Apprenticeships are available for people wanting to break into the career of Computer Aided Design Technician, and some academic qualifications will help win you a place.
Typically, apprenticeship schemes are looking for GCSEs in Maths, English, Science and Technology. Alternatively, there are several college courses in the area of CAD. This includes the City and Guilds Certificate in 2D Computer Aided Design Level 2 & 3. You should check what each college course specifically covers as the software packages they use will vary.
There are also NVQs available, for example the Engineering Technical Support Level 3, and there is the option to work towards a degree in Engineering, Construction or Civil Engineering.
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A CAD technician will be involved with designing a range of products or structures depending on the industry. You could be working in surface modelling, 2D design, or solid modelling in 3D design. 2D designs can include car or building designs, and a 3D design will then be able to take clients on a virtual tour of the building designed in 2D.
CAD designs are also used to prepare cost estimates, produce assembly instructions and maintenance manuals. A CAD technician will typically work as part of a small team, having been assigned a specific area of responsibility on the project.
The working hours of a CAD technician are typically 37 hours per week, Monday to Friday. This position is usually based in a design office, although you may be asked to work on site for example on construction projects.
Skills and Training Development
A CAD technician should have a sound understanding of engineering design principles, and a creative flair for design. Skills in communication and problem solving will be key when working as part of a team, and the ability to work to deadlines.
You will also need good IT skills in general because you will be working with computers all of the time. This may involve a GCSE in IT, or there are college courses available to advance further in IT.
There are plenty of opportunities for development and progression, as many industries need CAD technicians so you will develop many transferable skills. There may also be opportunities for promotion to Team Leader or Senior CAD technician.
A newly qualified CAD technician can expect to earn between £15,000 and £19,500 with this figure rising to between £22,000 and £26,000 for CAD technicians with more experience. Senior CAD technicians can expect to earn over £30,000 a year.