CAD Designers - The Career and the Salary

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Considering a career in the computer-aided design industry will allow you the opportunity to work in many sectors of industry. CAD is used quite comprehensively in architectural and industrial design, aerospace, shipbuilding and automotive industries as well as prosthetics.

What the Position Involves

The designer's position will entail working with a team of engineers and they must be able to receive, understand and obey directions for creating drawings and models. They will be 2 and 3 dimensional models that have been produced using AutoCAD software.

Using sketches drawn by hand, the CAD designer will create the drawings from the beginning to the end. They will however, be required to have their designs approved by design engineers to ascertain that correct standards are being met. The engineers can decide on changes that need to be made or give their approval for the completed design.

With the use of drafting software used in combination with the computer, the designs that will ultimately be created are for machinery and other products. In order to assure the precision of the product when it is completed they must meet stringent mathematical and scientific requirements.

CAD designers may also attend presentations with representatives from corporations. This is required in order to show the design they have developed and ensure it is in compliance with the request. There may be requests for alterations or the design may be approved without alterations.

In this career, meeting with those in charge of financing the project to make sure it is within the budget that has been allocated is another aspect. The CAD designers may work for themselves or for manufacturers or corporations. They may also work at design firms.


A degree is necessary in virtually every company that hires CAD designers. The degree is usually a bachelor's in engineering, architecture or industrial design. CAD undergraduate students will often take internships with design firms.

At the very least, an associate's degree from a 2 year technical school is required to be considered for this type of career. In order to improve the salary requirements they have in mind for themselves, many will decide to pursue a master's degree.

Many firms will not hire a CAD designer unless they have a degree and from 4 to 6 years experience. This will depend on what type of design career is chosen.

Salary and Outlook

The outlook for CAD designers will have strong competition in the future. The salary and availability will be the best for designers with solid engineering backgrounds as well as other aspects of the position. This will include expert skills in business and computer design.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, through the year 2016 there will be a 7% increase in this career. The formation of approximately 3400 additional jobs will be needed based on this career increase. The opportunities that will become available will be in more specialized design fields. This is due to the use by those who design parts for certain products and the products themselves.

This demand is expected to increase and as such the designers who have certain skills needed for the changing world of CAD design. The professional who can keep up with monitoring and revising designs as requested by the customer will have the best prospects for finding this type of career.

An increase in salary has shown a healthy increase. In just two years an 11.3% increase has been seen. The average salary for a CAD designer is about $71,000. The choice of location will be one of the deciding factors that determine the salary for a designer. Naturally larger cities will have more of a demand for this career and will offer more of a salary than a smaller area of the country.

In conclusion the world of CAD will encompass other aspects besides shapes. The information received when a design is completed will include tolerances, dimensions, processes and materials. Not only is this career used for technical projects such as aerospace and architectural tasks, but it is also used in movies for the special effects, technical manuals and advertising. The amazing concept of CAD design is that the same program that can design perfume dispensers can design bridges and ships.
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