Computer-Aided Design Drafters and Technicians


Overview

Introduction

Computer-aided design (CAD) drafters and technicians, sometimes called CAD operators, use computer-based systems to produce or revise technical illustrations needed in the design and development of machines, products, buildings, electronic components, manufacturing processes, and other work. They use CAD (also known as CADD, computer-aided design and drafting) machinery to manipulate and create design concepts so that they are feasible to produce and use in the real world. Approximately 199,900 drafters work in the United S...

Quick Facts


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Median Salary

$55,000

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Employment Prospects

Fair

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Minimum Education Level

Associate's Degree


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Experience

Internship


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Skills

Drawing/Design


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Personality Traits

Hands On

Earnings

The U.S. Department of Labor reports the median wage for civil and architectural drafters was $54,920 in May 2018. The lowest paid 10 percent of these drafters made less than $35,020 annually; the highest paid 10 percent made more than $80,880 annually. Electrical and electronics drafters had somewhat higher earnings, with an average annual wage of $60,070. Salaries ranged from $36,660 to $99,2...

Work Environment

CAD professionals almost always work in clean, quiet, well-lighted, air-conditioned offices. They spend most of their days at a workstation. While the work does not require great physical effort, it does require patience and the ability to maintain concentration and attention for extended periods of time. Some technicians may find they suffer from eyestrain from working for long periods in fron...

Outlook

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts little or no change in employment for drafters from 2018 to 2028, but it reports that "candidates [who are] proficient in CAD and building information modeling are likely to have better job opportunities." Many companies in the near future will feel pressures to increase productivity in design and manufacturing activities, and CAD technology provides some o...

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