Prototype & Design Associate Degree

Prototype students work on a model together

Program Code: 106142

As a graduate of the Prototype and Design program, you will be skilled in 3D printing or Additive Manufacturing, hand fabrication, high quality painting and finishing, 3D drawing software, CNC machining, and RTV model making. You can build a variety of three-dimensional prototypes and models for use in manufacturing, consumer products, and other fields of product development. You will also be able to construct three-dimensional models for use in props, architectural design, and mechanical design. Your skills will emphasize problem solving and critical thinking across all aspects from design to model completion. Career opportunities include product development, prototype model builder, engineering design, architectural model builder, RTV mold maker, rapid prototype technician, and pattern maker.

Employment Potential

A graduate of this program will have the potential for employment in the following areas:

  • Product Development: develops and designs new products through the use of prototypes.
  • Prototype Model Builder: provides research and development on new products, works with molding, and makes models for all types of industries, such as toy and automobile manufacturers, so that the prototype will look like the finished product before production begins.
  • Engineering Design: translates engineering data and vendor information into scale prototypes or CAD models for use with Rapid Prototyping Processes. Usually employed in design and development of new products or systems.
  • Architectural Model Builder: translates, to scale, all architectural drawings using plot plans, elevations, sections, and details to construct three dimensional models using a wide variety of materials and processes.
  • Rapid Prototype Technician: Creates models with the use of rapid prototype technologies.
  • Pattern and Mold Maker: fabricates wood, plastic, or metal patterns and molds for casting parts.

With additional education and/or work experience, graduates may find other opportunities for employment.

  • Mechanical Prototype Designer
  • Model Shop Supervisor
  • Computer Numerical Control Machinery Programmer/Operator
  • Rapid Prototyping Operator
  • Architectural Designer/Model Builder
  • Freelance Model Builder

Requirements for Program Entry

  • Completed application.
  • High school transcript or equivalent. (For a list of equivalents, go to
  • High school background in mathematics and science.
  • High school algebra or equivalent.
  • To be admitted to this program, learners must achieve a prior cumulative high school or college grade point average of 2.6 or higher OR a satisfactory academic skills assessment score. College grade point average must be based on 15 credits or more. To learn more about starting this program, please contact an academic advisor at (920) 498-5444 or (888) 385-6982.
  • Familiar with Microsoft Word and File Management.
Curriculum: Students following the study plan below will compete the Prototype and Design Technician associate degree in the number of semesters shown.
First Semester
Semester Total
Second Semester
Semester Total
Third Semester
Semester Total
Fourth Semester
Semester Total
Total Credits

Curriculum Note: The credit for 10-890-101, College 101 is an institutional Requirement for graduation. Consequently, it is not part of the program requirements, but must be passed with a C or better.

It is acceptable for students to take 10-804-118, Interm Algebra w Apps and 10-804-196, Trigonometry w Apps as alternatives to 10-804-113, College Technical Math 1A and 10-804-114, College Technical Math 1B.

If a student is considering pursuing a 4-year degree, Intermediate Algebra w/Apps, 10-804-118, should be taken in place of 10-804-113, College Tech Math 1A and 10-804-196, Trigonometry w/Apps should be taken in place of 10-804-114, College Tech Math 1B.

Program Outcomes

  • Develop planning strategies necessary to translate two-dimensional information into a three- dimensional prototype.
  • Use critical thinking and problem solving techniques in the construction of a prototype.
  • Create a variety of computer aided drawings using AutoCAD and SolidWorks.
  • Create programs to be used on CNC (computer numerical control) milling machines using Surf CAM software.
  • Construct 3D models using a variety of rapid prototyping processes.
  • Produce highly detailed and accurate parts using the laser machining center.
  • Fabricate silicone rubber molds and rigid molds suitable for casting.
  • Build patterns and molds to be used for vacuum forming.
  • Create jigs and fixtures necessary for special machining operations.
  • Select and apply a variety of industrial finishes on various materials.
  • Effectively estimate the time and cost to design and fabricate a prototype.
  • Manage computer files and utilize a variety of technically related software.
  • Work efficiently as a part of a team, or independently.
  • Safely operate all hand tools, metalworking, and woodworking equipment typically used in a professional model shop.
  • Effectively select appropriate materials and adhesives and understand their properties.
  • Use proper sanding and finishing techniques on various materials.
  • Understand various design and engineering processes as they relate to the Prototype & Design Industry.

Start here. Finish at a four-year.

NWTC transfer programs are offered through collaborative agreements with our four-year college and university partners. See where your associate degree credits will transfer >> EXCLUDEEND



The Prototype & Design Technology program at NWTC is accredited by the APMM, Association of Profession Modelmakers.

Study Abroad Opportunities

The International Programs staff continually seeks opportunities for students to travel abroad for educational experiences that may be offered in association with program courses. To find out more about which of your program courses may offer an opportunity during this academic year, contact your academic advisor or visit

Defy expectations and follow your passion

Dream jobs have nothing to do with gender. Discover the benefits of nontraditional occupations.