As a Computer Aided Design (CAD) Drafter, you will use your expert knowledge to create designs that will be used in the construction industry.
Also known as
- Civil/Structural Engineer
- Computer Aided Design Specialist
- Computer Aided Draftsperson
- Computer Assisted Technician
As a CAD Drafter, you will work with Architects, Surveyors and Engineers to create designs for the construction industry.
You will firstly calculate all the requirements needed for the project and look at the production methods that will be used.
Once you have gathered all this data, you will then use computer aided design software to create specialised designs. The designs that you would create are:
- the layout of the project
When this is complete, you will show your designs to the team and make any changes if they are needed. You may have to change your designs if it does not meet the regulations and quality standards for the industry.
You could be designing:
- piping systems
- mechanical devices
You will help build functional, secure and well-designed products and structures that meet the needs of the client.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a CAD Drafter, you will need:
- good maths and IT skills
- an interest in buildings and how they are built
- good written and spoken word communication skills
- to be a good team worker
- an interest in physics
- the confidence to supervise others
- to be able to analyse and solve problems
- good graphical communication skills, ie, technical drawing
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate:
- Starting: £18,000
- With experience: £23,000
- Senior CAD Drafters earn around £34,000
Hours of work
Most CAD Drafters work around 35-40 hours, Monday to Friday. There are times however when you may have early starts and late finishes, and you may need to work some weekends. This will be due to the demands of a project and the deadlines set within it.
Where could I work?
Employers are firms of Engineering Consultants, Building and Civil Engineering Contractors, local authorities, and gas, water and electricity companies. Other employers include the Civil Service, manufacturing industry and the armed forces.
Opportunities for CAD Drafters occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.
This career could involve working for an
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in trade magazines, such as The Structural Engineer and New Civil Engineer.
Vacancies are also advertised on all the major job boards, on Find a Job, and at Jobcentre Plus.
Entry Routes and Training
You'll need a degree in engineering to become a CAD Drafter.
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
If you would like more training, then there are courses available on offer. Some courses offer a specilise course online where you could learn about:
- using wire drawing tools
- using computer aided design to create designs
- working with different symbols
- wire numbering
Other courses may be available in your area.
Previous experience in design is really helpful for this career.
CAD Drafters can branch off into different elements of the field. You can be a specialist in a certain material, a Project Design Engineer, or a Practice Manager.
To enter a degree course in engineering, you will usually need:
- 2/3 A levels, including maths, English, physics or engineering science
- GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in your A level subjects
- a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and an additional science subject
However, course requirements vary, so please check college/university websites very carefully
Some universities offer foundation courses for applicants without the appropriate maths and science qualifications.
To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.
To enter a relevant HND, HNC or foundation degree, you will usually need:
- 1 A level where preferred subjects include maths, physics and engineering science.
- a GCSE at grade C/4 or above in your A level subject
- a further 3/4 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English, maths and a science subject
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
Professional institutionsProfessional institutions have the following roles:
- To support their members.
- To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.
Both the IStructE and the ICE are the professional institutions for people working in civil and structural engineering fields.
Skills for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies
Address: 14 Upton Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JT
Tel: 0845 6439001
Publisher: EngineeringUK and Royal Academy of Engineering
Skills for the construction industry
Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH
Northern Ireland Enquiries
Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR
Tel: 028 9082 5466
Construction Employers Federation (CEF)
Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU
Tel: 028 9087 7143
Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)
Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP
Tel: 01923 260000