Mike Freeman

AutoCAD is the world’s leading software for computer-aided design (CAD). Many industries around the world use AutoCAD because it includes so many different kinds of design tools. The disadvantage to its seemingly endless capabilities, though, is that AutoCAD users become intimidated by the huge amount of options and commands. To many beginners, AutoCAD can seem too complex and too difficult to learn. It’s well worth persevering, however, as once you learn to use this software, you will have a valuable skill that is highly sought after in many industries worldwide.

AutoCAD Complete Course

Last Updated May 2023

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AutoCAD software is powerful, but it is important to remember that most people use only a few of the available commands. The exact commands and functions they might use depends on the industry they work in. Outside of this small group of everyday commands, most users rarely use the other commands and functions in AutoCAD. 

The main functions in AutoCAD include a lot of commands and tools. These tools are essential for editing objects. Imagine that AutoCAD is a workshop filled with a mechanic’s tools. There may be a whole tool chest or cupboard in the workshop with hundreds of specialist tools available if needed for a specific job. However, most of the time, the mechanic will carry a smaller bag or tool belt that contains a few essential everyday tools such as wrenches and screwdrivers.

Learning AutoCAD

Many people who learn to use AutoCAD learn it while they are working on the project. This is how they get hands-on experience with AutoCAD. But people who teach themselves AutoCAD this way will only learn the basic software skills they need to get the job done. The problem with this is that they may never know if there is a tool that can help them work more quickly and efficiently. To properly learn AutoCAD, it is important to know the lesser-used tools because they can help complete tasks more efficiently. In other words, if AutoCAD is a mechanic’s workshop, it helps to know when to put down the screwdriver and pick up that special tool in the cupboard.

Taking a structured course is one way you can learn to use AutoCAD better. A structured course will start with how to install the software. Then it will guide you through the main commands. In addition, you’ll also learn about some of AutoCAD’s less-used tools. The course will explain what they are for and when to use them. However, it is important that the teacher of a structured course has extensive industry experience and knows how to use AutoCAD really well.

Since so many AutoCAD users are self-taught or learn on the job, it’s difficult for companies to determine someone’s level of AutoCAD knowledge. A user who seems to be proficient in AutoCAD may only know the basic commands or functions. They may not even know how to use the best available functions to make work easier.

This is where Autodesk certification comes in. Autodesk is the company that releases AutoCAD. The Autodesk Certified User certifications (ACU certifications) are an ideal way to measure how well a user knows AutoCAD.

Preparing for the AutoCAD certification exam

With so many possible ways to learn AutoCAD, it is essential to have some kind of curriculum to follow to make sure a user has the full breadth of knowledge required in today’s work environment. To solve this problem, Autodesk created its certification programs, which are available for AutoCAD and all the main Autodesk software applications.

This certification centers around an exam rather than a complete course of training. Users can study for the exam, however, and wherever they wish. Then, they attend a certified training center to take the exam. Online training is becoming more and more popular, and the certification process even allows users to take an Autodesk online prep course. Users take the exam once they feel ready. You can download the complete list of exam objectives from the Autodesk website. Knowing the objectives helps with studying the correct topics. There are practice exercises and practice tests, too. This exam prep is invaluable when preparing for the certification exam.

The list of topics outlined by AutoCAD is extensive, and users must show a thorough knowledge of AutoCAD to pass the exam. In addition to testing knowledge of the basic tools, the exam tests knowledge of the lesser-used commands and workflows. Passing the Autodesk certification exams indicates a good working knowledge of the software. Acing the test also serves as a good indicator to any future employer or coworker that one has a wide range of skills in AutoCAD.

Autodesk certification levels

Autodesk offers many forms of certification for the various types of CAD software the company provides. The ACU certification is split into three distinct levels of proficiency.

The first level is Autodesk Certified Associate. This is the first level on the certification ladder and tests for the essential knowledge and skills required to enter the workforce as a CAD user. Approximately 150 hours of experience is required prior to taking this exam.

The next level is the Autodesk Certified Professional. This certification is a good fit for those with higher-level skills and workflows with the ability to solve more complex problems. The certification helps users stand out in the job market and requires between 400 to 1200 hours of relevant experience.

The highest level is Autodesk Certified Expert. This certification is focused on leadership and is for users with in-depth knowledge not just of using the software, but of setting up and managing multiple users in the work environment. The exam focuses more on the creation of a working environment and the use of CAD standards to create a uniform standard in the workplace. This level of certification indicates a holder is capable of holding a CAD management role and requires between many years of experience as well as the commitment to mastering new skills.

The certification process

The Autodesk certification exams involve more than just a simple exercise. In order to pass the exams, you will need not only practical experience but also familiarity with all the topics in the curriculum. Most experienced CAD users spend the majority of their time working in a way that befits their industry. This means that some of the topics of the certification exam may include commands and functions that even seasoned professionals rarely use. In other words, even experienced AutoCAD users need to study carefully if they want to pass an Autodesk certification exam.

The certification exam is done by various methods depending on location, and recently, online testing has become available as well as the traditional testing center. The online testing is done under strict controls, which require an app to download to your workstation. Exam invigilators can then monitor for any other applications open or internet use during the exam. You will also be required to have a camera and microphone turned on and to show your surroundings and workspace to the invigilator who will be watching live during the testing. 

Once you have passed the exam and achieved your desired certification, you will receive a badge from Autodesk, which you can then display on your CV, website, and social media pages, such as your LinkedIn profile. This will serve as a good way to let people know you have achieved a certain level of certification and make you stand out from the crowd to potential employers.

Why become Autodesk certified?

Certification also helps to showcase your skills as a self-employed individual or small business. Maybe you offer services in Construction, Interior design, or Real estate. Being Autodesk certified allows you to display the relevant badge on your website and promotional material. This can enable you to stand out as a competent professional in your trade and show potential clients that you have reached a certain level of professional certification.
To conclude, Autodesk certification is well worth looking into if you ever need to sell your services. Certification includes the use of any Autodesk software. Being certified also gives you the knowledge to help make informed decisions on any future software purchase decisions such as AutoCAD vs Solidworks.

Page Last Updated: May 2021

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