Use Computer-Aided Design programs to create new tools and products. Develop detailed design drawings and specifications for mechanical equipment, dies, tools, and controls using computer-aided design (CAD) software. Similar software may be used once the design is final to direct the computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) of the product. CAD skills are also useful in many other careers such as engineering.

Make a Difference

A Typical Day

  • Review and analyze specifications, sketches, drawings, ideas, and related data to assess factors affecting component designs and the procedures and instructions to be followed.
  • Lay out and draw schematic, orthographic, or angle views to depict functional relationships of components, assemblies, systems, and machines.
  • Produce 3D models using computer-aided design (CAD) software.
  • Modify and revise designs to correct operating deficiencies or to reduce production problems.
 

Recommended Credentials

Associate degree

Education & Training

Regional employers often hire graduates of these programs.

 

Northwest Lower Michigan

 

Computer Aided Design Certificate
— North Central Michigan College
Engineering Technology Associates Degree
— Northwestern Michigan College
Engineering Certificate or Associate in Science & Arts
— Northwestern Michigan College

Explore This Career

Try it before you buy it!

  • Attend Manufacturing Day
  • Take high school math classes
  • Take a free CAD course online
  • Learn how to use the 3D printer at the Traverse Area District Library or your high school

The Local Advantage Learning Pathway

Pathway 1

Robotics and Automation Northwest Education Services (formerly TBAISD) Career Tech Center - Drafting & Design Online
Ask your counselor about dual enrollment at NMC.

Dual enroll at NMC - Print Reading and Sketching (DD101)
Dual enroll at NMC - Machining I (MFG 113)
Dual enroll at NMC - Machining II (MFG 114)

Pathway 2

Northwestern Michigan College
Additional Drafting & Design courses 
Internship

 

Pathway 3

Northwestern Michigan College
Engineering Technologies
Associates of Applied Sciences 

 

Sample Employers in Our Region

Click the logos below to learn more.

TIP

Contact one of these companies and ask for an informational interview, to see if you can job shadow, or to find out if they hire interns.

 

Sample Job Titles...

  • Designer
  • CAD Designer
  • Industrial Designer
  • CAD/CAM Programmer
 

Hear It From The Pros

10-Year Job Growth Projections

0%
10-County Region
-8%
Michigan
-8%
U.S.

Employed Regionally

40
In 2021

Wage Range & Median 10-County Region

$37,120
$60,110 
$100,680

Annual Hires Regionally

15
In 2021

Other Regional Career Resources

Learn more about Mechanical Drafters at O*Net Online.

Sample Career Pathways

Click to download a PDF of this diagram.

Diagram of Paths To and From Other Careers for Designer Drafters CAD-CAM

Related Careers

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Real World Career Pathways

It doesn't have to be a straight shot! Hear from people who have taken unique pathways.