How to Become a CAD Engineer

In today’s fast paced, computer based world, the skills of a computer assisted drafting, or CAD, engineer are needed now more than ever. Effectively marrying elements of both the creative and the analytical, these engineers specialize in using computer based systems. Using cutting edge technology, working in clean and modern environments, a projection for an increased demand for the skills needed and being paid quite well, make this profession very attractive to those people looking to make a change in their job situation as well as their lives.

Job Overview

Associates Degree
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Using specialized software, CAD engineers convert the drawings and ideas of architects and engineers into highly technical plans and designs. Workers in a wide range of industries, from computer chip manufacturers to construction, then use the end results from a CAD engineer to build items such as buildings, computer chips and more.

Requirements and Qualifications

Almost all employers require that a CAD engineer have at least an associate degree from an accredited college. Specialized classes in engineering and computer assisted drafting should be make up a significant portion of the curriculum. Another option is for the person who is interested in this career to attend a technical college. Regardless of which educational route is taken, candidates who are interested in such a career should be detail oriented with finely tuned critical thinking skills. In addition, the ability to work well under tight deadlines and within a team are highly important in order to be successful in this field.

Typical Education

It is important to have a strong math background if a person desires to become a CAD engineer. Even if such a background was not obtained during the high school years, it is possible to lay that foundation during the secondary education phase. Most colleges and technical universities offer a range of different math classes to their students. In addition, a strong technical focus is necessary when an educational focus is desired. It is also likely that some on the job training will be necessary. This is due to the fact that many software programs, while similar, are still specialized enough to require some degree of training of this sort.

Similar Jobs

There are a number of similar jobs that a CAD engineer might want to know about. In addition, some of these other jobs are ones that an engineer might work closely with. They include industrial designers, landscape architects, electrical engineers and other specialties that are highly technical in nature.


As of May of 2010, the latest date when figures were available, the median wage drafters earned was about $47,880. Some drafters could earn as much as $53,000 while others might earn slightly less at around $43,000. With continuing education, the CAD engineer could see their pay rise.

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, part of the United States Department of Labor, projects that CAD engineers will experience a job growth rate of about six percent through 2020. This figure, however, will fluctuate greatly, depending on the specialty chosen. With the continued focus on new software and new innovations being brought to the table often, there is likely to be a need for CAD engineers who are willing to learn new aspects to the job and fine tune their current skills. In many cases, the need for such a professional will depend on the industry, such as construction, in which they specialize.

Additional Information

The American Design Drafting Association/American Digital Drafting Association (ADDA) contains a wealth of information that can be viewed to give those interested in the career an overview of the education and professional associations that are available.

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