CAD Operator

How to become a CAD Operator
CAD Operator Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of a CAD Operator
CAD Operator Salaries
Influential Professionals in this field
Leading CAD Operator Organizations
Top Cities for CAD Operator Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a CAD Operator

CAD stands for computer aided design, and is also known as drafting. To be a CAD operator, a prospective employee must generally have finished a degree in drafting or a related field. Courses such as CAD or CADD (computer aided design and drafting), engineering, science, math, and drafting are also extremely helpful for a CAD operator and looked for by prospective employers.

A drafting degree can be acquired at many four year institutions, community colleges, and some technical institutes. Employers may have strong opinions about which institutions they prefer to hire from, so asking prospective employers which schools they hold in high esteem can be helpful.

Drafters or CAD operators do not always need to be certified but may be voluntarily certified by the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA), which can lead to preferential hiring or advancement within a company.

What does a CAD Operator do?

CAD Operators or CADD operators (the two terms, although slightly different, refer to the same job) prepare technical plans and technical drawings on computers that are used in order to build things. These things can be anything from pipelines to houses to small appliances.

Drafters, or CAD operators, used to prepare drafting drawings by hand but now mainly use computers to do their jobs. This has led to the term "CAD Operator," which stands for Computer Aided Design Operator. CAD operators create drawings on the computer, where they are stored and can be shared. Keeping drawings on the computer permits CAD operators to quickly and easily access and change their drawings if need be.

CAD operators still need traditional drafting skills as they use computers to a great extent but can also use other drafting techniques when necessary. Their drawings show exactly how something can be constructed, with the technical details filled in.

There are many subspecialties of CAD operators, including CAD operators who work in Aeronautical drafting, civil drafting, architectural drafting, mechanical drafting, and many other types of drafting. Most CAD operators work at a computer terminal all day.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a CAD Operator?

A CAD operator must have mechanical aptitude and the ability to see how different parts fit together and how something is made up of various components. Drawing ability, both freehand drawing and computer-aided drawing is important for CAD operators. Obviously, computer skills are a must for a CAD operator, and they must be familiar with architectural terms, geometric constructions, and other drafting skills.

How much does a CAD Operator make?

CAD operators' salaries depend greatly upon which subfield they are in. For example, in May 2006, those CAD operators working in the field of architectural and civil drafting made a median yearly salary of $41,960, with the middle fifty percent earning somewhere between $33,550 and $52,220. Those CAD operators working in mechanical drafting made a median annual income of $43,700, with the middle fifty percent earning between $34,680 and $55,130.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Rick Frymyr is the Chairman of the Board of the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA), with Richard Button acting as the CFO and Governor of the ADDA. Terry Schultz is the President of the Board of Directors of ADDA.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) and the American Digital Design Association (affiliated with ADDA) are organizations in the field of CAD operation. The American Design Drafting Association is a non-profit professional and educational organization that began in 1948. It was started by oil and gas piping drafters, long before the term CAD Operator was around, as there were no computers to be used in drafting work at this time. Later this group turned into the Association of Professional Draftsmen (APD), and finally the American Design Drafting Association, which now includes the American Digital Design Association. The ADDA offers professional development and resources and voluntary certification in drafting.

What are the top cities for CAD Operator jobs?

The top city for CAD Operators in the United States is Houston, Texas. Los Angeles, California was a close second, with Baltimore, Maryland coming in at third place. Chicago, Illinois and Atlanta, Georgia are in fourth and fifth place respectively, as far as cities that are good for CAD operators in the United States.

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