From CAD School to Career

Learn about computer aided design schools and CAD career opportunities.

Computer Aided Design (sometimes seen as CAD or CADD—computer aided design and drafting) relates to the use of a computer and graphics technology in industrial design applications. A CAD school typically offers courses in drafting, building mechanical and electrical systems, 3-D modeling, mechanical and architectural design, and commercial construction methods, among others.

Professions After Graduation

model house with auto cad plans

After CAD school, many enter the field as a drafter. Drafters prepare technical drawings and plans used by production and construction workers to build everything from manufactured products such as toys, toasters, industrial machinery and spacecraft, to structures such as houses, office buildings, and oil and gas pipelines.

Their drawings provide visual guidelines, show the technical details of the products and structures, and specify dimensions, materials and procedures. Drafters fill in technical details, using drawings, rough sketches, specifications, codes and calculations previously made by engineers, surveyors, architects or scientists.

Professions after CAD school that use computer aided design systems:

  • Architecture
  • Civil Drafting
  • Electrical and Electronics Drafting
  • Interior Design
  • Mechanical Drafting

Computer Aided Drafting Salaries

Salaries for drafters vary by specialty and level of responsibility. Check the professions below that use CAD technology to find their median salaries.

Career SpecialtyMedian Annual Salary*
Architectural and Civil Drafters $49,970
Mechanical Engineers $83,060
Electrical and Electronics Drafters $58,790

Sources:  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition; Architectural and Civil Drafters; Mechanical Engineers; Electrical and Electronics Drafters.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.