What Training Is Necessary for a Career in Computer Aided Design?

Computer-aided design (CAD) takes drawings and sketches of residential buildings, commercial structures, sports complexes, and other structures and configurations and turning them into blueprints and working drawings. Computer-aided design permeates many disciplines, including architecture, engineering, and construction. Read this article to learn about necessary training in a CAD career. Schools offering AutoCAD Drafting & Design Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Computer-aided designs and drafting is used for creating visual and spatial information in architectural, mechanical, structural, construction, manufacturing, and other fields. CAD designers - also known as drafters - possess the creativity, practical training, and technical skills to create computerized drawings of items, including jewelry, automobiles, orthographic products, plumbing systems, electrical systems and remodeling projects.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Pay (2018)$55,550 (for all drafters)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 7% (for all drafters)
Work Environment Office and off-site work
Similar Occupations Architects, Civil Engineering Technicians, Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Industrial Designers, Mechanical Engineers, Surveyors

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Skills and Education

Becoming a CAD designer requires a solid foundation in the principles and technological skills of computer-automated drafting software applications, such as AutoCAD, Microstation, and Architectural Desktop. Students also need to gain proficiency in manual drafting, reading blueprints, 3-dimensional drawings, and building prototypes.

Many of these necessary skills can be acquired through certificate or associate's degree programs in CAD design or drafting; employers typically look for job applicants with specialized postsecondary training. Programs in CAD design or drafting are frequently available through technical and community colleges. Common coursework includes:

  • Technical math
  • Manual drafting techniques
  • Architectural drawing
  • Mechanical drawing
  • Building prototypes
  • Computer-based design

Skills Application

Many students learn how to apply the fundamental principles and skills of computer-aided design by gaining practical hands-on experience in the classroom. Others acquire actual work experience by taking advantage of internships offered by many schools in collaboration with CAD design companies and other organizations. Industries that typically require a CAD professional include:

  • Architecture
  • Engineering
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Entertainment
  • Communications

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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