Architectural Commercial Design

Architecture student sitting at a computer working with a drafting software

Architectural Commercial Design

Unique in the State

Associate Degree

63 Credits | 2 Years

Financial Aid-Eligible

Ashland**, New Richmond*, Rice Lake*, Superior**

*Combination of On Site and Online Live instruction

**Available through Online Live instruction

Career Cluster: Architecture & Construction

Architectural drafters work in a variety of places: architectural and engineering offices, design/build companies, manufacturing firms, as well as lumber yards. Understanding building construction and how to create sets of drawings, or blueprints, is at the heart of a successful career in any of these industries. The Architectural Commercial Design program will help you get started. 

Program Overview

Architecture is a combination of art, science and communication. The Architectural Commercial Design program emphasizes the science of construction knowledge and communicating that knowledge in drawings through an efficient use of building information modeling (BIM) and computer-aided design (CAD) programs. 

Employers are impressed with Northwood Tech graduates' understanding of the entire building process, building connection details and programs like Revit and AutoCAD. 

Program Outcomes

Architectural Commercial Design graduates will be able to:

  • Develop construction documents
  • Evaluate building materials
  • Develop building designs
  • Integrate building systems
  • Use computer-aided drafting, building information modeling and architectural-related software
  • Utilize office practices and standards 
  • Utilize the Enrolled Wisconsin Commercial Building Code incorporating the International Building Code

Get a practical, hands-on approach to architecture that will prepare you with the skills that employers are seeking. 

Hands on image of students working with building materials and measuring

Learn by doing. 

Two students working together looking at a blueprint

Great starting salary. 

A student using architectural design software

Use current technology. 


The Architectural Commercial Design program is unique in Wisconsin, meaning there is no other program like it in the state. The classes prepare you to translate ideas, rough sketches, specifications and calculations of engineers, architects and designers into commercial and residential working drawings. It emphasizes construction techniques and materials used in commercial building design. 

Become an Architect

With just five years of work experience and successful completion of the Architect Registration Examination®, you could become a licensed architect in Wisconsin. 

Flexible Learning Options

The deliver mode is as flexible as your location. 

Club Activities

You can participate in the Architecture Club. The Architecture Club can provide you with the opportunity to network and learn with architects, attend meetings, virtual lunch and learns, and more. 


The courses in the Architectural Commercial Design program are designed to incrementally increase students' knowledge in construction, CAD/BIM and building systems with a hands-on approach. 

The first year of the program includes classes that introduce wood-frame construction, CAD/BIM programs and drafting, as well as plumbing, electrical and HVAC. The second year of the program, classes cover commercial construction, estimating, structures, as well as more advanced drafting. By the last semester, students in the Architectural Drafting Studio class are working in teams for non-profit clients and creating and presenting design solutions.

Explore the Curriculum

Featured Architectural Commercial Design courses

| 3 CR
This course introduces the student to the materials and methods used in wood frame construction. It familiarizes students with components of modern construction for the purpose of selecting the materials best suited to various construction jobs.
| 4 CR
This course introduces graphic representation in construction. It covers the fundamentals of drafting including line work, lettering, measuring, sketching, projections, and pictorial drawings. Students will use the aforementioned fundamentals to complete a set of drawings for a residence. COREQUISITES: 10614170 Architectural Materials and Methods 1 and 10614176 Architectural Technology 1.
| 3 CR
The course focuses on the fundamental design issues of the building site with an introduction to land surveying and topography, land planning and zoning, and environmental regulations. The lab portion of the course provides an opportunity to develop site analysis and design skills through the development of an architectural commercial site design project. PREREQUISITE: 10614176 Architectural Technology 1.

Architectural Commercial Design is Part of a Career Pathway

As an Architectural Commercial Design student at Northwood Tech, you can earn credentials each step of the way! 

Download Career Pathway map

You could take this first and get a credential. 

Technical Diploma
26 Credits / 1 Year
Potential Careers
CAD Technician, CAD Designer
Arrow pointing down

Continue your education to obtain a associate degree. 

Associate Degree
63 Credits / 2 Years
Potential Careers
CAD Drafter, Project Manager, Store Planner, Technical Coordinator, Design Technician, CAD Technician
Range of Yearly Salary
Insufficient data to report
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Obtain a bachelor's degree through Northwood Tech's transfer opportunities.  

Admissions and Tuition

Northwood Tech has a simple admission process that can be completed in one visit. To start the process, simply fill out an application form along with a $30 application fee. After you’ve successfully submitted your application, your next step is to schedule an admissions meeting with a Northwood Tech counselor to discuss your goals and expectations. That’s it! 

Tuition and Fees

Northwood Tech breaks down the cost of education, so you'll have a good idea of how much your education will cost. 

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to help you pay for your education. It can come in the form of grants, loans, federal work study, military and veterans benefits, division of vocational rehabilitation benefits and scholarships. 

Learn More About Paying for College

Estimated Total Program Costs 2021-22*

Architectural Commercial Design 

63 Credits | 2 Years


*Tuition is an estimate and does not include any miscellaneous fees for various courses, tools, books, supplies or uniforms. Program book costs are in addition to tuition and fees and vary depending on course selection and where the books are purchased or rented. 

After the Northwood Tech Architectural Commercial Design program

Architectural drafters are in high demand. Northwood Tech's graduates have no problems finding employment; in fact, they are often faced with the difficult decision of choosing between several job offers. 

The first job a graduate takes is usually as a CAD technician, BIM technician or architectural technician. Graduates work in many different areas such as architectural and engineering offices, design/build companies, manufacturing firms, as well as lumber yards. 

Though there are many career options, in an architectural office graduates start their careers by working closely with a team of architects and engineers to design buildings by creating construction documents, or blueprints. After working for a few years, graduates can become project managers where they are able to design projects more independently. In some cases, this happens much earlier. About five percent of Northwood Tech's graduates go on to become licensed architects. 

Student studying at a computer

Transfer Options

Transfer your Northwood Tech credits to a four-year college in Wisconsin to obtain your bachelor's degree and beyond.

View Transfer Options

Career Outlooks

Northwood Tech's graduates experience success. Learn more about the types of careers you can get after graduation. 

View Career Options

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Choose a campus to view contact information, or for general assistance, please contact us.

Rice Lake Admissions Contact

Tia Dietz

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 5220


Ashland Admissions Contact

Jennifer Bednarik

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 3195


New Richmond Admissions Contact

Jodi Saliny

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 4339


Superior Admissions Contact

Mary Glad

Admissions Advisor

800.243.9482 ext. 6243


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Are you ready to experience success? Northwood Tech staff are standing by to support you in reaching your educational and career goals, so do it. Take the leap.