CAD/CAM Drafter

$78,540 earning potential

Computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) drafters take the vision of an architect or engineer and use computer software to create 2D design drawings or 3D simulations to aid in production. Drafters can work in a broad range of fields, so their designs could lead to sleek electronics or towering buildings.

This option is for you if:

You’re detail-oriented with an eye for the fine print

You’re creative or artistic

You have good communication skills

You’re good with computers

You have a positive, "can do" attitude

AARON SMITH

PRODUCT DEVELOPER

High school: Mammoth Spring High School

Age: 20

Where I trained: University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville

What I Earned: Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Technology

SALARY INFO:

HIGH-END EARNERS IN ARKANSAS (TOP 10%):

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AVAILABLE WAGES IN ARKANSAS:

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Median Annual Wages

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Median Hourly Wage

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Develop plans or layouts utilizing computer-aided design software
  • Work with architects or engineers to create accurate design for products
  • Include precise details such as the dimensions and materials
  • Communicate with the company about codes, standards and specifications
  • Conduct product design, development and testing

JOB OUTLOOK:

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Expected growth from 2016 to 2026 in Arkansas

I feel that I have access to many different kinds of resources and capacities that most people will never have access to. I can design almost anything I want and have it in my hand in five days."

INTERESTING FACT:

Aaron started off as an intern at Intimidator Group. When his manager saw him excel as an intern, he offered Aaron a full-time job.

HISTORY LESSON:

Designing and manufacturing used to be separate beasts. The introduction of CAD/CAM software unified the process, allowing one person to produce all aspects of the finished product.

UPWARD MOBILITY:

"I’ve started at this company at a middle tier. The company is continuing to grow at an exponential rate, which hopefully means that there is only room to grow."

RELATED OCCUPATIONS:

Mechanical drafters, electrical drafters, civil drafters, commercial and industrial designers, mapping technicians

I like being able to design something from scratch and seeing it through all the way until it’s a finished product. I also like being able to think of an idea, turn it into a reality, and hold it in my hand."

Whenever something is designed, you have to take in to consideration fabrication, assembly, and function to be able to truly make a good design."