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Become A Civil Drafter

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Working As A Civil Drafter

  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $60,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Civil 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 A Civil 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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Civil Drafter Career Paths

Civil Drafter
Civil Designer Structural Designer
Senior Structural Designer
14 Yearsyrs
Civil Designer Structural Designer Senior Designer
Senior Mechanical Designer
11 Yearsyrs
Civil Designer Structural Designer Structures Engineer
Senior Structural Engineer
12 Yearsyrs
Design Drafter Designer Design Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Design Drafter Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineer
Senior Mechanical Engineer
11 Yearsyrs
Design Drafter Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Design Engineer Project Engineer
Construction Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Design Engineer Senior Engineer
Staff Engineer
5 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Designer Piping Designer
Senior Piping Designer
12 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Senior Designer Senior Piping Designer
Lead Piping Designer
12 Yearsyrs
Design Technician Freelance Designer Senior Designer
Contract Designer
6 Yearsyrs
Design Technician Engineering Technician Electrical Engineer
Senior Electrical Designer
14 Yearsyrs
Design Technician Design Consultant Senior Mechanical Designer
Lead Mechanical Designer
7 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Drafter Engineer Mechanical Design Engineer
Contractor-Design Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Drafter Senior Design Drafter
Senior Drafter
6 Yearsyrs
Surveyor Field Service Technician Crew Chief
Survey Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Surveyor Professional Land Surveyor
Survey Party Chief
6 Yearsyrs
Surveyor Maintenance Supervisor Crew Chief
Survey Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Drafter Piping Designer Senior Piping Designer
Senior Design Specialist
8 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Civil Drafter?

Civil Drafter Demographics

Gender

Male

66.1%

Female

23.6%

Unknown

10.3%
Ethnicity

White

58.0%

Hispanic or Latino

20.5%

Black or African American

10.2%

Asian

7.4%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

Russian

12.5%

Portuguese

6.3%

German

6.3%

French

6.3%

Cantonese

6.3%

Mandarin

6.3%

Arabic

6.3%
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Civil Drafter Education

Schools

Houston Community College

11.4%

University of Phoenix

8.6%

ITT Technical Institute-Houston West

8.6%

University of Houston

7.1%

Universal Technical Institute

5.7%

San Antonio College

4.3%

Boise State University

4.3%

ITT Technical Institute-Tucson

4.3%

ITT Technical Institute-Tempe

4.3%

Austin Community College

4.3%

Delgado Community College

4.3%

Del Mar College

4.3%

Purdue University

4.3%

Hennepin Technical College

4.3%

Long Beach City College

4.3%

Pittsburgh Technical Institute

4.3%

ITT Technical Institute-San Bernardino

2.9%

Texas A&M University

2.9%

Pima Community College

2.9%

University of Maryland - University College

2.9%
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Majors

Drafting And Design

52.0%

Civil Engineering

6.3%

Business

5.6%

Architecture

5.3%

Mechanical Engineering

3.8%

Graphic Design

3.8%

Engineering

3.4%

Civil Engineering Technologies

2.2%

Mathematics

1.9%

Information Technology

1.9%

Construction Management

1.9%

Accounting

1.6%

Liberal Arts

1.6%

Engineering Technology

1.3%

General Studies

1.3%

Industrial Technology

1.3%

Project Management

1.3%

Military Applied Sciences

1.3%

Computer Information Systems

1.3%

Computer Science

1.3%
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Degrees

Associate

38.9%

Other

25.2%

Bachelors

20.5%

Certificate

7.6%

Masters

4.2%

Diploma

3.4%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$60,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$33,000
Min 10%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Median 50%
$110,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Clark Nexsen
Highest Paying City
Minot, ND
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.6 years
How much does a Civil Drafter make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Civil Drafter in the United States is $60,877 per year or $29 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $33,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $110,000.

Real Civil Drafter Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Architectural and Civil Drafters Bernard Investment Group, Inc. Coachella, CA Dec 18, 2012 $97,510
Architectural and Civil Drafters Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation New York, NY Mar 29, 2011 $90,200
Architectural and Civil Drafters Ipswich Bay Glass Company, Inc. Rowley, MA Jan 18, 2013 $85,306 -
$1,635
Architectural and Civil Drafters Evensonbest LLC Washington, DC Aug 30, 2012 $84,000
Architectural and Civil Drafters John Friedman/Alice Kimm Architects Inc. Los Angeles, CA Nov 05, 2012 $77,605
Civil Engineering Drafter Tadjer-Cohen-Edelson Associates, Inc. Silver Spring, MD Dec 01, 2015 $70,000
Civil Drafter Tadjer-Cohen-Edelson Associates, Inc. Silver Spring, MD Dec 01, 2012 $69,680
Architectural and Civil Drafters Holmes Electric Company Kent, WA May 16, 2014 $68,453
Architectural and Civil Drafters LLJ Home Services Alexandria, VA Feb 18, 2014 $66,934
Retail/Interior Architectural and Civil Drafter Pixelpool, Inc. OR Dec 01, 2011 $66,500
Architectural and Civil Drafters Gould Evans San Francisco, CA Dec 13, 2012 $66,290
Architectural and Civil Drafters Systec International Inc. New York, NY Jul 09, 2014 $65,874
Architectural and Civil Drafters New Metro Construction New York, NY Aug 13, 2014 $65,874
Architectural and Civil Drafters Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. Arlington, VA Aug 16, 2012 $65,352
Architectural and Civil Drafters Frederick Fisher & Partners, Architects Los Angeles, CA Mar 13, 2014 $54,000
Architectural and Civil Drafters Marca Architecture Inc. Escondido, CA May 29, 2014 $53,500 -
$54,000
Architectural and Civil Drafters Safdie Architects LLC Somerville, MA Oct 09, 2016 $53,000
Architectural and Civil Drafters Enrique Norten Architecture, PC New York, NY May 03, 2011 $52,947
Architectural and Civil Drafters Ls3P Associates Ltd. Columbia, SC Mar 12, 2014 $52,700
Architecture and Civill Drafters Gage Meyer Engineers, P.C. New York, NY Feb 24, 2016 $52,000
Architectural and Civil Drafters Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects, P.C. Salt Lake City, UT Feb 09, 2011 $52,000
Civil Drafter/Designer CADD Northwest, Inc. Tukwila, WA Sep 22, 2013 $52,000
Architectural and Civil Drafters DHD Architecture Design, PLLC New York, NY Aug 13, 2012 $46,430
Architectural and Civil Drafters GBBN Architects, Inc. Cincinnati, OH Jun 09, 2014 $45,906
Architectural and Civil Drafters MLA Green, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jan 06, 2014 $45,490
Architectural and Civil Drafters GMPA Architects, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Mar 28, 2014 $45,490
Architectural and Civil Drafters Paul Essick Architects Marina del Rey, CA Apr 04, 2014 $45,490
Architectural and Civil Drafters Redac, Inc. Torrance, CA Jan 15, 2014 $45,490
Architectural and Civil Drafter White Architects Monroe, CT Jul 09, 2015 $45,302
Architectural and Civil Drafters White Architects Monroe, CT May 22, 2014 $45,302

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Top Skills for A Civil Drafter

  1. Engineering Department
  2. Softdesk
  3. Autocadr14
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Prepared residential and commercial drawings with use of AutoCAD and related Software
  • Wall check and Final drawings were also produced for new construction.
  • Develop AutoCAD architectural layouts for 4-D Security Solutions relocation.
  • Worked closely with surveyor to produce plats, ALTA surveys, boundary surveys, topography and As-built drawings.
  • Developed residential subdivision and commercial site plans for PZC, ZBA, and IWWC applications and construction.

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Top 10 Best States for Civil Drafters

  1. Arizona
  2. North Dakota
  3. Illinois
  4. Georgia
  5. Alaska
  6. Connecticut
  7. Oklahoma
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Iowa
  10. Maryland
  • (55 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (35 jobs)
  • (225 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (12 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (16 jobs)
  • (12 jobs)

Top Civil Drafter Employers

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