The career path of CAD engineering, salary, rates, and more


If you are drawn to a career that utilizes CAD, you may have already looked into becoming a CAD engineer. The term CAD means “Computer-Aided Design” and holds an array of jobs under its umbrella. A CAD engineer has a particular profession as they create designs in 2D and 3D drafting projects for various plans.
These plans can be used in many different fields, ranging from mechanical to electrical including chemical engineering. This article is designed to look at a CAD engineer’s tasks and what you can expect in this role.

Required Education

A CAD engineer evaluates and determines whether the schematics being created are possible to produce. CAD Engineering is a highly skilled profession that requires special education involving different software in CAD design, including AutoCAD, Pro/ENGINEER, and SolidWorks. On top of basic engineering, one must undergo an extensive understanding of their chosen field for particular engineering projects such as science, physics, mathematic principles.

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement when getting into a relevant field as a CAD engineer. Keep in mind that specific projects may require even higher education such as a master’s degree, or even a doctorate. Some may also require extensive work experience. There are engineering programs that have co-op programs that allow you to gain work experience and a degree simultaneously, giving you a competitive advantage once you are in the field.

Finally, once you gain proper education, the next step is to receive certification in AutoCAD or other related software which is an addition to your education.

Role of the CAD engineer

While the general concept of CAD engineering is producing 2D and 3D drafting plans for particular projects, there are numerous additional details a CAD engineer is responsible for.

A CAD Engineer will design the framework for the project, which includes detailed construction plans for architects or other engineers from different disciplines. The CAD designer may also have to choose what materials are suitable for the project and striking a balance between safety and cost-effectiveness for the employer.

Overall, coding and testing are required in order to figure out what works best. When leading a team, a CAD engineer’s role is to instruct the required procedures to ensure quality and safety.

Inevitably, obstacles will come up during a project. When a customer has a specific problem they want solving in their project, typically, the engineer’s responsibility is to work out a solution. This means troubleshooting common issues and sometimes unique situations as well.

The role of a CAD engineer is comprehensive and includes everything from leadership and CAD drawing to coding and having a deep understanding of science and math. Think you meet all of these requirements? You may be suitable as a CAD engineer.

RELATED: 3D Modeling & CAD Design: Recent Examples from the Cad Crowd Gallery


Salary of a CAD engineer

With proper education, experience, and skills, a CAD Engineer ought to have a salary worth the effort they invested. While the wage will fluctuate depending on qualifications you can expect a median salary of $71,398 a year. The highest-earning engineers earn as much as $135,500 annually (34 dollars an hour.) Ultimately, CAD engineer freelancers set their own prices. Although this can impact how much you make, depending on how high or low your rates are per project.

Skills needed

Not only is education an important factor in becoming a CAD engineer, but additional knowledge is also required which may not be offered in college programs. These skills include:

An understanding of the CAD business

Most plans you will be designing must be functional and aesthetically pleasing as it is most likely to become a product that will eventually be sold. It is also helpful to meet with the clients and listen to their goals to produce a product that meets their needs.

Attention to detail

Having a careless or sloppy approach simply shows that CAD engineering is not the right job for you. Mistakes can quickly occur without careful attention to the plan and when company rules aren’t followed. It’s essential to pay attention to the needs of your client, as well as the project itself, to avoid them.

RELATED: 3D CAD Services by Freelancers on CAD Crowd


Clear communication skills

Your client will depend on you to provide them any progress report and explain what is going on with a project. Clear communication helps avoid misunderstandings or disappointing a client when an expected time frame cannot be met. Of all the needed skills for CAD Engineering out there, this is the most important one.

Leadership skills

As an engineer working on a team, you will frequently find yourself at the head of it. Drafters and other team members will need your guidance to help the project continue smoothly. Good leadership skills can help move the project move forward quickly, without problems due to misunderstanding.


CAD Engineering is a robust career because you will be creating something out of virtually nothing. You’ll need to imagine what a client is looking for in great detail and develop a path towards bringing it into reality. This is an incredible skill, and not everyone possesses it. If you’re naturally creative, however, this may be a great career path for you. CAD Engineering is a blooming field for the best person. If you are detail-oriented, creative, have good leadership skills, and have a good grasp of math, you may find this field to be exciting and abundant for your needs. 

How CAD Crowd can help

New contests are constantly launched on Cad Crowd. If you’re a designer, participating in contests is a great way to flex your muscle, improve your ranking in the Cad Crowd community, and win yourself some prize money. If you need design work, Cad Crowd crowdsourcing contests are the best around! Learn how it works, or launch your own contest today!