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Computer-aided design (CAD) technician

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Summary of occupation

Computer-aided design (CAD) technicians work in the engineering, construction or manufacturing industries and use software to create design plans for machinery and buildings. They produce electronic versions of technical drawings and schematics that can be used by engineers to prepare costing estimates, to build prototypes and design components, to generate a virtual tour of a proposed structure, or for the creation of maintenance manuals.

CAD technicians can work in architecture and design, civil and mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering, and within the electronics and telecommunication industries.

ANZSCO description: Prepares detailed computer-aided design drawings, schematics and plans of engineering work in support of architects, engineers and engineering technologists.
Alternative names:
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A CAD technician needs:

  • an interest in engineering and technical work
  • creative flair and designing abilities
  • good problem solving skills
  • attention to detail
  • good communication skills
  • to be able to work alone or as part of a team.
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Working conditions

​CAD technicians usually work indoors in design offices, in architectural or engineering firms, where they may work as part of a team. They usually spend most of their time at a CAD workstation, although they may sometimes update physical technical drawings. Depending on the industry in which they work, they may be required to visit manufacturing factories or foundries, or work on-site for a project.

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Salary details

​On average, CAD technicians, classified under other miscellaneous technicians and trade workers, can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a CAD technician develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

​CAD technicians work on computers and must be proficient in a number of computer-aided design software packages, which may vary depending on the industry in which they work. They may also consult plans and materials against a range of standards and codes to ensure that a finished structure or product complies with Australian and State law.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a CAD technician, you usually need to complete a VET qualification in building design, civil construction design or engineering – technical.

VET qualifications in building design, civil construction design, engineering – technical, and residential drafting are widely available at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can also complete a traineeship. The draftsperson (mechanical detail), mechanical engineering technician, engineering associate – mechanical, civil engineering drafting assistant and the civil construction designer traineeships usually take 12 to 36 months to complete.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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