Job Description of a CAD Operator
CAD operators are drafters who use computer-aided design (CAD) systems to prepare drawings and blueprints. These documents guide the creation of many products, including manufactured goods, buildings and structures. Mechanical ability and an aptitude for drawing and detail work are important attributes for this career.
CAD Operator Job Description
CAD operators, otherwise known as drafters, are usually employed by manufacturing firms and construction companies. They may work as aeronautical, architectural, civil, mechanical or electronics drafters. CAD operators often have a specialty in a specific field, much as engineers do. Although their work is mainly done on the computer, CAD operators still need to know how to prepare manual drawings for certain applications. Successful drafters have a solid understanding of mathematics and science.
CAD operators provide the guidelines and technical details of the product or structure that is being built. They may work with engineers, architects and other professionals in producing plans and drawings. These documents use specialized notations and symbols to convey instructions about materials, assembly procedures or tools.
An architectural drafter may draw plans for the foundations of structures as well as lay out the interior rooms of buildings. They are expected to study building codes, site requirements and other documentation to determine any impact on building plans. Visits to building sites to collect data and monitor compliance with design requirements may also be part of the job.
Civil drafters draw maps, diagrams or plans for construction projects and structures. They review data from engineers and technicians to ensure that they conform to design plans. Civil drafters may be involved in planning bridges, highways and wastewater treatment systems.
Mechanical drafters produce guidebooks and manuals for machinery and tools by making illustrations of mechanical systems. They employ mathematical formulas to develop specifications for machinery and design blueprints of specific items. These drafters may also assist in product testing, allowing them to revise documentation as the design changes.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wages of drafters depended upon specialty area. In May 2009, the BLS reported an average wage of $47,710 for architectural and civil drafters. Average wages for mechanical drafters were $49,790, and the average for electrical and electronics drafters was $54,800 (www.bls.gov).
Although the BLS predicted slower than average job growth for the drafting career overall for the period between 2008-2018, architectural and civil drafters experienced job growth that was about the same as all other industries. Postsecondary education in drafting and CAD systems will increase the likelihood of securing employment in this field.
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