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CAM / CAD 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 boards.

When someone mentions CAD programming, odds are they will also bring up CAM programming in the same conversation. Some people even erroneously use the two terms interchangeably. 

The main difference between CAD and CAM programming is CAD stands for Computer-Aided Design (in some circles, it can refer synonymously to Computer-Aided Drafting), which refers to the design or modification of a digital model while CAM is Computer-Aided Manufacturing and controls the machine used to produce a part. CAM draws the CAD model into the real world.

CAD CAM Operator

What does a CAM / CAD Operator do?

CAD CAM Operator

CAM / CAD operators are skilled technicians who control light or heavy machinery and use their in-depth knowledge to perform tasks. These operators need attention to detail and to concentrate and be precise in their work. They utilize hand-eye coordination and turn to their technical and mechanical skills to operate machinery and electronic equipment. They use and oversee equipment needed to produce items and could be hired to produce anything from high-tech gadgets to appliances.

Operators ensure their machines perform at optimal levels and follow a regular upkeep schedule.. They may also perform necessary repairs. Operators inspect pieces or electronic products the machine produces and bring issues to management’s attention immediately. They abide by workplace and governmental guidelines to reduce the chance of injury to themselves and others. 

  • Computer Knowledge

    To perform this job successfully, an individual may need knowledge of Frontline Genesis 2000 CAM software and Microsoft Office Suite.

  • Language Skills

    Ability to read, analyze, and interpret general business periodicals, professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations. Ability to write reports, business correspondence, and procedure manuals.

  • Mathematical Skills

    Ability to calculate figures and amounts such as discounts, interest, commissions, proportions, percentages, area, circumference, and volume. Ability to apply concepts of basic algebra and geometry.

  • Reasoning Ability

    Ability to apply common sense understanding to carry out instructions furnished in written, oral, or diagram form. Ability to deal with problems involving several concrete variables in standardized situations.

CNC Operator

CNC operators manage computer numeric controlled (CNC) equipment from setup to operation, producing parts and tools from different resources including metal and plastic. They’re tasked with monitoring machinery, inspecting finished products, and leading test runs.

The CNC operator handles the computer numerical control machine. Maintaining, setting, and adjusting the machine are all part of the operator’s daily tasks. This includes knowledge of the software and hardware of the machine. The CNC operator processes materials and performs functions like drilling, cutting, and shaping steel.

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.

CNC Programmer

Create and edit CNC programs that support the machining of large-scale, complex, precision metal components fabricated on multiple-axis CNC milling & turning machining centers (CAM file generation, post-processor machine code generation).


Perform technical data package review of components that require fabrication (CAD model & engineering drawing validation). Perform machining process development & optimization (part setup/fixturing, machining strategy/order of operations, tool selection, speed/feed process parameter selection).

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.



The estimated total pay for a CAM / CAD operator is $45,679 per year

25th Percentile

CAM/CAD operators within the 25th percentile earn on average:

$38,500 per year
Top Earners

Top CAM/CAD operators earn on average:

$59,500 per year
75th Percentile

CAM/CAD operators within the 75th percentile earn on average:

$50,000 per year

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

What does the workplace for a CAM / CAD Operator look like?

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.

This position is considered a light-duty position, meaning that employees may regularly be required to lift up to 10 pounds. 

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.

The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.  As such, hearing protection is not required.

How to Become a CAM / CAD Operator?

CAD CAM Operator

Associate’s degree (A.A.) or equivalent from two-year college or technical school; or six months to one year related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.

Typical Qualifications:

  • College education with emphasis on programming/computer science preferred
  • Minimum of 2 years of experience as a CAM Operator in a Printed Circuit manufacturing environment is preferred
  • Prior experience in a printed circuit manufacturing environment is preferred
  • They must be able to read blue prints, customer specifications and be familiar with or capable of learning industry standards such as IPC

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