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Become An Architectural Drafter

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Working As An Architectural Drafter

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $43,618

    Average Salary

What Does An Architectural Drafter Do

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.

Duties

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

Many 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 so they can 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.

Architectural drafters draw architectural and structural features of buildings for 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 flood-control projects.

Electrical drafters prepare wiring diagrams that other 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 wide variety of machinery and mechanical tools and devices, such as medical equipment. These layouts indicate dimensions, fastening methods, and other requirements needed for assembly. Mechanical drafters sometimes create production molds.

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How To Become An Architectural Drafter

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

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 CAD (computer-aided design) 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 who take courses in mathematics, science, computer technology, design, computer graphics, and where available, drafting, may find such classes useful.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

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.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Drafters must be able to turn plans and ideas into technical drawings that will guide the creation of real buildings, tools, and systems.

Detail oriented. Drafters must pay close attention to details so that the plans they convert are technically accurate according to the outlined specifications.

Interpersonal skills. Drafters work closely with architects, engineers, and other designers to make sure that final plans are accurate. This requires the ability to take advice and constructive criticism, as well as to offer it.

Math skills. Drafters work on technical drawings. They may be required to solve mathematical calculations involving factors such as angles, weights, and costs.

Technical skills. Drafters in all specialties must be able to use computer software, such as CAD, and work with database tools, such as BIM (building information modeling).

Time-management skills. Drafters often work under strict deadlines. As a result, they must work efficiently in order to produce the required output according to set schedules.

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Architectural Drafter jobs

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Real Architectural Drafter Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Architectural Drafting Manager Jaynes Structures, Inc. Albuquerque, NM Mar 28, 2016 $115,669
Architectural Drafter/Designer Safdie Architects LLC Somerville, MA Nov 30, 2015 $85,000
Architectural Drafter/Designer RXR Constuction and Development LLC New York, NY Jun 20, 2016 $84,000
Architectural Drafter RXR Construction and Development LLC New York, NY Feb 08, 2016 $84,000
Architectural Drafting Manager Jaynes Structures, Corp. Albuquerque, NM Apr 20, 2015 $82,082
Architectural Drafter Cross Country Construction LLC Elmsford, NY Nov 15, 2015 $80,000
Architectural Drafter OBM Miami Coral Gables, FL May 31, 2016 $78,000
Architectural Drafter Rafael Vinoly, Architects P.C. New York, NY Feb 05, 2015 $71,400 -
$90,100
Architectural Drafter Think! Architecture and Design PLLC New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $70,000
Architectural Drafter Robert Hidey Architects Inc. Irvine, CA Aug 31, 2016 $70,000
Architectural Drafter Behar Font & Partners Pa Coral Gables, FL Jan 09, 2016 $70,000
Architectural Drafter Sigma Engineering, Inc. Chicago, IL Sep 15, 2015 $69,347
Architectural Drafter Gehry Partners LLP Los Angeles, CA Aug 08, 2016 $69,120
Architectural Drafter Volmar Construction, Inc. New York, NY Nov 09, 2016 $65,790
Architectural Drafter White Architects LLC Monroe, CT Dec 13, 2016 $49,878
Architectural Drafter Karin Payson Architecture and Design San Francisco, CA Aug 01, 2015 $49,817
Architectural Drafter The Don Vita Company, Inc. San Rafael, CA Sep 04, 2015 $49,817
Architectural Drafter Blasen Landscape Architecture, Inc. San Anselmo, CA Sep 04, 2015 $49,650
Architectural Drafter SB Architects San Francisco, CA Sep 10, 2015 $49,650
Architectural Drafter Tannerhecht, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 01, 2015 $49,650
Architectural Drafter Contempo Builder LLC Katy, TX Aug 07, 2016 $49,629
Architectural Drafter Contempo Builder LLC Katy, TX Jun 28, 2016 $49,629
Architectural Drafter LMW Engineering Group, LLC Linden, NJ Jan 26, 2016 $43,867
Architectural Drafter Space Light Structure Design, Inc. South Pasadena, CA Sep 23, 2016 $43,848
Architectural Drafter Space Light Structure Design, Inc. South Pasadena, CA Aug 09, 2016 $43,848
Architectural Drafter Basis & Associates, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Sep 22, 2016 $43,848
Architectural Drafter Whitestone Designs Inc. Los Angeles, CA Aug 16, 2016 $43,848
Architectural Drafter Gunkel Architecture Emeryville, CA Aug 26, 2015 $43,827 -
$45,914
Architectural Drafter Gunkel Architecture Emeryville, CA Feb 09, 2016 $43,827 -
$45,914
Architectural Drafter Max Parangi Architects P.C. White Plains, NY Aug 26, 2015 $43,827 -
$48,001

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Top Skills for An Architectural Drafter

AutocadReleaseResidentialConstructionDocumentsArchitecturalDrawingsCustomHomesAutoCompleteArchitecturalDesignsResidentialConstructionDrawingsExternalLayoutsAutodeskRevitBuildingCodesShopDrawingsAs-BuiltDrawingsHvacDesignDevelopmentSchematicDesignNewConstructionSitePlansFacilityAutocadArchitecturalDesktop3DDrawingsModelsSpacePlanning

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Top Architectural Drafter Skills

  1. Autocad Release
  2. Residential Construction Documents
  3. Architectural Drawings
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Produced Auto CAD drawings for residential construction documents including site plan, sections and schedules and assisted in space design.
  • Managed the set up and editing of all architectural drawings.
  • Assisted the Architectural Project Manager in the design and planning of custom homes.
  • Create residential construction drawings from customer specifications.
  • Prepare architectural drawings, showing internal and external layouts of the casework.

Top Architectural Drafter Employers

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