WILLMAR — Ridgewater College’s Computer-Aided Drafting and Design program has been ranked third in the nation by an organization that reviews post-secondary institutions.

Alexandria Technical and Community College placed fifth in the national ranking from www.BestValueSchools.org.

According to a release from Ridgewater, Best Value Schools reviews post-secondary institution academics, student life, options and student opinions, then compares that with cost and earning outlook data. Its goal is to give prospective students comparisons of programs based on quality and affordability.

“When our Computer-Aided Drafting and Design program went online in 2009, our faculty did so with student flexibility and accessibility in mind,” Ridgewater Dean of Instruction Matt Feuerborn said in the release. Ridgewater has campuses in Hutchinson and Willmar.

Instructors Stacey Nass and Dave Moen “continue to innovate and improve the experience for students of all backgrounds,” Feuerborn said. “Online delivery helped remove both location and time barriers.”

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Students in the Ridgewater CADD program may earn a 29-credit certificate, a 64-credit diploma or a 67-credit Associate of Arts degree. Students learn AutoCAD, Inventor, Solidworks, Creo Parametric, and MasterCAM.

About half the program’s 87 students are from Minnesota. One is from Ecuador.

Columbus State Community College in Ohio was ranked first, and Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Murfreesboro was second. Also part of Minnesota State, Alexandria Technical and Community College placed fifth.

For more information about Ridgewater College’s CADD program, go to www.ridgewater.edu/cadd. To learn more about the recognition, go to www.BestValueColleges.org .