Job Overview $62,050
Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) instructors teach at both two- and four-year colleges and universities, providing instruction in a variety of software programs. Though most instructors take summers off to travel or do research, some do teach year-round.
Requirements and Qualifications
Though most classes are offered during the day, many classes are offered at night or on weekends for non-traditional students. You’ll have a flexible schedule as you only need be on campus during class times and office hours.
Qualifications you’ll find helpful to develop include instructional ability, communication and writing, critical thinking, interpersonal skills, time management and attention to detail.
CAD instructors usually have a master’s or doctorate degree in engineering, architecture or a related field. Professional certification in drafting from the American Digital Design Association can also be helpful, along with attending continuing education courses, workshops and conferences to stay current in the design world.
Steps to Become a CAD Instructor
While working on your graduate degree, look at assistantships. Available at most colleges, these programs let you work with an instructor on a more professional basis, and many lab section courses are taught by graduate assistants, giving you experience for your resume.
Some schools will hire someone with extensive experience in the field, so if you’ve spent a number of years doing CAD design professionally, this may be helpful.
Once you’re ready for job hunting, try looking at technical or community colleges first, as they’ll have more opportunities for a new instructor. Once you’ve gained some experience, you can move on to larger colleges offering bachelor’s degrees and perhaps into a tenure-track position from there.
Would you rather be doing than teaching? Maybe this path isn’t quite what you’re looking for. Here are some similar fields you may want to explore:
- Do your designs tend more towards the structural? Architects plan and design buildings for functionality, safety and appearance.
- Not quite sure you want to teach at the college level? Career and technical education teachers educate high school students on a variety of skills, including CAD.
- Is it hard to get you lost? Cartographers and photogrammetrists study geographic data to create maps for a variety of purposes.
- Enjoy working with electricity? Electrical and electronics engineers plan, design and test a range of new products that enter the market every year.
- Are you inventive with everyday objects? Industrial designers plan and develop new manufactured products.
- Is architecture your thing, but you want to work with living systems? Landscape architects design open, outdoor places such as parks and airports.
- Do gears, cams and driveshafts make your world go round? Mechanical engineers plan, develop, manufacture and test tools, machinery and engines.
- Want more of the great wide open? Surveyors work with engineers, architects and planners by establishing official boundaries.
- Not quite ready to try teaching? Postsecondary education administrators oversee areas of a university that are not directly involved in teaching.
The average annual salary for a CAD instructor was $62,050 as of May 2010. At that time, 29% of teachers worked as a part-time instructor, sometimes at a number of different schools.
Opportunities for CAD teachers is projected to increase at 17%, about the same rate as the average of all other professions over the next decade. The fastest growth is predicted to be at for-profit schools, which have had rapid development in the past decade.
It appears that engineering will have more opportunities than humanities, and tenure track positions will have much higher competition than adjunct or part-time opportunities.