iExplore Manufacturing Careers

Computer Aided Design (CAD) Operator

If you’re totally at home in front of a computer screen and enjoy learning new software programs, you could make it as a CAD operator. This key employee is responsible for developing product designs before any manufacturing begins. The design process starts with an initial rough sketch of the part or product no matter how small or large the final piece will be. This helps the operator arrive at the preliminary dimensions of the project.

After the proportions have been worked out, the CAD operator uses with software created specifically to create new parts for manufacturing. Most of these programs provide a truly realistic 3-D view of the project in progress. The design can be rotated, seen from every angle, and fine tuned to make certain that every measurement and feature conforms with the part’s specifications. A cad operator needs to take into consideration the material being used… and how the part will be created in the manufacturing process.

Some programs allow the operator to work with customers and their CAD operators…merging designs remotely to make sure that the part will fit into or complement existing parts in a production system. After the design has been verified and checked, the operator is able to create exact blueprints for the mechanics to work from on the production floor.

This is a challenging and exciting career with opportunities for growth and advancement.

By planning the right training program after high school, you can make it as a CAD operator. These professionals earn an average annual salary of about $44,000 a year in south central Pennsylvania. It’s estimated that this job will enjoy a 10% growth in employment openings nationally through the next decade. Many companies in this area are looking for trained and enthusiastic workers who want to make it BIG as a CAD operator.