TNCC drafter drawing exam hopefuls from far and wide

Published: February 23, 2009

The Daily Press

Instructors for computer-aided drafting, which is technical drawing, have been gravitating from around the state to Thomas Nelson Community College for assistance.

Tom Pringle, computer-aided drafting and design program head at TNCC, recently became the only instructor in Virginia qualified to teach preparation courses for two prestigious certification exams.

In January, Pringle passed the associate and professional Autodesk Certification exams for AutoCAD 2009 and Inventor 2009, which are drafting, modeling and digital prototyping software applications.

TNCC became an official Autodesk certified testing center in December, and Pringle hopes to use his certification to help other instructors offer the prep course to their students. He is now set up to proctor the test in Virginia.

“You can get the test almost anywhere, but to take the prep course for the exam, you have to get it through somebody that’s qualified or already certified,” Pringle said. “There’s not a whole lot of people in the area that are certified. Last I looked, I was the only one in Virginia, but hopefully that number will start going up.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists a two-year degree and extensive experience with computer-aided drafting technology as the best qualifications for professional drafters to be most marketable, with growth in the industry expected to be the greatest in architectural, mechanical and civil drafting.

Pringle taught the first test prep course in January, to 13 instructors from high schools, technical centers and community colleges in Virginia. They traveled from as far away as Blacksburg and Richmond.

Although he enjoys helping other instructors prepare for the exam, Pringle is more jazzed about teaching the prep course to TNCC students. Those who become certified in Autodesk are entered into a national database available to employers searching for potential workers in their local areas.

“If we can start getting the students certified, that’s a really good thing on the resume,” he said. “The Autodesk test is very respected by industry, so it’s much better for the students.”

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