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

CAD/CAM Specialist career and educational opportunities abound in Elgin, Illinois. There are currently 2,560 working CAD/CAM Specialists in Illinois; this should grow 8% to 2,760 working CAD/CAM Specialists in the state by 2016. 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 per hour or $48,420 yearly on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $22 hourly or $46,640 yearly. Incomes for CAD/CAM Specialists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Drafting in Illinois, and not quite as good as the overall Drafting category nationally. CAD/CAM Specialists work in a variety of jobs, including: mechanical designer, cad/cam specialist , and technical illustrator.

There are sixty-one schools of higher education in the Elgin area, including one within twenty-five miles of Elgin where you can get a degree to start your career as a CAD/CAM Specialist. 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 training to become a CAD/CAM Specialist if you already have a high school diploma.


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 Elgin 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 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.


Kishwaukee College - Malta, IL

Kishwaukee College, 21193 Malta Rd, Malta, IL 60150-9699. Kishwaukee College is a small college located in Malta, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,134 students. Kishwaukee College has a less than one year program in Mechanical Drafting and Mechanical Drafting CAD/CADD which graduated one student in 2008.


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.


Elgin, Illinois
Elgin, Illinois photo by James Jordan

Elgin is located in Kane County, Illinois. It has a population of over 106,330, which has grown by 12.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Elgin, 104, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Elgin cost $156,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-two new homes were constructed in Elgin, down from seven hundred fifty-six the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Elgin are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, metal and metal products, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 20.5% of Elgin residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Elgin is 12.4%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Elgin residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church and Saint Thomas More Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Elgin. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Elgin is home to the Fox Bluff Corporate Center and the Elgin Fire Station Number 2 as well as Wing Park and College Park. Shopping malls in the area include Wing Park Manor Shopping Center, Tyler Creek Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Elgin can choose from Elgin-Days Inn, Colonial Lodge Motel and Crowne Plaza for temporary stays in the area.