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Career and Education Opportunities for CAD/CAM Specialists in Chicago, Illinois

CAD/CAM Specialists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Chicago, Illinois area. About 2,560 people are currently employed as CAD/CAM Specialists in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow 8% to about 2,760 people employed. This is better than the national trend for CAD/CAM Specialists, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 1.1% over the next eight years. CAD/CAM Specialists generally prepare detailed working diagrams of machinery and mechanical devices, including dimensions, and other engineering information.

CAD/CAM Specialists earn approximately $23 hourly or $48,420 per year on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $22 hourly or $46,640 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Drafting, people working as CAD/CAM Specialists in Illinois earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Drafting nationally. People working as CAD/CAM Specialists can fill a number of jobs, such as: autocad designer, electro-mechanical designer, and pattern drafter.

There are five schools within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a CAD/CAM Specialist, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. The most common level of education for CAD/CAM Specialists is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. You can expect to spend about two years studying to be a CAD/CAM Specialist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: CAD/CAM Specialist

CAD/CAM Specialist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, CAD/CAM Specialists prepare detailed working diagrams of machinery and mechanical devices, including dimensions, and other engineering information.

CAD/CAM Specialists direct and consult other staff to lay out or detail components. They also modify and revise designs to fix operating deficiencies or to decrease production problems. Equally important, CAD/CAM Specialists have to lay out and draw schematic, orthographic, or angle views to depict functional relationships of components and machines. They are often called upon to develop detailed layout drawings and requirements for mechanical equipment and controls, using computer-assisted drafting (CAD) equipment. They are expected to position instructions and comments onto drawings. Finally, CAD/CAM Specialists inspect and analyze specifications, sketches and related data to gauge factors affecting component designs and the procedures and instructions to be followed.

Every day, CAD/CAM Specialists are expected to be able to see details at a very fine level of focus. They need to visualize how things come together and can be organized. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for CAD/CAM Specialists to check dimensions of materials to be used and assign numbers to the materials. They are often called upon to compute mathematical formulas to evolve and layout detailed requirements for components or machinery using computer-assisted equipment. They also lay out and reproduce illustrations for reference manuals and technical publications to define operation and maintenance of mechanical systems. They are sometimes expected to layout scale or full-size blueprints of specialty items such as furniture and automobile body or chassis components. Somewhat less frequently, CAD/CAM Specialists are also expected to draw freehand sketches of designs, trace finished drawings onto designated paper for the reproduction of blueprints, and reproduce working drawings on copy machines.

And finally, they sometimes have to layout scale or full-size blueprints of specialty items such as furniture and automobile body or chassis components.

Like many other jobs, CAD/CAM Specialists must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Architectural Drafter. Prepare detailed drawings of architectural designs and plans for buildings and structures according to specifications provided by architect.
  • Civil Draftsman. Prepare drawings and topographical and relief maps used in civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, pipelines, flood control projects, and water and sewerage control systems.
  • Civil Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures, and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, water and sewage systems, and waste disposal units. Includes architectural, structural, and geo-technical engineers.
  • Civil Engineering Technician. Apply theory and principles of civil engineering in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of structures and facilities under the direction of engineering staff or physical scientists.
  • Electronics Engineering Technician. Lay out, build, and modify developmental and production electronic components, parts, and systems, such as computer equipment, missile control instrumentation, electron tubes, and machine tool numerical controls, applying principles and theories of electronics, electrical circuitry, engineering mathematics, electronic and electrical testing, and physics. Usually work under direction of engineering staff.
  • Equipment Engineering Technician. Apply electrical theory and related knowledge to test and modify developmental or operational electrical machinery and electrical control equipment and circuitry in industrial or commercial plants and laboratories. Usually work under direction of engineering staff.
  • Mechanical Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, and other mechanically functioning equipment. Oversee installation, operation, and repair of such equipment as centralized heat, gas, and steam systems.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: CAD/CAM Specialist Training

City Colleges of Chicago-Harry S Truman College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Harry S Truman College, 1145 W Wilson Ave., Chicago, IL 60640-6063. City Colleges of Chicago-Harry S Truman College is a large college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,835 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Harry S Truman College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Mechanical Drafting and Mechanical Drafting CAD/CADD which graduated two and one students respectively in 2008.

Purdue University-Calumet Campus - Hammond, IN

Purdue University-Calumet Campus, 2200 169th St, Hammond, IN 46323-2094. Purdue University-Calumet Campus is a medium sized university located in Hammond, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 9,325 students and an admission rate of 74%. Purdue University-Calumet Campus has less than one year, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree programs in Mechanical Drafting and Mechanical Drafting CAD/CADD which graduated nine, nineteen, and twenty-six students respectively in 2008.

City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College, 4300 N Narragansett, Chicago, IL 60634-1500. City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College is a large college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,677 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College has a one to two year program in Mechanical Drafting and Mechanical Drafting CAD/CADD which graduated six students in 2008.

Morton College - Cicero, IL

Morton College, 3801 S Central Ave, Cicero, IL 60804-4398. Morton College is a small college located in Cicero, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,959 students. Morton College has a less than one year program in Mechanical Drafting and Mechanical Drafting CAD/CADD which graduated one student in 2008.

Moraine Valley Community College - Palos Hills, IL

Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, IL 60465-0937. Moraine Valley Community College is a large college located in Palos Hills, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,477 students. Moraine Valley Community College has a one to two year program in Mechanical Drafting and Mechanical Drafting CAD/CADD which graduated three students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing Professional - Technologist: ASME GDTP Certification provides the means to recognize proficiency in the understanding and application of the geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) principles expressed in the ASME Y14.

For more information, see the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International website.

Certified Transfer Station Technical Associate: This certification was developed to address the increased interest in transfer stations and provide transfer station managers and others the opportunity to learn more about transfer station design and operation.

For more information, see the Solid Waste Association of North America website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.