CAD technician

CAD technologist draughtsperson engineering technician CAD designer

Career outlook for CAD technician

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


Five year job forecast


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

What's it like?

You would draw plans and create 3D designs for buildings and machinery so that engineers and technicians can understand their construction.

You’d use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create design plans for buildings and machinery.

You could work in a wide range of industries, such as engineering, construction and manufacturing.

The engineering team would meet with you to discuss what they are planning to build. You’d then create a clear and detailed drawing or model of the item.

The engineers would use it to test their ideas before they build a prototype. The designs would also be used to help prepare cost estimates for projects.

For some projects - for example, a design for a new car - you’d use surface modelling to draw a flat 2D representation.

To create a 3D display of a structure or component you'd use solid modelling. The engineers could then use the model to take a virtual tour. For example, they could ‘go inside’ a new building to decide where to fit electrical cabling or to 'look inside' a piece of manufacturing machinery to see where they could make improvements.

The production staff in the factory would use your detailed diagrams as a guide to make the product; you might need to explain the designs to them.

You'd also write and draw the instructions for assembling the product or create guides for the technicians who do the installation, servicing and repairs.

CAD work could have different names depending on the industry, including:

  • Computer aided industrial design (CAID)
  • Computer aided engineering (CAE)
  • Computer aided styling (CAS)
  • Computer aided manufacturing (CAM)

You would usually work in a small team managed by a design engineer, with each person working on a different part of a project.

Working conditions


You would work 35 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday.


You would be based at a design office, working at a CAD design workstation or on a PC.


For construction and engineering design work you might be asked to work on site for part of the project.

UK employment status





Self employed


People behind the job

Meet real people who’ve done this job – hear their stories and the path they took to get there.

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Developing a plan
  • Attention to detail
  • Working with technology
  • Written communication
  • Cooperating
  • Creative
  • Working with numbers
  • Problem solving

Build your skills

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


You would need qualifications at SCQF levels 4 to 6, a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or a Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8).

Or relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in engineering or engineering construction (SVQ level 2/3).


Useful subjects

Courses and employers may require:

  • English 
  • Maths 
  • Physics 
  • Design & Manufacture 
  • Graphic Communication
  • Technologies subjects such as Computing Science and Engineering

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show computing skills and an understanding of industrial design such as:

  • Skills for Work Creative & Digital (SCQF level 4)
  • Creative Industries (SCQF level 5)