How to Become a CAD Technician

CAD Technician

A CAD technician builds upon the specifications set by architects and engineers by creating technical drawings using computer software. They make 2D or 3D models of buildings, products, or machinery.

CAD technicians, or drafting technologists, use sophisticated software to create technical drawings based on the designs of architects and engineers. Working in the construction, manufacturing and engineering industries, CAD technicians will take the initial design to the next stage as they produce 2D or 3D models. 

These models will be used to answer various questions about the project, such as the cost of the project, its feasibility, and any instructions for manufacturing. 

The duties of a CAD technician include: 

  • Making technical drawings, plans, and 2D and 3D models using CAD software. 
  • Working with architects, designers, and engineers to build on their requirements. 
  • Ensuring that all designs meet industry standards, health and safety protocols. 
  • Evaluating costings of projects. 
  • Visiting sites and making surveys of them. 

Sometimes, a CAD technician will become more specialised. Candidates could niche into computer-aided industrial design, computer-aided engineering, computer-aided styling, or computer-aided manufacturing design. These are specific CAD processes for the industry on which they are focusing.

There are many routes to becoming a CAD technician. Some candidates are graduates; tertiary education is not essential, but it can provide the relevant knowledge needed to excel in this vocation. Relevant courses include engineering, architecture, manufacturing, or IT. 

There are also tertiary-level college courses which offer a similar amount of education and a qualification that is relevant to CAD. Candidates could also consider doing an apprenticeship. Entry-level apprenticeships and high-level apprenticeships are both available. An apprentice will gain knowledge while working, so apprenticeships are a beneficial way to obtain practical skills. 

Candidates should be proficient at IT and have experience with computer-aided design software. They will learn these skills during an apprenticeship, or they could learn independently. Supplementary courses can also help to learn more CAD technician relevant skills. Candidates should also have an idea of the leading engineering principles and have strong mathematical abilities. While CAD designs are now almost exclusively created using software, freehand drawing skills could still be beneficial.

Various soft skills are also essential. CAD technicians should have strong attention to detail, as they will need to create accurate drawings. They should be good communicators and able to liaise with other professionals and customers. They must be organised and be capable of meeting deadlines – often, their projects will overlap, so they should have excellent time management skills.

The work is mainly office-based and often requires long hours at a computer. Overtime may be necessary when they have deadlines. Candidates may also visit manufacturing plants or building sites to visualise their requirements. 

Candidates will work across a range of industries or they could work on a freelance basis. They could also use their skills for more creative roles, including set design and interior design. Some CAD technicians progress to engineering roles, particularly those who have tertiary qualifications in the subject.


What degree is most commonly held by a CAD Technician ?

  • Bachelor of Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Associates of Applied Science, CAD and Design Technology
  • Associates Degree of Drafting and Design Technology/Technician

Career Transportability across Countries

Transportability: High
As being a CAD technician is a highly skilled role and opportunities are available all over the world, candidates may find a range of opportunities to work abroad. Experienced CAD technicians in engineering or architectural roles would be pest poised for applying to overseas vacancies, as these projects often require many workers and industry experts.

What is the Salary of a CAD Technician ?

Experience Average salary | year
CAD Technician $42,000 £27,500 $41,500
CAD Technician $71,234 £36,300 $67,783
Senior CAD Technician $87,092 £57,500 $83,957

What skills are needed to become a CAD Technician ?

  • AutoCAD
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Customer Service
  • CAD
  • Revit
  • SolidWorks
  • Engineering
  • Construction
  • Leadership
  • Computer-Aided Design (CAD)
  • MicroStation
  • Project Management
  • PowerPoint
  • Management
  • Research
  • Teamwork
  • Public Speaking
  • Autodesk Inventor
  • Photoshop
  • Civil Engineering
  • SketchUp
  • Construction Drawings
  • Manufacturing

CAD Technician Courses

A lot of CAD technician training is done on the job, but candidates who already have knowledge on the topic would get a head start in the application process. At FutureLearn, we have plenty of courses available for prospective CAD technicians, such as a wealth of engineering courses.
  • Cyber Security in the Software Development Life Cycle

    Examine security in the software development life cycle and discuss the legal and ethical aspects of secure systems

  • Business Problems and Software Solutions

    Discover how to overcome real-world business challenges with software solutions

  • The Cyber Security Landscape

    Understand cyber security today explore threats and the key functions of cyber security within a commercial organisation

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