Careers in Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD)

student working on computer

A mechanical drafter interprets engineering information in the form of sketches, plans and detailed drawings to be used in manufacturing and construction. A drafter may also work under engineers. As a graduate of this program, you will be expected to apply skills in the following:

  • Computer aided design (CADD) software
  • Mechanical reasoning
  • Abstract and spatial concepts
  • Industry standards for drafting

What will I do on the job?

The design drafter is a skilled technician who starts with a design and develops the working drawings required to guide the production of machines or products. Industrial drafters and designers are concerned with the development and drawing of machines, castings, tooling jigs and fixtures, piping and structural details, sheet metal layouts and pictorial drawings. They are also concerned with the development and drawing of fluid power, kinematics, electrical and electronic schematics.

What skills will I use on the job?

The PCC Computer Aided Design and Drafting CADD (formerly Drafting Technology and Design) program is designed to develop your skills in areas such as freehand sketching, drawing organization, computer-aided drafting (including AutoCAD, Inventor or SolidWorks), proper line work, abstract and mechanical reasoning, spatial relations, and graphic design and layout.

Who will hire me?

Demand is high for skilled design drafters, and growth is predicted in the field. Drafters are hired by firms of all sizes or are self-employed. Many opportunities exist for drafters, including product design, electronic schematic, sheet metal layout, structural steel detailing, special tools and fixtures, and machine design. Graduates find work in manufacturing firms, construction companies, engineering firms, along with city, state and federal agencies. Graduates of PCC’s Drafting program have been hired by organizations such as A-DEC, CH2M Hill, the City of Portland, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ESI, FPS Computing, Freightliner Corporation, KPFF Consulting Engineers, Mentor Graphics Corporation, NACCO, Tektronix, Williams Air Controls, CD Medikol Mechanical Kidney Machines, Allied Systems Heavy Equipment and HuntAir.

How much can I earn?

The approximate yearly salaries in the Portland metropolitan area begin between $25,000 and $30,000. Experienced design drafters earn $35,000 to $47,000 a year.


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