How to Become a Drafter

Drafters use a variety of skills in order to create visual plans and drawings that are used to create a wide range of products and structures.

These professionals may also work in a variety of industries and can specialize in producing visual drafts for objects such as skyscrapers and microchips.

Drafters have a variety of skills including mathematical knowledge, visual aptitude and the use of design software and applications.

Drafters may lend their expertise and experience in the following specializations and industries:

  • Aeronautical drafters
  • Architectural drafters
  • Civil drafters
  • Electrical drafters
  • Electronics drafters
  • Mechanical drafters
  • Pipeline drafters

Continue reading below to learn more information regarding this career including education requirements, a general job description, salary and wage data for 2008 as well as the profession’s expected growth through the next decade.

Education Requirements to Become a Drafter

Students who want to become a Drafter should pursue a postsecondary education.

Candidates should study a drafting focus.

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Drafting programs are offered at community colleges, technical institutes and some four year colleges or universities.

Drafting programs differ depending on the type of institution and curriculum a student joins.

Those who want to become a drafter will have to work on the skills employers look for in candidates to find jobs.

In order to become a Drafter with a competitive background, students must take courses that focus on their mechanical and technical skills.

Helpful courses candidates can take include drafting and mechanical drawing skills, mathematics, science, engineering technology and familiarity with drafting standards and procedures.

In addition, candidates with a strong knowledge and experience with CADD techniques are highly preferred by employers.

Certification is optional for the majority of Drafters; however, there are some employers who require candidates to be certified.

The Drafter Certification Test is administered by the American Design Association ADDA.

Candidates are tested on a variety of subjects including work drawings, drafting concepts, geometric construction, architectural terms as well as standards.

Candidates who seek certification show an aptitude and understanding of Drafting principles and practices and shows potential employers their capabilities.

Additionally, in order for Drafters to perform well in this profession they need some inherent skills that include having visual talent, mechanical aptitude and CADD systems that help Drafters create designs.

Drafter Job Description

Drafters are responsible creating technical plans and drawers for other professionals such as construction and production workers.

These professionals use their experience and skills in order to draft and develop visual plans used to create a variety of products and structures.

Exact job duties will depend on the specialty a Drafter goes into, however, the following information can apply to most specializations.

The majority of Drafters use computer systems such as the Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) to help them organize and plan drawings.

In addition to using computer programs, Drafters will also use traditional drafting methods in order to explain their drawings and plans to other individuals.

Drafters will need to make sure they create visuals that include information such as product dimensions, specifications, materials needed and other technical aspects.

Drafter Salary and Career Path

A professional Drafter’s salary and earnings heavily depend on the specialty, management responsibilities and their location.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the national median wage for Architectural and Civil Drafters in 2008 was approximately $44,500 per year.

Mechanical drafters had a median wage of $46,600 per year and Electrical and Electronics Drafter’s median wages in 2008 was approximately $51,000 per year.

The salary range during the same year for all professional Drafters was approximately $28,000 to $79,800 per year.

Employment growth for drafting professionals will depend on the specialty.

Overall, this growth is expected to increase very slowly at 4 percent through the year 2018.

Architectural and Civil Drafting positions will experience the fastest growth within this profession at 9 percent.

Growth for Architectural and Civil Drafters is attributed to population growth and the need to expand and improve the nation’s infrastructure.

Drafters with at least two years of formal education or post secondary education are expected to have the best job opportunities within all specialties.

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