CAD Drafter


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

Work Activities

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:

  • maps
  • diagrams
  • 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:

  • bridges
  • motorways
  • piping systems
  • machinery
  • 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 agency.

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

Entry routes

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 'Internships', for more details.


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.

Work Experience

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.

Further Information

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



Tomorrow's Engineers

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)

Irish enquiries

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



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