How Do I Become a CAD Drafter?

Complete a college level course in computer aided design, master at least one of the drafting software packages commonly used in the industry, and complete an internship under the supervision of experienced CAD drafters to become a CAD drafter. Pre-college courses in subjects like geometry, trigonometry, drawing, architectural history, and basic computer applications can also be beneficial in preparing for this type of technical profession. Professionals in the field of computer aided drafting usually have extensive backgrounds in two- and three-dimensional design concepts, so studying these subjects can help someone who wants to work as a CAD drafter.

CAD draftsmen and draftswomen work in a variety of fields, including architecture, interior design, mechanical engineering, and the planning of manufacturing equipment. They can usually draw a variety of blueprints and plans to detailed specifications, and they can also update those plans as needed. While mastery of CAD software is commonly emphasized, experts in this field emphasize that the software is only a tool. In order to understand how to apply the fundamental drafting techniques, you’ll also need to learn how to correctly hand-draw these types of documents in order to become a CAD drafter.

Employers in the field of computer aided design typically seek new hires with a two-year CAD degree from a technical school or community college. Some four-year architecture programs include CAD software training, and some aspiring CAD drafters can learn the trade while serving in the military. Hand-drafting, blueprint reading, construction standards, and the proper use of tools like engineering and architectural measurement scales are all part of a typical CAD degree program. Basic graphic design and advanced applied mathematics, as well as construction materials and methods, are all optional courses for a student aspiring to be a CAD drafter.

Advanced CAD students are frequently required to complete a set of courses and lab hours in the use of industry-standard CAD software as part of their degree program. Many of these programs also require the submission of a portfolio that includes at least one set of blueprints for a construction project from beginning to end. Prior to or shortly after graduation, completing a quality internship is also a recommended option. If you are dedicated and hardworking, you can frequently become a CAD drafter with the same company where you interned.