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CAD Designer

CAD designers use technology to help generate designs for complex projects. These designs may be used to create 2D images, a process known as surface modeling, or 3D images, or solid modeling. 

A CAD designer utilized computer-aided design software to create three-dimensional models of complicated structures for many fields including automotive, manufacturing, product development and many others. 

CAD designers are a crucial part of any design team. They bring all the ideas of the team to life in a digital world. From there actual physical prototypes can be manufactured. Ultimately leading to full-scale production!

CAD Designer

What does a CAD Designer do?

CAD Designer

A computer-aided design (CAD) designer is responsible for creating plan outlines and project designs for a specific business need. A CAD designer utilizes various technologies and software applications to generate graphic illustrations. CAD designers must have strong knowledge of the technology designs, software management, engineering standards, and the construction industry fundamentals. CAD designers label their works with appropriate dimensions and specifications, performing necessary adjustments to meet the clients’ needs. A CAD designer requires excellent critical-thinking and analytical skills to manage design structures and creative solutions.

Communication is also an essential part of CAD design. Using the computer-generated plans, CAD designers must work with other team members and departments to set timelines, budgets, and assist in making decisions regarding materials that will be used to complete the project.

CAD designers must know their industry. In order to be effective, they must have knowledge of machines, engineering standards, mathematics, and the materials used to make their plans a reality.

  • Design Knowledge

    CAD designers use software to create detailed 2D or 3D designs for complex projects. They incorporate feedback into 3D model designs and make revisions to models as requested.

  • Problem Solving Skills

    Address limitations of technologies and materials involved in the CAD process.

  • Communication Skills

    These designers communicate with multiple departments within the company in order to collectively integrate all aspects of product development.

  • Current Industry Knowledge

    They pursue ongoing education in the field and keep up to date on all modern advancement in material and software technologies.

CAD / CAM Operator

A CAM / CAD operator is responsible for utilizing computer tools to edit data and communicate potential issues to customer and/or sales staff and come up with creative solutions to help streamline the manufacturing of our boards.

CAD/3DP Operator Specialist

CAD/3DP operator specialists perform complex and advanced design and drafting functions in support of development projects utilizing appropriate technology or tools such CAD/CAM/CATAI, etc.


They must interface with multiple internal engineering teams, documentation function and other departments as well as external vendors. Participates in and executes operations of a 3D Printing lab, including maintenance of machines delivery of parts.

CAD Drafter

CAD drafter will utilize computer-aided design systems to create technical drawings for architectural glass products.


CAD drafters must have Auto-CAD (2005 or later) training certificate or two years of verified work experience from previous employer(s). They must possess the ability to read and interpret contract drawings and customer sketches as well as ability to create and modify drawings in CAD/CAM software.



The estimated total pay for a CAD designer is $59,000 per year.


Starting-level CAD designer earnings begin at:

$20 per hour
$41,000 per year

Senior-level CAD designer earnings begin at:

$34 per hour
$71,000 per year

Mid-level CAD designer earnings begin at:

$28 per hour
$59,265 per year

Top-level CAD designer earnings begin at:

$40 per hour
$84,000 per year

Junior-level CAD designer earnings begin at:

$24 per hour
$49,000 per year

These are 2021 national salary averages and may fluctuate based on location.

What does the workplace for a CAD Designer look like?

CAD designers can find work at architecture firms, mechanical manufacturing facilities, civil engineering companies, construction companies, the fashion industry, electronics and tech companies.

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand, walk, climb stairs, and reach with both hands and arms.  The employee is regularly required to talk or hear and to perform repetitive motion.  The employee is frequently required to sit.

Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, color vision, the ability to adjust focus. These vision requirements are necessary to complete the keyboarding, mousing, filing, and copying functions of the job.

How to Become a CAD Designer?

CAD Designer

To become a CAD designer, you should first pursue a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing, architecture or engineering. You could also take a CAD course at a community college or technical school, such as a two-year drafting program.

Prospective CAD designers must learn about manufacturing and engineering standards. Gather more experience by obtaining an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) textbook. Study the textbook to learn about manufacturing and engineering standards that relate to your field.

Before you become a CAD designer, you can first hone your design skills as a CAD drafter. Participate in any development opportunities that your employer provides, such as professional networking, group mentoring, online learning and social media resources. Prove yourself by getting things done efficiently and accurately in order to move up in the company as a CAD designer.

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