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Design & planning

CAD technician

Computer-aided design (CAD) technicians use software to design buildings, machinery, goods and components.

Annual Salary

£15,000 to £35,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 a week

You could work: between 8am and 6pm;

Future employment

There will be 1% more CAD technician jobs in 2025.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • using 2D or 3D software to produce sketches, schemes, models and detailed drawings
  • checking that drawings meet quality and technical standards
  • finding and fixing inaccuracies or mistakes
  • communicating with engineers, designers and project staff
  • reading and interpreting engineers' drawings
  • doing mathematical calculations to work out angles, weights and costs
  • keeping accurate records of different versions of your design work

Working environment

You could work on a construction site or in an office.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship

You could start by doing a higher national diploma or degree that includes computer-aided design work. For example:

  • construction
  • architectural technology
  • product design
  • design engineering

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information

You could train in computer-aided design by taking a college course like:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Engineering Technology
  • Level 2 Certificate in Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing
  • Level 3 Diploma in Design and Draughting
  • T level in Design, Surveying and Planning

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and computing
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level
For more information

You could complete an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in engineering, manufacturing or construction. The exact apprenticeship you take will depend on your job role but there are several that include computer-aided design work.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
For more information

More information

Career tips

Some colleges may specialise in particular computer-aided design packages, for example:AutoCAD LT; Civil 3D; SolidWorks; Autodesk 3ds Max; Revit

Further information

You can find more details about working and training in computer-aided design through Go Construct and The Institution of Engineering Designers.

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With experience, you could register with the Engineering Council to get Engineering Technician (EngTech) status.

You could become a team or section leader, project manager or site manager. With further training, you could become a design or software engineer.

You could also work freelance.

You can find more details about working and training in computer-aided design through Go Construct and The Institution of Engineering Designers.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • maths skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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