CAD operators and CAD technicians use CAD (computer aided design) packages to produce drawings for construction and manufacturing purpose.
Salaries depend on location, employer and level of responsibility. Salaries and career options also improve with chartered status.
To gain CAD skills, you can take one of many college courses. These include:
College courses tend to use AutoCAD for learning, which would offer you a good understanding of technical design. Some colleges may also run more specialised software packages, including AutoCAD LT, Autodesk Architectural, CATIA, PRO/Engineer, SolidWorks and 3ds Max.
You have more training once you are doing the job. This is usually specific CAD software relevant to your industry. So, for example, you might train on PDS (Plant Design Systems) if your company designs petrochemical facilities.
You could take a work-based qualification (depending on your job) such as:
You could also work towards a BTEC HNC, HND or foundation degree in engineering, construction or civil engineering.
To get onto a construction apprenticeship scheme, you need five GCSEs (A-C) – or the equivalent – in subjects such as maths, science, engineering, design and technology. You have to find an employer who is willing to take you on as an apprentice, and many colleges, training providers and programmes introduce potential apprentices to interested employers.
CAD apprenticeships include a training qualification (known as the diploma or technical certificate), a work-based qualification (known as an NVQ), and basic English and maths (known as Functional Skills, or Essential Skills in Wales) and Employment Rights & Responsibilities to help you at work. It also covers employment responsibilities along with personal learning and thinking skills.
Experienced CAD technicians can register with the Engineering Council to gain EngTech status for professional development.
Explore the progression opportunities below
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