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Become An Autocad Operator

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Working As An Autocad Operator

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $49,497

    Average Salary

What Does An Autocad Operator Do

Drafters use software to convert the designs of architects and engineers into technical drawings. Most workers specialize in architectural, civil, electrical, or mechanical drafting and use technical drawings to help design everything from microchips to skyscrapers.

Duties

Drafters typically do the following:

  • Design plans using computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • Work from rough sketches and specifications created by engineers and architects
  • Design products with engineering and manufacturing techniques
  • Add details to architectural plans from their knowledge of building techniques
  • Specify dimensions, materials, and procedures for new products
  • Work under the supervision of engineers or architects

Many drafters are referred to as CAD operators. Using CAD systems, drafters create and store technical drawings digitally. These drawings contain information on how to build a structure or machine, the dimensions of the project, and what materials are needed to complete the project.

Drafters work with CAD so they can create schematics that can be viewed, printed, or programmed directly into building information modeling (BIM) systems. These systems allow drafters, architects, construction managers, and engineers to create and collaborate on digital models of physical buildings and machines. Through three-dimensional rendering, BIM software allows designers and engineers to see how different elements in their projects work together.

Architectural drafters draw architectural and structural features of buildings for construction projects. These workers may specialize in a type of building, such as residential or commercial. They may also specialize by the materials used, such as steel, wood, or reinforced concrete.

Civil drafters prepare topographical maps used in construction and civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, and flood-control projects.

Electrical drafters prepare wiring diagrams that other construction workers use to install and repair electrical equipment and wiring in power plants, electrical distribution systems, and residential and commercial buildings.

Electronics drafters produce wiring diagrams, assembly diagrams for circuit boards, and layout drawings used in manufacturing and in installing and repairing electronic devices and components.

Mechanical drafters prepare layouts that show the details for a wide variety of machinery and mechanical tools and devices, such as medical equipment. These layouts indicate dimensions, fastening methods, and other requirements needed for assembly. Mechanical drafters sometimes create production molds.

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How To Become An Autocad Operator

Drafters typically need specialized training, which can be accomplished through a technical program that leads to a certificate or an associate’s degree in drafting.

Education

Drafters generally need to complete postsecondary education in drafting. This is typically done through a 2-year associate’s degree from a technical institute or community college.

Technical institutes offer instruction in design fundamentals, sketching, and CAD (computer-aided design) software and award certificates or diplomas upon completion. Programs vary in length but are generally 2 years of full-time education. The types of courses offered will also vary by institution. Some institutions may specialize in only one type of drafting, such as mechanical or architectural drafting.

Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes that lead to an associate of applied science in drafting or related degree. After completing an associate’s degree program, graduates may get jobs as drafters or continue their education in a related field at a 4-year college. Most 4-year colleges do not offer training in drafting, but they do offer classes in engineering, architecture, and mathematics.

To prepare for postsecondary education, high school students who take courses in mathematics, science, computer technology, design, computer graphics, and where available, drafting, may find such classes useful.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) offers certification for drafters. Although not mandatory, certification demonstrates competence and knowledge of nationally recognized practices. Certifications are offered for several specialties, including architectural, civil, and mechanical drafting.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Drafters must be able to turn plans and ideas into technical drawings that will guide the creation of real buildings, tools, and systems.

Detail oriented. Drafters must pay close attention to details so that the plans they convert are technically accurate according to the outlined specifications.

Interpersonal skills. Drafters work closely with architects, engineers, and other designers to make sure that final plans are accurate. This requires the ability to take advice and constructive criticism, as well as to offer it.

Math skills. Drafters work on technical drawings. They may be required to solve mathematical calculations involving factors such as angles, weights, and costs.

Technical skills. Drafters in all specialties must be able to use computer software, such as CAD, and work with database tools, such as BIM (building information modeling).

Time-management skills. Drafters often work under strict deadlines. As a result, they must work efficiently in order to produce the required output according to set schedules.

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Autocad Operator Career Paths

Autocad Operator
Design Drafter Designer Architectural Designer
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineer Project Engineer
Construction Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Project Coordinator Assistant Project Manager
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Designer Senior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Autocad Designer Designer Design Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Design Engineer Project Engineer
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Electrical Designer Project Manager Property Manager
General Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Production Supervisor General Foreman
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Design Technician Surveyor Drafter
Lead Drafter
5 Yearsyrs
Autocad Drafter Design Drafter Mechanical Designer
Lead Mechanical Designer
8 Yearsyrs
Design Drafter Project Engineer Estimator Project Manager
Owner/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Autocad Designer Design Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Autocad Drafter Computer Aided Drafter Designer
Project Manager/Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Engineer Project Engineer
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Piping Designer Computer Aided Drafter
Senior Design Drafter
8 Yearsyrs
Electrical Designer Piping Designer Computer Aided Drafter
Senior Drafter
6 Yearsyrs
Designer Structural Designer
Senior Structural Designer
13 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Structures Engineer
Senior Structural Engineer
12 Yearsyrs
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Autocad Operator Demographics

Gender

Male

72.6%

Female

25.3%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

52.7%

Hispanic or Latino

23.5%

Black or African American

11.7%

Asian

7.7%

Unknown

4.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.7%

French

9.5%

Portuguese

4.8%

Vietnamese

4.8%

Cantonese

4.8%

Persian

4.8%

Arabic

4.8%
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Autocad Operator Education

Schools

Hudson Valley Community College

7.4%

Miami Dade College

7.4%

University of Central Florida

5.6%

Ohio State University

5.6%

Delaware Technical and Community College

5.6%

Central Michigan University

5.6%

Pennsylvania State University

5.6%

Lamar University

5.6%

Lawrence Technological University

5.6%

Saint Louis University-

5.6%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

5.6%

Northern Virginia Community College

5.6%

Ferris State University

3.7%

Albany State University

3.7%

Central State University

3.7%

Thompson Institute

3.7%

Lincoln College of Technology - Denver

3.7%

Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

3.7%

San Antonio College

3.7%

Sam Houston State University

3.7%
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Majors

Drafting And Design

25.2%

Architecture

11.8%

Civil Engineering

7.3%

Business

7.3%

Mechanical Engineering

6.1%

Industrial Technology

5.0%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

4.2%

Interior Design

3.8%

Graphic Design

3.8%

Construction Management

3.8%

Computer Science

3.4%

Electrical Engineering

3.1%

Architectural Technology

2.7%

Engineering

2.3%

Architectural Engineering Technology

1.9%

Management

1.9%

Computer Engineering

1.9%

Liberal Arts

1.5%

Fine Arts

1.5%

General Studies

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

32.8%

Other

28.6%

Associate

23.3%

Certificate

6.1%

Masters

5.8%

Diploma

2.5%

Doctorate

0.6%

License

0.3%
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Real Autocad Operator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Autocad Operator The Fountain Group Raleigh, NC Nov 28, 2011 $85,567
Autocad Operator Holmes Electric Company Kent, WA Aug 14, 2014 $62,610
Autocad Operator Holmes Electric Company Kent, WA Dec 25, 2013 $62,610
Autocad Operator Holmes Electric Company Kent, WA Dec 24, 2012 $60,000
Autocad Operator Holmes Electric Company Kent, WA Dec 27, 2012 $60,000

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Top Skills for An Autocad Operator

  1. Detail Drawings
  2. Electrical Layouts
  3. CAD Operator
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assist in drafting project based drawings for Southern California Edison substations; detail drawings, foundation drawings, plotting, etc.
  • Created AutoCAD line drawings of Engineers sketches for HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical layouts.
  • Sole AutoCAD Operator for the Commercial Terminal Control System (CTCS) Technical Drawing Package (TDP).
  • Prepared floor plans and elevation drawings for architectural design.
  • Performed field verifications of existing as-built drawings and produced schematic and final designs using AutoCAD.

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