Many AutoCAD designers spend hours creating stunning designs but struggle to turn their passion into a profitable venture. And if you are seeking employment as an AutoCAD professional, a lack of salary information can cause confusion and uncertainty.
Is pursuing a career as an AutoCAD designer worth it? Pursuing a career as an AutoCAD designer is worth it, mainly if you are interested in working in architecture, engineering, product design, manufacturing, or even construction; knowing how to use AutoCAD is essential for many jobs.
This article discusses how much you can earn from AutoCAD for job seekers and entrepreneurs to help you decide your career path.
How Much Salary Can You Earn From AutoCAD Jobs?
Your salary as an AutoCAD professional depends on your skill level, years of experience, and location. ZipRecruiter estimates monthly wages range from $7,208 (highest) to $2,167.
Across the United States, 75% earn around $4,375 monthly salary while the remaining 25% earn $2,916.
This data shows you can improve your skills and earnings from an AutoCAD job.
AutoCAD Salary Based On Skills And Experience
The average salary for an AutoCAD designer in the USA is $26.45 per hour or $55,015 annually.
Beginners with one year of experience earn an annual salary of $47,808, while experienced designers could make over $77,500 annually.
You can also calculate your average hourly salary from the average. In the United States, you will make $26.52 per hour.
AutoCAD Designer Salary Based On Regions
The location also impacts how much you make from an AutoCAD career. You will likely make more in Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, and Illinois.
For instance, you might make over $63,000 annually as an AutoCAD designer in New York. So, if you are looking for an entry-level position, check out New York. With an average salary of $44,000, you will likely earn more money.
However, you should also consider the region’s cost of living when negotiating salary. Low-paying states include Idaho, Michigan, and Kansas.
You can get more information from the table below:
|Rank||State||Avg. salary ($)||Hourly rate ($)|
|4||District of Colombia||64,346||30.94|
|11||New Hemisphere||56, 616||26.74|
You can get a complete list from Zipia.com
You can find different salary ranges in the states depending on the city. Cities with a high cost of living are likely to pay more to help maintain your standard of living.
Here is the summary for the annual AutoCAD designer salary.
|Percentile||Annual salary ($)|
And since AutoCAD designers have different titles, you can serve in various positions depending on your expertise.
For instance, you can serve as:
- Architectural intern
- Architectural draftsman
- Computer-aided drafter
However, besides employment, you can also turn your AutoCAD skills and experience into a business.
How Much Can You Earn From Your AutoCAD Business?
You can explore several ways to earn money online with AutoCAD business, and in this section, we discuss how much you can make from each category.
Here are ways to make money with AutoCAD business.
- Laser cutting
- Sell customized designs
- Training and Education.
1- Laser cutting
Do you know how to prepare architectural designs for laser cutting? You can send your designs to a laser-cutting company to create an ideal product. Once the products are made, you can sell them to prospective clients online.
2- Sell Customized designs
AutoCAD is a powerful software for precise, detailed, and accurate technical drawings.
For instance, you can work with a client to create a 2D or 3D drawing of the following:
- Floor plans for residential or commercial buildings
- Mechanical drawings for machines or equipment
- Electrical schematics for wiring or circuits
- Piping diagrams for plumbing or HVAC systems
- Landscape designs for outdoor spaces.
But how do you get potential clients? You can build a website or portfolio with samples of your work. Email the client a link to these samples and request to work with them. Referrals and good reviews can go a long way in establishing an AutoCAD business.
How much can I sell my AutoCAD custom designs? The pricing of custom designs considers factors like the complexity of the design, designing time, customer base, and the market value of similar designs.
So search your industry and e-commerce stores like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon to gauge how much you should charge for a particular design.
3- Training and Education
Many people would love to learn how to create stunning designs on AutoCAD, and you can sell them your knowledge.
How? Sell AutoCAD online courses where you teach people designing and selling.
How much can you charge for the training? It depends on the course duration and what your prospective clients are willing to pay. You can check what your competitors are charging as a guide.
Generally, you can change between $25 and $500 for self-paced classes—target as many students as possible to capitalize on economies of scale.
4- Become a freelance AutoCAD designer
Another way to make money with AutoCAD is to sell your service as a freelancer. You look for work from relevant freelancing platforms such as Freelancer, Fiverr, and Upwork. Once you win a bid and deliver quality designs, you earn money.
Alternatively, you can connect with fellow designers and potential clients on social media platforms like LinkedIn and let them know what you do.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for meeting the right people with money to spend on your designs.
How much can you make as an AutoCAD freelancer? According to ZipRecruiter, several factors determine how much you earn as a freelance CAD designer. They estimate that the average annual pay is $56,812.
Generally, an experienced freelancer can charge between $100 and $150 per hour for their CAD drawings.
Of course, your expertise and experience affect how much you make.
5- Sell AutoCAD Templates
You can create and sell your AutoCAD templates, blocks, or drawings on platforms like Etsy, TurboSquid, Autodesk App Store, or eBay.
The amount of money you can make from AutoCAD templates depends on the design complexity and your level of expertise.
6- Offer CAD Drafting Services
You can also offer CAD drafting services to businesses needing help creating technical drawings or 2D/3D models. Many industries like architecture, engineering, construction, and manufacturing need CAD drafting services.
Create a drafting company and hire AutoCAD experts to work for you. Alternatively, you can sell the service as a freelancer. And to find clients to advertise your services on freelancing platforms, social media, or local classifieds.
How much can CAD Drafting Services make? On average, you can charge $163 per hour for CAD Drafting services. The wage range from $142 to $187 an hour, although the pay rate depends on the location and your skills and experience.
7- Create a Blog Niche for AutoCAD
You can create a blog in the AutoCAD niche and share your knowledge and industry trends to build a loyal audience. Once you attract good traffic to your site, you can make money selling your designs or selling advertisement space for designers.
Alternatively, you can include affiliate links on your site and earn passive income. Read more in the article- is blogging worth it?
How much you make from blogging depends on the traffic on the site, the monetization method, and your marketing strategy.
You increase your revenue by investing time and resources in creating quality content and distribution through email and social media marketing.
Do CAD designers make good money?
In the US, CAD designer salaries range from $11,200 to $297,200, averaging $54,200. The middle (57%) of AutoCAD designers earn between $54,000 and $134,800, while the top 86% make $297,200.
Is AutoCAD a promising career?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the CAD growth rate is about 7%, similar to most occupations. Since CAD is a fast-growing job market segment, you can make good money with it.
AutoCAD is a promising career. Generally, AutoCAD drafters skilled with the software and knowledgeable in design and engineering can make an excellent starting salary.
With a median salary for a drafter in 2021 was $60,290 per year, AutoCAD is a promising career (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics) However, how much you can earn as a drafter depends on your employer, state, experience, and other factors.
How many months does it take to learn AutoCAD?
You will take around three months as a beginner to learn the basics. However, you may need between six months to one year to master the software and be proficient.
Is AutoCAD in demand?
Yes, many industries need people with AutoCAD experience to handle designs and drafting. You can work part-time or full-time as a steel CAD designer, piping CAD designer, Store CAD designer, etc.
The Bottom Line
How much you can earn as an AutoCAD designer depends on your skill levels, years of experience, and location. Besides salaries, you can also turn your skills into a profitable venture by creating customized designs, providing laser-cutting services, or selling AutoCAD courses.
So whether you want to pursue entrepreneurship or employment, the AutoCAD career path is suitable for passionate designers.