How to become a CAD Technician

CAD technicians are extremely skilled workers that use computer aided design programs in the development and design of buildings and machinery. CAD technicians can work in many fields, including architecture, entertainment and the automotive industries.

What is a CAD Technician?

Associates Degree
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

CAD work is often a blend of science, technology and art, and it can be an excellent field for those who enjoy intellectual and creative pursuits. CAD technology courses are available through online degree programs, and aspiring CAD technicians can choose to either focus on 2D design or 3D design. 3D design is the more common type of design today, but there is still a significant amount of work available for those interested in 2D surface design.

What Does a CAD Technician Do?

With an Associate’s Degree that involves CAD training, a CAD Technician can become a drafter. Drafters make on average $47,880 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Drafters will use CAD software to create technical drawings and plans which have been created by engineers and architects. Drafters do not need to actually make the drawings and plans themselves, they simply need to follow the physical designs and transfer them into a computer file.

A CAD technician will need to work very closely with the planners and architects so they can bring drawings and plans to life. CAD technicians could potentially design new toys, create skyscrapers, draw assembly diagrams for circuit boards or even create new types of jewelry. There are various industries that require CAD work, and a technician can choose the industry that appeals to them. Circuitry and architecture work are two industries that experience a high volume.

How Do You Become a CAD Technician?

Becoming a CAD technician is often as easy as enrolling in the appropriate program. There usually are not on-the-job training positions for CAD work. CAD technicians need to develop an extreme familiarity with computer systems and electronic work, and they need to be extremely conscientious and precise about everything they do. An aspiring CAD technician can either go to a local community college or a technical institute for their degree. They may also be able to acquire the necessary training through an online degree program.

There is a certification program for drafters offered through the American Design Drafting Association. While not all employers require this type of certification, it can be a boon when applying for new positions as it will show that the drafter has the standardized knowledge that is required of them to fulfill the position. This certification test will test general knowledge, not knowledge of any specific CAD systems. CAD system certifications can be acquired through separate means, often through the software company itself.

How Do You Advance as a CAD Technician?

A CAD technician who receives a Bachelor’s Degree can become an architect. Architects can plan and design their buildings as well as transfer them into CAD. Some architects work without CAD technology, but others work directly within software systems. Architects make an average of $72,550 a year. CAD technicians can also become designers and automotive engineers with additional training. CAD software is used through a variety of industries, and operating as a drafter within any of these industries will give a CAD technician valuable knowledge about the field and about its responsibilities. According to O*Net Online, one of the best fields to transition into is Electronics Engineering Technician.

CAD technicians that are not interested in becoming an architect or an engineer can also become designers or planners. They can develop new products or new designs. They can also move into more artistic industries such as fabric and apparel printmaking or film and video editing. Film and video editing software can be very similar to CAD software.

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