certification is offered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

To become certified, applicants must meet certain educational requirements, complete an approved training program, and pass a comprehensive examination. The educational requirements vary by state, but typically include a bachelor's degree in architecture or engineering and at least two years of professional experience in building design.

The training program consists of three parts: an online course on building codes and regulations; an online course on construction materials and methods; and a hands-on workshop. Upon completion of the program, applicants are eligible to take the CBD exam.

The exam consists of four parts: Fundamentals of Building Design, Building Codes & Regulations, Construction Materials & Methods, and Professional Practice & Ethics. Applicants must pass all four sections to be certified as a CBD.

The cost for the entire certification process varies depending on the state you live in. Generally speaking, it will cost between $500-$1000 for the application fee, training program fees, exam fees, and any other associated costs.

It typically takes about six months from start to finish to become certified as a CBD. This includes completing the required education courses and passing the exam.

5. Autodesk Certified User in AutoCAD Civil 3D

Autodesk Certified User in AutoCAD Civil 3D is a certification program from Autodesk that validates an individual’s technical skills and knowledge of the software. It is designed for civil engineers, surveyors, and other professionals who use AutoCAD Civil 3D to create and manage civil engineering projects.

The certification can be obtained by taking an online assessment. The assessment consists of multiple-choice questions on topics such as creating drawings, working with objects, editing styles, and creating surfaces. The exam takes approximately two hours to complete and covers the basic features of AutoCAD Civil 3D.

To receive the certification, you must pass the online assessment with a score of 80% or higher. Once you have passed the assessment, you will receive an Autodesk Certified User certificate in AutoCAD Civil 3D that is valid for three years. You can renew your certification after three years by taking the same online assessment again.

The cost of taking the Autodesk Certified User in AutoCAD Civil 3D exam varies depending on where you take it. Generally speaking, it costs around $100 USD to take the exam at a testing center or through an approved training provider.

6. Autodesk Certified Professional in AutoCAD Civil 3D

Autodesk Certified Professional in AutoCAD Civil 3D is a certification program designed to recognize professionals who have demonstrated proficiency in the use of Autodesk's AutoCAD Civil 3D software. This certification is available to users who have completed the necessary training and passed an exam.

The certification process typically takes around 8 weeks, depending on the individual's experience level and availability for studying and taking the exam. To become certified, individuals must complete a series of online courses, as well as attend an in-person or virtual instructor-led course. After completing these courses, they must pass a proctored exam that tests their knowledge of AutoCAD Civil 3D features and functions.

The cost of becoming an Autodesk Certified Professional in AutoCAD Civil 3D varies depending on the type of training chosen (in-person or virtual). The cost can range from $500 to $2,000 USD.

7. Bentley Certified Professional in MicroStation

Bentley Certified Professional in MicroStation is a certification program designed to recognize and validate the skills of experienced MicroStation professionals. It provides an opportunity for individuals to demonstrate their expertise in the use of Bentley’s powerful 3D design software. The certification is offered by Bentley Systems, Inc., a leading provider of engineering software solutions.

The Bentley Certified Professional in MicroStation program requires candidates to pass a series of exams that cover topics such as basic concepts, advanced features, and best practices for working with the software. Candidates must also demonstrate proficiency in creating drawings, manipulating data, and using the various tools available in MicroStation.

The certification process typically takes between three and six months to complete, depending on how quickly the candidate can learn and master the required material. To become certified, candidates must first register with Bentley Systems and pay a fee of $495 USD. After registering, they will receive access to study materials and practice tests which they can use to prepare for the certification exams. Once they have successfully passed all of the exams, they will be officially certified as a Bentley Certified Professional in MicroStation.

8. Autodesk Certified Professional in Revit Structure

Autodesk Certified Professional in Revit Structure is a certification program offered by Autodesk, the leading provider of 3D design software. This certification is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated proficiency in using Autodesk Revit Structure software to create accurate and detailed building models.

To become an Autodesk Certified Professional in Revit Structure, you must pass the Autodesk Revit Structure Certification Exam. The exam covers topics such as creating and modifying structural elements, working with structural views, creating construction documents, and understanding project standards and best practices. The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately two hours to complete.

To get started on the path to becoming an Autodesk Certified Professional in Revit Structure, you will need to purchase a voucher from Autodesk for $200 USD. Once you have purchased your voucher, you can register for the exam at Prometric Testing Centers or online through Pearson VUE. After registering for the exam, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to schedule your test date and time.

Once you have completed the exam, your results will be sent directly to Autodesk within 24 hours. If you pass the exam, you will receive an email from Autodesk confirming that you are now an Autodesk Certified Professional in Revit Structure.

The cost of becoming an Autodesk Certified Professional in Revit Structure is $200 USD for the voucher plus any applicable taxes or fees associated with taking the exam at a Prometric Testing Center or online through Pearson VUE.

9. Autodesk Certified User in Revit Structure

Autodesk Certified User in Revit Structure is a certification program that demonstrates an individual’s proficiency in using Autodesk Revit Structure software. It is designed to help employers and educational institutions validate the skills of entry-level users, as well as recognize the achievements of those who are currently using Revit Structure.

To become certified, individuals must pass the Autodesk Certified User Exam for Revit Structure. This exam tests knowledge of basic concepts and features of Revit Structure, including navigation, project setup, modeling, views and sheets, families and annotation.

The exam typically takes about two hours to complete and can be taken at any authorized Autodesk Certification Center or online via the Autodesk Learning Portal. The cost of the exam varies depending on where it is taken but typically ranges from $100 - $200 USD.

10. National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) certification

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) is a non-profit organization that provides certification to engineers and surveyors in the United States. It is composed of engineering and surveying licensing boards from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

To become certified by NCEES, an engineer or surveyor must meet certain educational requirements and pass two exams: the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam and the Principles & Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. The FE exam is typically taken after completing a four-year engineering degree program or its equivalent. The PE exam is typically taken after several years of professional experience in the field.

The process to become certified by NCEES can take up to several years depending on an individual’s educational background, experience level, and other factors. After completing the educational requirements and passing both exams, applicants must submit their application for certification to their state board for review.

The cost to become certified by NCEES varies depending on which exams are taken as well as any additional fees required by one’s state board. Generally speaking, applicants should expect to pay around $400-$500 for each exam plus any applicable fees charged by their state board.

11. American Institute of Architects (AIA) certification

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is a professional organization for architects in the United States. AIA certification is an optional credential that demonstrates a commitment to excellence and ethical practice in the field of architecture.

In order to become certified, an architect must first meet certain educational requirements and have at least seven years of experience in the field. Once these criteria are met, they must then pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). This exam covers topics such as building design and construction, environmental planning, and professional practice. The ARE consists of nine divisions that must be completed within six months.

Once the ARE is passed, an architect can apply for AIA certification by submitting their application along with proof of passing the exam and other required documents. The application process typically takes around four weeks to complete.

The cost of AIA certification varies depending on which type of membership you choose. For example, an individual membership costs $225 per year while a firm membership costs $1,000 per year. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with taking the ARE exam or submitting your application for certification.

Do You Really Need a Civil Drafter Certificate?

The short answer to this question is no, you do not need a civil drafter certificate in order to pursue a career as a civil drafter. However, having one can be beneficial in many ways. A civil drafter certificate can help demonstrate your knowledge and skill level of the field to potential employers, set you apart from other applicants, and may even qualify you for higher pay or more job opportunities.

Civil drafting is an important part of engineering and construction projects, as it involves creating detailed drawings and technical specifications for structures such as roads, bridges, buildings, and other infrastructure. This requires a great deal of knowledge about drafting techniques and related software. A civil drafter certificate can provide proof that you have gained the necessary skills to work in this field.

In addition to certifying your knowledge of the profession, having a civil drafter certificate can also provide access to additional resources such as industry contacts and networking events. This could lead to better job opportunities or even career advancement. Furthermore, some employers may require certification before they will hire someone for certain positions or roles in their organization.

Overall, while having a civil drafter certificate isn’t absolutely necessary when looking for employment in this field, it can be extremely helpful in terms of furthering your career prospects and increasing your earning potential.

Related: Civil Drafter Resume Examples

FAQs About Civil Drafter Certifications

1. What is a Civil Drafter Certification?

Answer: A Civil Drafter Certification is a credential earned by individuals who demonstrate their skill in using specialized software to create computer-aided design (CAD) drawings for civil engineering projects.

2. What are the requirements for obtaining a Civil Drafter Certification?

Answer: Requirements vary depending on the certifying organization, but generally include passing an exam and completing a certain amount of coursework or practical experience.

3. How long does it take to obtain a Civil Drafter Certification?

Answer: The length of time required to obtain certification varies depending on the certifying organization and the individual’s level of experience and education. Generally, it takes anywhere from six months to one year to complete all necessary requirements.

4. Are there any continuing education requirements for maintaining a Civil Drafter Certification?

Answer: Yes, most certifying organizations require individuals to complete continuing education courses or other activities in order to maintain their certification status.

5. Is there an age limit for obtaining a Civil Drafter Certification?

Answer: No, there is no age limit for obtaining certification; however, some certifying organizations may have specific educational requirements or experience levels that must be met before taking the certification exam.