Career Guide

CAD Technician

Emily Hanson  · Aug 18th 2022

CAD technicians act as a bridge between designers and a final physical product.

CAD Technician

They turn complex ideas and initial designs into technical 2D and 3D drawings, which can be used to create large-scale machinery, buildings, technology and more.

Autocad technician

What is a CAD Technician?

A CAD Technician makes use of computer-aided design programs to create scalable, user-friendly designs for mass production. They’re also known as a draughtsperson, a design technician, or a CAD engineer. CAD technicians usually sit within a team of designers, engineers and manufacturers and are key to turning a product idea into a realistic plan for production.

CAD drawings are used at all stages of the creation process. They’re particularly important for informing budget plans, deciding on product costs, and even working out the overall workload needed to get a physical product out there.

There are three main routes into qualifying for CAD design jobs: a degree, a college course, or an apprenticeship.

CAD Technicians are needed in a variety of different industries. However, you’re most likely to find CAD jobs within construction, engineering and manufacturing industries. You’ll usually specialise within a particular area of design, from designing vehicles to large-scale architecture.


The responsibilities of your role depend on the industry you design for, though some common duties are:

  • Assessing your drawings against technical specifications and health and safety standards, ensuring they are useable by other teams.
  • Carrying out site visits and inspections where required to ensure that CAD plans are being followed correctly and that they meet specifications.
  • Giving advice for making amendments to planned products, such as the feasibility of designs based on physical laws and costings.
  • Liaising with a large team of initial designers, engineers or architects to get a gauge of the overall product, what it will be used for, and what it should look like.
  • Presenting your designs to wider boards, explaining your thought process and how the designs can be applied for wider production.
  • Using 2D and 3D design software to create these designs, regularly feeding back to the rest of the design team to adapt the plans as you go.
  • Using mathematical skills to assess measurements, working out costings of production and ensuring the planned product works as it should.

CAD engineer salary


A CAD technician salary is dependent upon a variety of factors. Trainee CAD jobs are lower on the salary scale, while experienced CAD technicians will earn more. Technicians working closer to London will also attract higher pay. The specific industry you work in will also impact your salary, as well as the size of your company. It’s worth looking around at different employers to see what the salary range is within your area of specialism.

Your typical junior CAD designer salary starts off at £17,000 to £20,000. If you begin your career by working in a CAD apprenticeship as a trainee CAD technician, your salary will be dictated by the UK’s apprenticeship wage. This is based on your age and how long you have been in your apprenticeship. For those aged 19 and under, and in the first year of their apprenticeship, the wage is £4.81 per hour. Once you are over 19 and past your first year, you’ll receive minimum wage for CAD apprenticeships.

Much of your training and development in this role will happen as you progress through your career.

As you gain more experience, you can expect salaries between £20,000 and £35,000. The more responsibilities you take on in your role, such as overseeing particular areas of production or managing junior technicians, the higher your salary is likely to be. Chartered CAD technicians and those working within large companies can fetch salaries of £50,000 or higher.


There are three main routes into qualifying for CAD design jobs: a degree, a college course, or an apprenticeship.

Several different degrees will set you in good stead for a role in CAD design. You’ll want a degree that works on technical knowledge, and one that provides a good grasp of engineering and mathematics. Once you’ve completed your degree, you’ll be ready to apply for entry-level roles in CAD. Examples include:

One of the most common routes to qualify for CAD technician jobs is an apprenticeship. CAD apprenticeships are usually taken at intermediate or advanced level, alongside a relevant employer. There isn’t a specifically named CAD technician apprenticeship to qualify you. Instead, you’ll want to look for apprenticeships in engineering, manufacturing, or construction. Make sure to look into the coverage of the qualification to see that it includes teaching in computer-aided design.

For an intermediate apprenticeship, you’ll need to have some GCSEs, including a pass in English and Maths. For an advanced apprenticeship, this increases to needing 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A*-C) including English and Maths.

CAD courses at college level have a variety of different titles from Engineering Design through to Construction and Manufacturing and can be taken at Level 2 and Level 3. You’ll likely need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A*-C) to get started, but look into the specifics that your local college requests to get a better idea of what might work for you.

Revit technician jobs

Training and development

Much of your training and development in this role will happen as you progress through your career. You’ll receive your initial training as part of your apprenticeship or course provider, but you’ll learn a great deal as you take part in different projects.

Work experience in a manufacturing or engineering company will set you in great stead for applications to junior roles.

Experienced CAD technicians often choose to register with professional CAD bodies to achieve recognition for their higher-level skill set. You can register with the UK’s Engineering Council to access EngTech status, which sets you in great stead when applying for more senior roles within a company.


To be a competitive applicant for CAD technician jobs, you’ll need a robust skill set. While the below areas of knowledge and experience aren’t all essential, they’re a good idea of what an employer would be after.

  • A good grasp of engineering and mathematics principles relevant to CAD.
  • An understanding of health and safety protocols and other areas of compliance.
  • Communication skills - you’ll be working closely with team members of other disciplines, explaining and analysing your designs in an accessible way for those who may not be familiar with CAD.
  • Competence with CAD software, such as AutoCad, Fusion 360 and LibreCad.
  • Excellent attention to detail - it’s up to you to spot issues in early designs and ensure they’re fixed before getting to the technical stage.
  • Flexibility - issues will crop up throughout production and it’s up to you to adjust your drafts to solve them.
  • Problem-solving skills - you’ll regularly be faced with designs that won’t work on a large scale or aren’t economically feasible, and it’s up to you to work out how to make them operational.
  • Technical drawing ability and an awareness of using physical laws when designing products.

Development engineer

Work Experience

Work experience in a manufacturing or engineering company will set you in great stead for applications to junior roles.

If you’re already on an apprenticeship, your course provider and employer will provide you with the necessary experience to prepare you for a job role. If you’re on a degree or college course, however, you’ll want to ensure you have some direct work experience alongside your study.

A CAD Technician makes use of computer-aided design programs to create scalable, user-friendly designs for mass production.

If you’re part of a university or college course, many large manufacturing and engineering firms have internships and shadowing programs for you to take advantage of. These programs often occur over the summer, when you’re on a break from studying. Universities and colleges will connect their students with representatives from different companies offering placements, and they’ll help you in your application; some courses even include this as part of their study.

Career Prospects

With experience, many CAD technicians become project or site managers. You’ll take on responsibility for larger projects, as well as line managing junior cad technicians.

Some individuals decide to take their skills from working with an employer and become freelance CAD technician. They make themselves available for AutoCad jobs, CAD contract jobs and technical drawing work to multiple companies and stakeholders. Remote CAD jobs have become particularly popular in the last few years, as qualified technicians can enjoy the flexibility of working from home, on their own terms.

As CAD work operates within a variety of different industries and disciplines, you’re also likely to be exposed to a breadth of different job roles. You might find that CAD work ignites an interest in other areas of manufacturing and design, applying for product design engineering jobs, or you could take on further training to work in architecture, graphic design or engineering.

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