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Career and Education Opportunities for CAD/CAM Specialists in Charleston, South Carolina

There are many career and education opportunities for CAD/CAM Specialists in the Charleston, South Carolina area. There are currently 920 working CAD/CAM Specialists in South Carolina; this should grow by 12% to 1,030 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 about $25 per hour or $52,570 annually on average in South Carolina and about $22 per hour or $46,640 per year on average nationally. Earnings for CAD/CAM Specialists are better than earnings in the general category of Drafting in South Carolina and not quite as good as general Drafting category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: controls designer, cad operator , and auto design detailer.

The Charleston area is home to fourteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can get a degree as a CAD/CAM Specialist. Given that the most common education level 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 Charleston include:

  • 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.


Trident Technical College - Charleston, SC

Trident Technical College, 7000 Rivers Avenue, Charleston, SC 29423-8067. Trident Technical College is a large college located in Charleston, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,758 students. Trident Technical College has a less than one year program in Mechanical Drafting and Mechanical Drafting CAD/CADD which graduated twenty students 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina photo by AudeVivere

Charleston is situated in Charleston County, South Carolina. It has a population of over 111,978, which has grown by 15.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston cost $157,600 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, five hundred eight new homes were built in Charleston, down from eight hundred seventy-eight the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 37.5% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 10.5%, which is less than South Carolina's average of 12.0%.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 42.7%, is less than both the national and state average. Plymouth Congregational Church, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Charleston is home to the United State Department of Agriculture and the The Center as well as Harmon Field and Stoney Field. Shopping malls in the area include Church Creek Plaza Shopping Center, Citadel Mall Shopping Center and South Windermere Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from French Quarter Inn, Fulton Lane Inn and Budget Inn for temporary stays in the area.