Computer-aided design (CAD) could be a good choice if you are a detail-oriented person and enjoy working in software design. You can save money on a four-year college education and start making a decent salary quickly.
Many high school students must realize they can have a successful career after graduation.
This article will explain how to get started in CAD, the average salary for typical CAD jobs, and more. An infographic has been created that shows exactly what you should do to get a job as a CAD engineer without having to have a four-year degree.
What is a CAD Drafter? CAD drafters convert designs from engineers and architects into technical drawings using computer-aided design software. These technical drawings can then be used to create structures and make products. These drawings provide detailed information about dimensions, codes, and production methods.
Many times, CAD drafters select one of these specialties.
Architectural drafters create structural designs for new buildings. They specify building type, materials, and other structural features.
Civil drafters create topographical maps of infrastructure projects such as bridges, highways, and flood-control projects.
The designs are created by mechanical drafters who indicate dimensions, fastening methods, and other machine and mechanical assembly requirements.
Electrical drafters create the wiring diagrams. Construction workers can use them to repair and install electrical equipment in power plants, residential and commercial buildings, and electrical distribution systems.
Electronics drafters create wiring and assembly diagrams for circuit boards and layout drawings used in manufacturing, repairing, or installing electronic devices.
As a CAD drafter, you will typically work full-time in an office. While you might need to travel onsite to do a job, most of your time will be spent in an office creating designs, adjusting designs, and responding to feedback.
How can I become a CAD drafter?
To become drafter, there are two main CAD career paths. You will need to finish high school or obtain your GED to get started. It is also helpful if you have taken higher-level math, science, engineering, and science classes. Many CAD drafters pursue a two-year associate’s program at a technical or community college. Coursework includes math, science, and design. It’s also a good idea to get a software certification or a professional credential like the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA).
Drafters may choose a CAD career path that does not require an associate’s degree. You might be eligible for an apprenticeship if you have CAD experience from high school and have participated in extracurriculars such as FIRST Robotics. Internships are most common in the manufacturing sector. They will teach you everything you need to become a skilled CAD drafter for that company.
What is the difference between an aCAD designer and an aCAD drafter?
The terms “CAD technician” and “CAD drafter” are two names for the same role, but CAD designers differ from drafters/technicians. It’s easy to see CAD drafters and designers in the same light when trying to decide what career path you want to take.
CAD drafters create schemas and technical drawings. These visual guides show the dimensions, procedures, and materials required for making an object. They use CAD software to make corrections to drawings after they have been reviewed by design professional. All pictures may be printed and collated by CAD drafters.
More skilled CAD designers are the ones who specialize in the drawing. They may have extensive knowledge of finite subjects such as circuit layout, electrical lighting, and architecture. Sometimes called a “CAD coordinator,” CAD designers are familiar with the codes and regulations their designs must conform to. To ensure that all information is correct, they coordinate drawing sets.
Traditional CAD careers often require CAD drafting experience before becoming a CAD designer. You can apply for a CAD design position immediately if you have the proper education and credentials.
What is the average salary for CAD jobs?
Here’s an overview of the average salary for each high-level career in CAD (Scan2CAD).
- CAD Drafter: $50,000
- CAD designer: $60,000+
- Architect: $70,000+
- CAD engineer: $80,000-$90,000
The following vital factors (Scan2CAD) can significantly impact these average salaries:
- Qualifications: Most CAD technicians and drafters require only an associate’s degree. A bachelor’s or master’s degree is required to be eligible for higher salaries.
- Licensures and certifications: These credentials will help you get started in CAD and increase your earning potential.
Internships are a great way to get a better salary.
Longevity of your career: You’ll probably make 9-10% less if you start your CAD career. After 5-10 years, you will likely create at least 6% less than the average salary. This number increases by approximately 5-10% for every 5-10 years of experience.
States with a high cost of living often offer high salaries. Some engineering industries, like metal ore mining, pay higher because there are fewer applicants.
Are CAD-related jobs a good choice?
Careers in CAD are advantageous and challenging. Working with dedicated professionals allows you to be part of something unique. Additionally, CAD careers will not be going away. Every engineering and architecture team needs skilled CAD professionals. The following is a summary of the job outlook (Scan2CAD) for several CAD careers that do not require a four-year degree.
- Electrical/electronics drafter
- $59,520/year average salary
- Projection of 5% job growth between 2014-2024
Audio & Video Equipment Manufacturing is the highest-paying industry, with an average annual salary of $80,760
- Mechanical drafter
- $53,520/year average salary
- The projection for a 7% increase in job growth between 2014-2024
Pipeline Transportation of Natural Gas ranks as the highest-paying industry, with $76,990 per year
- Civil/architectural drafter
- $50,710/year average salary
- The projection for job growth of -3% between 2014-2024
Scientific Research & Development Services is the highest-paying industry, with a salary of 75,390 per year
Although some CAD industries may lose a few drafting jobs over the next several decades due to the efficiency of software programs, the industry isn’t going anywhere. There are thousands of jobs each year, and there is plenty of opportunity to improve your skills and advance your career.
How can I get started in CAD?
A career in CAD can be gratifying. You can earn a good salary starting at 16 without a four-year degree. Preparation for a career in CAD begins in high school. There are many ways to improve your CAD skills, including taking engineering, science, and math classes. You can also get involved in extracurricular activities related to design. You don’t need a four-year degree to launch a successful CAD career.