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How to Become a CAD Designer

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Workers trained in computer-aided design and drafting, or CADD, earn anywhere from $40,000 to $50,000 a year. They create drawings of parts and buildings and may specialize in certain areas, such as aeronautics or architecture. Most CADD designers need a background in engineering or graphic design, a two-year or four-year degree and training on the CADD workstation software. A CADD operator just needs to know the software, and can actually start working after a few months of classes.

Gain a degree in engineering, architecture or manufacturing. Any type of applicable degree can translate to a CADD designer career. Even auto mechanics can become CADD designers with enough experience on the CADD software.

Locate a community college or technical school in your area where you can take CADD classes. Nearly every technical school offers a CADD I and CADD II course. Professional training for CADD is also available.

Complete the course and network to find an entry-level CADD operator, or CADD designer position. Find a position that fits your background experience or degree.

Continue to build up your experience with CAD and related skills. Get an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) textbook, learn the engineering and manufacturing standards that relate to your field.


Get into three-dimensional modeling and design as you advance in your career. This field is much more lucrative.

2016 Salary Information for Drafters

Drafters earned a median annual salary of $53,530 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, drafters earned a 25th percentile salary of $42,430, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $67,020, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 207,700 people were employed in the U.S. as drafters.



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