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Become An Architectural Draftsman

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Working As An Architectural Draftsman

  • 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

  • $50,036

    Average Salary

What Does An Architectural Draftsman 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 Draftsman

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 Draftsman Career Paths

Architectural Draftsman
Civil Draftsman Draftsman/Designer Architectural Designer
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Draftsman Project Manager Construction Manager
Capital Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Maintenance Manager General Contractor
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Draftsman Mechanical Designer Estimator
Controls Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Draftsman/Designer Computer Aided Design Designer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Architectural Designer Structural Designer Senior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Architectural Designer Project Manager Operations Director
Director Of Facilities
12 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Project Administrator Document Controller
Document Control Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager Estimator
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Operations Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Project Engineer Assistant Project Manager
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Designer Interior Designer
Interior Designer/Project Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Draftsman/Designer Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager Estimator Project Manager
Owner/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Technician Designer Architect
Project Architect
7 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Design Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Technician Computer Aided Design Designer Designer
Project Manager/Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Construction Manager Estimator
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Project Manager/Design Manager
Senior Designer/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Writer And Editor Content Manager
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Architectural Draftsman?

Architectural Draftsman Demographics

Gender

Male

87.6%

Female

11.5%

Unknown

0.9%
Ethnicity

White

59.9%

Hispanic or Latino

18.6%

Black or African American

9.8%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

4.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

Japanese

8.8%

Carrier

8.8%

Portuguese

5.9%

German

5.9%

French

5.9%

Russian

5.9%

Persian

2.9%

Hebrew

2.9%

Arabic

2.9%
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Architectural Draftsman Education

Schools

Lawrence Technological University

18.8%

Palomar College

6.3%

Kent State University

6.3%

Morrison Institute of Technology

5.0%

Texas Tech University

5.0%

Wichita State University

5.0%

Montana State University - Bozeman

5.0%

Pennsylvania College of Technology

5.0%

University of Phoenix

5.0%

Porter and Chester Institute

5.0%

Syracuse University

3.8%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

3.8%

University of Houston

3.8%

Wentworth Institute of Technology

3.8%

Purdue University

3.8%

Fairleigh Dickinson University

3.8%

Glendale Community College

3.8%

University of Texas at Arlington

2.5%

University of Florida

2.5%

O'More College of Design

2.5%
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Majors

Architecture

27.8%

Drafting And Design

25.7%

Environmental Design

4.7%

Business

4.1%

Civil Engineering

4.1%

Architectural Technology

3.8%

Architectural Engineering Technology

3.5%

Interior Design

3.5%

Fine Arts

2.9%

Construction Management

2.9%

Engineering

2.6%

Industrial Technology

2.0%

Architectural Engineering

1.8%

Computer Information Systems

1.8%

General Studies

1.5%

Education

1.5%

Project Management

1.5%

Mechanical Engineering

1.5%

Graphic Design

1.5%

Information Technology

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

35.7%

Other

24.7%

Associate

23.4%

Masters

6.9%

Certificate

5.6%

Diploma

3.0%

Doctorate

0.4%

License

0.2%
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Real Architectural Draftsman Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Architectural Draftsman G.A.V. Arcaitecture & Construction Group, Inc. Weston, FL May 26, 2016 $96,803
Architectural Draftsman/Designer Kelly Wearstler Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jun 24, 2010 $80,000 -
$85,000
Electrical/Architectural Draftsman HUEN Electric, Inc. Broadview, IL Dec 13, 2010 $55,000
Architectural CAD Draftsman Husmann Corporation Aka Husmann Architecture, PLLC Houston, TX Mar 01, 2011 $52,000
Architectural Draftsman Mushinsky Voelzke Associates CHTD Bethesda, MD Sep 01, 2013 $50,000
Electrical/Architectural Draftsman HUEN Electric, Inc. Broadview, IL Dec 13, 2009 $50,000
Architectural Draftsmen Joseph Pell Lombardi & Associates, Architects New York, NY Mar 01, 2010 $47,000
Architectural Draftsman Feltz & Frizzell Architects, LLC Point Pleasant, NJ Oct 01, 2011 $46,582
Architectural Draftsman Cisneros Construction Group, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 21, 2010 $46,000
Architectural Draftsman Sh Projects LLC New York, NY Aug 09, 2016 $45,000
Architectural Draftsman Robert Thibodeau CA Sep 16, 2016 $44,871
Architectural Draftsman Cisneros Construction Group, Inc. Houston, TX Jun 04, 2008 $44,700
Architectural Design Draftsman Laguarda Low Architects, LLC New York, NY Sep 12, 2014 $42,000
Architectural Draftsman Haute Architecture D.P.C. New York, NY Aug 29, 2014 $41,101
Architectural Draftsman Present Architecture, PLLC New York, NY Aug 30, 2016 $38,600
Architectural Draftsman G C Contractor Services, LLC Daytona Beach, FL Oct 17, 2016 $37,814
Architectural Draftsman/Designer Provost Studio, LLC Raleigh, NC Mar 01, 2015 $37,566
Architectural Draftsman 360Chestnut, Inc. Cambridge, MA Sep 18, 2014 $37,566
Architectural Draftsman J.F. Jochum Architects, LLC Hancock, MD May 14, 2013 $37,566 -
$41,740
Architectural Draftsman J.F. Jochum Architects LLC Williamsport, MD May 15, 2010 $37,566
Architectural Draftsman Richard Luke Architects Las Vegas, NV May 26, 2010 $37,566

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Top Skills for An Architectural Draftsman

  1. Construction Drawings
  2. Architectural Plans
  3. Floor Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed architecturally designed plans and prepared construction drawings.
  • Drafted and designed architectural plans and prepared project specifications.
  • Assist in the preparation of Architectural design drawing such as floor plans, elevations sections and other related details for completion.
  • Designed exterior elevations for builders and individual clients and conducted client meetings.
  • Provided ACAD drafting to create permitted contract documents on small residential additions on job to job basis.

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Top 10 Best States for Architectural Draftsmen

  1. Arizona
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Georgia
  4. District of Columbia
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Illinois
  7. Colorado
  8. California
  9. Maryland
  10. North Dakota
  • (14 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (63 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)
  • (21 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (116 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)

Top Architectural Draftsman Employers

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