CAD Specialist Job Description and Responsibilities

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CAD stands for computer aided drafting. CAD specialists are drafters that prepare technical illustrations using computers instead of the traditional paper, pencil, and measuring instruments.

CAD software programs have a variety of symbols, measuring tools, and angles installed within the program. In addition to using CAD, individuals utilize hardware such as digitizers, graphics tablets, cursor pads, light pens, plotters, and printers. Using this equipment, CAD specialists can draft any type of drawing that can be done manually.

CAD specialists may be responsible for developing the actual design or may just be required to draft from the specifications of other designers. They often work with engineers to develop the specifications for various systems, machinery, or structures.

CAD specialists can do almost any type of drafting. They must, however, have the technical skill for the specific industry. For example, CAD specialists who draft clothing patterns must have a basic understanding of fashion, just as drafting electronic machinery requires a knowledge of schematics and wiring diagrams.

CAD specialists usually work fairly normal hours. They may be required to work overtime to finish a project or meet a deadline.

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

CAD specialists can work in a variety of employment settings. These include:

Construction companies, Architectural firms, Machinery manufacturers, Engineering firms, Clothing manufacturers, Electronics firms, Electrical manufacturers, Transportation manufacturers, Communications manufacturers, Utility companies and Government agencies

Expanding Opportunities for the 21st Century

The drop in price of CAD programs and systems means that more industries will be utilizing the services of CAD specialists. Robotics manufacturers will have an especially great demand for these individuals.

EARNINGS

Annual earnings for CAD specialists can range from $24,000 to $65,000 or more depending on the experience, training, education, expertise, and responsibilities of the individual. Other factors affecting earnings include the specific employer, industry, and geographic location.

Individuals just starting out will earn between $24,000 and $30,000. With more experience and training, individuals earn from $32,000 to $44,000. Those with a great deal of experience in supervisory or management positions can earn $65,000 or more.

ADVANCEMENT OPPORTUNITIES


CAD specialists just entering the field may work as trainees. They can advance to full CAD specialists at the same company or locate a similar position in a larger or more prestigious firm. With additional experience, training, and education, individuals can also be promoted to supervisory or management positions.

Some CAD specialists go on to become engineers,

EDUCATION AND TRAINING


Some employers require that applicants have a minimum of a high school diploma; others look for employees with a college degree or background.

CAD specialists must be trained in drafting, design, and CAD systems. This training may be obtained in high school, trade or vocational school, a technical institute, or community college. Classes in drafting, drawing, computer technology, computer aided design, and engineering are required.

EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS


Requirements vary from job to job. Experience working with computers is helpful. Proficiency in manual drafting and mechanical drawing is also helpful but may not be required.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: To team more about a career as a CAD specialist, contact the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) or the American Institute for Design and Drafting (AIDD).

TIPS

Technical, trade, and vocational schools with programs in this field often offer placement services.

Job openings are advertised in trade journals and the newspaper classified section. Look under headings such as "CAD Specialist," "Computer Drafter," "CAD Designer," or "Computer Designer."

The state employment service may have openings for government jobs in this specialty.

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