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Drafters use software to convert the designs of architects and engineers into technical drawings. Most workers specialize in architectural, civil, electrical, or mechanical drafting and use technical drawings to help design everything from microchips to skyscrapers.
Drafters typically do the following:
- Design plans using computer-aided design (CAD) software
- Work from rough sketches and specifications created by engineers and architects
- Design products with engineering and manufacturing techniques
- Add details to architectural plans from their knowledge of building techniques
- Specify dimensions, materials, and procedures for new products
- Work under the supervision of engineers or architects
Some drafters are referred to as CAD operators. Using CAD systems, drafters create and store technical drawings digitally. These drawings contain information on how to build a structure or machine, the dimensions of the project, and what materials are needed to complete the project.
Drafters work with CAD to create schematics that can be viewed, printed, or programmed directly into building information modeling (BIM) systems. These systems allow drafters, architects, construction managers, and engineers to create and collaborate on digital models of physical buildings and machines. Through three-dimensional rendering, BIM software allows designers and engineers to see how different elements in their projects work together.
The following are examples of types of drafters:
Architectural drafters draw structural features and details for buildings and other construction projects. These workers may specialize in a type of building, such as residential or commercial. They may also specialize by the materials used, such as steel, wood, or reinforced concrete.
Civil drafters prepare topographical maps used in construction and civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, and dams.
Electrical drafters prepare wiring diagrams that construction workers use to install and repair electrical equipment and wiring in power plants, electrical distribution systems, and residential and commercial buildings.
Electronics drafters produce wiring diagrams, assembly diagrams for circuit boards, and layout drawings used in manufacturing and in installing and repairing electronic devices and components.
Mechanical drafters prepare layouts that show the details for a variety of machinery and mechanical tools and devices, such as medical equipment. These layouts indicate dimensions, fastening methods, and other requirements for assembly. Mechanical drafters sometimes create production molds.
The demand for Drafters is growing at a pace of 17 percent by 2028 with an annual job opening of 425.
Architectural & Civil Drafters earn over $58,000 with experience...
What areas of interest would Drafters satisfy? *
These skills, interests, and knowledge areas are recommended for a career in Architectural Drafting. The following data describes the relative importance of each knowledge/skill area from the opinion of those in the industry.
|Top Relevant Knowledge Areas
|Relevant Importance Levels
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
|Building and Construction
Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
|Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
*Source: Texas Career Check.
If You're Interested, Make Waves Early
Get the education you need:
Drafters typically need specialized training, which can be accomplished through a technical program that leads to a certificate or an associate's degree in drafting.
Education for Drafters
Drafters generally need to complete postsecondary education in drafting. This is typically done through a 2-year associate's degree from a technical institute or community college.
Technical institutes offer instruction in design fundamentals, sketching, and computer-aided design (CAD) software and award certificates or diplomas upon completion. Programs vary in length but are generally 2 years of full-time education. The types of courses offered will also vary by institution. Some institutions may specialize in only one type of drafting, such as mechanical or architectural drafting.
Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes that lead to an associate of applied science in drafting or related degree. After completing an associate's degree program, graduates may get jobs as drafters or continue their education in a related field at a 4-year college. Most 4-year colleges do not offer training in drafting, but they do offer classes in engineering, architecture, and mathematics.
To prepare for postsecondary education, high school students may find it useful to take courses in mathematics, science, computer technology, design, computer graphics, and where available, drafting.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Drafters
The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) offers certification for drafters. Although not mandatory, certification demonstrates competence and knowledge of nationally recognized practices. Certifications are offered for several specialties, including architectural, civil, and mechanical drafting.
Source: College Grad.com
Useful Tech for a Head Start
- Computer Aided Design (CAD) Software: Autodesk AutoCAD; Dassault Systemes CATIA; PTC Creo Parametric
- Graphics/Photo Imaging Software: Adobe Fireworks;
- Map Creation Software (GIS): ESRI ArcGIS software; ESRI ArcView
- Project Management: Cost estimating software; Microsoft Project; Oracle Primavera Enterprise Project Portfolio Management
Drafters Programs and Opportunities available in or surrounding the region
- Prairie View A&M University
- Rice University
- Sam Houston State University
- Texas State University
- University of Houston
- Texas Tech University
- University of Texas
- Lamar University
- Texas Southern University
- Gulf Coast Water Authority
- City of Houston - Public Works & Engineering
- City of Galveston
- Pape-Dawson Engineers
- Huitt-Zollars Inc.
- Jones | Carter
- Wilson & Company Inc.
- Amec Foster Wheeler Inc.
- Golder Associates
- Nabors Industries
- Walter P Moore
- Dragados USA
- Zachry Construction Corp.
If you have questions about our Industry/Occupation Profiles or are an organization in the Gulf Coast Region, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
|*Includes the following counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, and Wharton.