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Become A Cadd Operator

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Working As A Cadd 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

  • $47,441

    Average Salary

What Does A Cadd 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 A Cadd 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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Cadd Operator Career Paths

Cadd Operator
Mechanical Designer Architectural Designer
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Structural Designer Project Manager Construction Manager
Capital Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Estimator Assistant Project Manager
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Project Engineer Project Controls Engineer
Controls Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Drafter Designer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Drafter Design Drafter Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager
Director Of Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Design Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Engineering Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Project Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Designer Design Engineer Project Engineer
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Field Engineer Assistant Project Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Cadd Technician Designer Interior Designer
Interior Designer/Project Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Designer Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Engineer Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager Estimator Project Manager
Owner/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Cadd Technician Engineering Technician Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Senior Designer Design Manager
Project Manager/Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Structural Designer Senior Designer
Senior Designer/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Cadd Operator Demographics

Gender

Male

74.4%

Female

23.7%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

57.3%

Hispanic or Latino

22.3%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

6.2%

Unknown

3.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.3%

Kurdish

8.3%

Portuguese

8.3%

Russian

8.3%

Hmong

8.3%

Arabic

8.3%
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Cadd Operator Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

8.3%

Porter and Chester Institute

8.3%

University of the District of Columbia

6.3%

University of New Orleans

6.3%

University of Houston

6.3%

More Tech Institute

6.3%

Montgomery Community College

4.2%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

4.2%

Brevard Community College

4.2%

Montana State University - Great Falls College of Technology

4.2%

National University

4.2%

Pennsylvania State University

4.2%

Northern Michigan University

4.2%

ITT Technical Institute-Tempe

4.2%

Del Mar College

4.2%

Portland Community College

4.2%

Tidewater Community College

4.2%

Austin Community College

4.2%

Florida International University

4.2%

Central Carolina Technical College

4.2%
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Majors

Drafting And Design

38.1%

Architecture

12.2%

Business

4.4%

Graphic Design

4.4%

Civil Engineering

4.4%

Electrical Engineering

3.9%

Architectural Technology

3.3%

Engineering

3.3%

Construction Management

3.3%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.8%

Civil Engineering Technologies

2.8%

Mechanical Engineering

2.8%

Management

2.2%

Interior Design

2.2%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.7%

Animation

1.7%

Fine Arts

1.7%

Computer Technical Support

1.7%

Industrial Technology

1.7%

Computer Science

1.7%
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Degrees

Other

27.5%

Bachelors

27.5%

Associate

26.6%

Certificate

9.8%

Masters

4.1%

Diploma

4.1%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Top Skills for A Cadd Operator

  1. Engineering Drawings
  2. Cadd
  3. Layout
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Worked with telecommunication engineers developing engineering drawings for the Replacement Telecommunication System project at the Savannah River Site.
  • Performed Mechanical Engineering Drafting using CADD and Animated Software.
  • Designed/drafted the layout of a new recreational park for a separate McGill-Toolen project in Mobile, AL.
  • Produced AutoCAD drawings for Underground Storage Tanks removal/installation, asbestos remediation projects, and various maps for environmental projects.
  • Generated drawings using AutoCad R14 to create complete set of plans for new construction at various sites on Malmstrom AFB.

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