CAD Designer / Drafter

Career Area: Engineering

Occupation Group: Drafters and CAD Designers

Salary

Percentile wages tell how much a certain percentage of an overall population in a geographic area or within a given industry or field makes. The percentile wage estimate is the value of a wage below which a certain percent of workers fall.

An example would be the 25th percentile, 25 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 75 percent earn more than the estimated wage value. At the 75th percentile, 75 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 25 percent earn more than the estimated wage value.

A typical CAD Designer / Drafter earns the following wages (national and state):

State

The average salary in North Carolina for those pursuing this career is $49,567

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

National

The average salary in the United States for those pursuing this career is $52,935

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

What Does a Professional in this Career Do?

Uses computer software to convert engineering or architectural designs into technical drawings and plans.

Employment Trends

The job demand and job growth statistics shown here were derived from job posts over the past year. Expected job growth projections are extrapolated from year-over-year job post listing history.

Job demand and job growth is expected at the following rates:

LocationGrowth
North Carolina1065+11.2%
Nationwide24484+8.2%

Skills

A professional in this position typically utilizes the following skills in the course of everyday work in this exciting and challenging field:

Baseline Skills

The following are baseline skills every CAD Designer / Drafter is expected to have in order to experience success in this field:

  • Communication Skills: The ability to convey information to another effectively and efficiently.
  • Detail-Oriented: A detail oriented person is someone who pays attention to the details and can make a conscious effort to understand causes instead of just the effects, and that does this in a second nature type of way.
  • Microsoft Office: Microsoft Office is an office suite of applications, servers, and services developed by Microsoft.
  • Microsoft Excel: Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications.
  • Teamwork / Collaboration: Experience working in collaborative efforts with a team to achieve a common goal or to complete a task in the most effective and efficient way.

Specialized Skills

These skills are specific to working in this career:

  • AutoCAD: AutoCAD is a commercial computer-aided design (CAD) and drafting software application.
  • Computer Aided Drafting/Design (CAD): Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computer systems (or workstations) to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design.
  • Revit: Working experience of Revit. Autodesk Revit is building information modeling software for architects, landscape architects, structural engineers, MEP engineers, designers and contractors developed by Autodesk. It allows users to design a building and structure and its components in 3D, annotate the model with 2D drafting elements, and access building information from the building model's database. Revit is 4D BIM capable with tools to plan and track various stages in the building's lifecycle, from concept to construction and later maintenance and/or demolition.
  • Civil 3D: AutoCAD Civil 3D software is a design and documentation solution for civil engineering that supports building information modeling (BIM) workflows.
  • Microstation: MicroStation is a CAD software product for two and three dimensional design and drafting, developed and sold by Bentley Systems.

Distinguishing Skills

Any CAD Designer / Drafter that possesses the following skills will stand out against the competition:

  • Autodesk: Autodesk, Inc. is an American multinational software corporation that makes software for the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media, and entertainment industries.
  • Civil Engineering: Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings.
  • Engineering Drawings: Working experience of Engineering Drawings, which are a type of technical drawing, is used to fully and clearly define requirements for engineered items. Engineering drawing (the activity) produces engineering drawings (the documents). More than merely the drawing of pictures, it is also a language - a graphical language that communicates ideas and information from one mind to another.
  • Engineering Design and Installation: Working experience of Engineering Design and Installation. The engineering design process is a methodical series of steps that engineers use in creating functional products and processes. The process is highly iterative - parts of the process often need to be repeated many times before another can be entered - though the part(s) that get iterated and the number of such cycles in any given project may vary.
  • Shop Drawings: Working experience of Shop Drawings. A shop drawing is a drawing or set of drawings produced by the contractor, supplier, manufacturer, subcontractor, or fabricator. Shop drawings are typically required for prefabricated components. Examples of these include: elevators, structural steel, trusses, pre-cast concrete, windows, appliances, cabinets, air handling units, and millwork.

Experience

This position typically requires the following level of experience. The numbers presented in the pie charts below were derived from actual job posts over the past year. Not all job postings list experience requirements.

Experience Required%
0 to 2 years45%
3 to 5 years44%
6 to 8 years6%

Many of the programs offered through NC State are designed for working professionals who need additional credentials to enhance existing work experience.

Students who do not have the expected level of experience may wish to look into internship and employment opportunities.

Common Job Titles

It is possible to find work in this field in positions commonly listed as the following job titles:

  • Detailer
  • Cad Technician
  • Cad Designer
  • Survey Cad Technician
  • Cad Drafter

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