Computer Aided Design Salaries: Average Salary of a Computer Aided Design Professional

Published Oct 28, 2009

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Computer aided design professionals create sketches, plans and renderings for all types of objects, from toy prototypes to skyscrapers. Computer aided designers work in various industries, such as construction, engineering and transportation. Based on data from 2008 and 2009, computer aided design professionals can expect to earn $30,000 to $60,000 each year.

Computer Aided Design Career Summary

Computer aided design professionals render electronic drawings that can be created, reviewed, revised and printed with computer aided drafting software. Most drafters hold associate's degrees in computer aided design or drafting. However, some hold bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering, industrial design or civil engineering. Students of an associate's degree program in computer aided design study AutoCAD, industrial electrical systems, technical graphics and product design. They may also take courses in building mechanics and residential and commercial architecture.

Drafters or design professionals provide building plans and mechanical directions for commercial and residential house plans, bridges, skyscrapers and even toy products. Many work 40-hour work weeks and frequently use computers, calculators, tables and technical books each day. Computer aided designers may hold positions as architectural drafters, civil drafters, electrical drafters or mechanical drafters.

Computer Aided Design Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS),, forecasts slow growth for computer aided designers or drafters from 2008 through 2018. The BLS predicts a four percent growth rate for drafters during that time period. New jobs will result from increased industrial growth and the need for professionals to solve increasingly complex design problems. Many new drafters will also be needed to replace retirees.

According to the BLS, computer aided designers earned an average annual salary of $47,290 in 2008. However, annual salaries vary a bit based on specializations. For example, architectural and civil drafters earned a mean annual salary of $46,390 while electrical drafters earned $53,770. Drafters may also find employment as landscape architects, engineering technicians, science technicians or surveyors. Drafters may choose to advance their careers by pursuing advanced degrees in engineering.

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