Design & planning

CAD technician

Computer-aided design (CAD) technicians use software to design buildings, machinery, goods and components.

Annual Salary

£15,000 to £35,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40

Future employment

There will be 1% more CAD technician jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • use software to draw 2D or 3D images of products or parts of a product
  • work with engineers to design parts for machinery
  • help engineers estimate the cost of a product


You could start by doing a higher national diploma or degree that includes computer-aided design work. For example:

  • construction
  • architectural technology
  • product design
  • design engineering

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree


You could train in computer-aided design by taking a college course like:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Engineering Technology
  • Level 2 Certificate in Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing
  • Level 3 Diploma in Design and Draughting

You'll usually need:

  • GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English, maths and ICT


You could complete an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in engineering, manufacturing or construction. The exact apprenticeship you take will depend on your job role but there are several that include computer-aided design work.

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

£15,000 to £35,000

Starter salary: £15,000 to £20,000

Experienced salary: £22,000 to £30,000

These figures are a guide.

35 to 40

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

You'll work in a design office, working at a CAD design workstation or on a PC.

For construction and engineering design projects you could be based on a building site.

With experience, you could register with the Engineering Council to get Engineering Technician (EngTech) status.

You could become a team or section leader, project manager or site manager. With further training, you could become a design or software engineer.

You could work freelance.

Some colleges may specialise in particular computer-aided design packages, for example:

  • AutoCAD LT
  • Civil 3D
  • SolidWorks
  • Autodesk 3ds Max

You can find more details about working and training in computer-aided design through Go Construct and The Institution of Engineering Designers.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • maths skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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