CAD operators, also known as drafters, use computer aided design to prepare technical drawings and plans that guide the construction of various products and structures from industrial machinery to toaster ovens. Employers prefer hiring applicants with strong drafting and mechanical drawing skills, as well as a solid background in CAD techniques, mathematics, science, and engineering. Consider pursuing online CAD training to help launch yourself into a drafting career.
Education Paths to Consider
If you are thinking about pursuing CAD careers, take high school courses in areas like math, science, design, computer graphics, and computer technology. If you are finished with high school, enroll in online CAD courses at a technical school, community college or four-year university. Having at least two years of postsecondary CAD training is essential if you want access to the best job opportunities as a drafting technician.
Why Pursue CAD Training Online?
Online CAD classes are highly convenient, because they allow you to study at your own pace and plan your study time around the rest of your day. If you work full-time or have other responsibilities that require the bulk of your attention, getting your CAD training online may be the best option. Online courses are easier to fit into a busy schedule, because they eliminate the need for commuting and sitting in a classroom.
Degree Levels Available
Technical institutes and community colleges offer short-term certificates and two-year associate’s degrees specifically in CAD and drafting. Four-year degree programs in CAD are rare, although taking courses in engineering, mathematics, architecture, computer science, and physics would be beneficial for any aspiring CAD technician.
Types of Online CAD Courses
Online CAD courses may discuss topics, such as
- Introduction to design drafting
- 3D prototyping
- 3D modeling
- Mechanical drafting
- Architectural drafting
- Structural drafting
- Civil engineering drafting
In addition to completing CAD training online, obtaining professional certification through organizations, such as the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA), may be beneficial in some instances. Most employers do not require CAD technicians to be certified, but getting a certification is ideal because it demonstrates your competency in nationally recognized practices.
Drafting Job Overview
CAD operators work in offices during normal business hours in a variety of industries. Drafters can choose to specialize in mechanical, electrical, architectural, aeronautical, and civil drafting, among others. Tasks that CAD operators may carry out on a typical work day include discussing designs with an engineering team, working from computer models, developing designs based on a team leader’s guidelines, and amending drawings. They work with 3D and 2D design and generally collaborate with other technicians and engineers under the supervision of a design engineer.
Employment Outlook for Drafters
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical and electronics drafting positions are expected to have 10% growth from 2012 to 2022, which is a rate that is about as fast as average. Architectural and civil drafting positions should have only a slight increase of 1%, whereas mechanical drafter positions are expected to decline by 5%.
Architectural and civil drafting positions will have fierce competitions, as there tend to be more graduates in this specialty than available positions. Electrical drafting positions, although growing, will still be hampered by increased efficiency due to technology. The decreased need for mechanical drafters reflects the declining manufacturing industry in America.
Salary for Drafters
In 2013, the median annual salaries for the below drafting positions were as follows:
- Drafters, all others– $47,680
- Architectural and civil drafter– $48,800
- Mechanical drafter– $51,520
- Electrical and electronics drafter– $57,250
Joining an Online CAD Training Program
CAD technicians with at least two years of offline or online CAD training will have access to the best employment opportunities. Employers are interested in hiring CAD operators who are highly familiar with fundamental drafting principles and have strong technical expertise. Obtain the skills and knowledge employers seek by pursuing online CAD training today!