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Become A Civil Drafter

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Working As A Civil 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

  • $51,762

    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 Jobs

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Civil Drafter Demographics

Gender

Male

70.7%

Female

27.4%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

57.1%

Hispanic or Latino

21.0%

Black or African American

10.6%

Asian

7.4%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

45.5%

Russian

18.2%

Portuguese

9.1%

German

9.1%

French

9.1%

Arabic

9.1%
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Civil Drafter Education

Schools

ITT Technical Institute-Tucson

6.8%

Universal Technical Institute

6.8%

University of Phoenix

6.8%

Hennepin Technical College

6.8%

Texas A&M University

4.5%

University of Maryland - University College

4.5%

Central New Mexico Community College

4.5%

Gadsden State Community College

4.5%

Western Governors University

4.5%

Boise State University

4.5%

University of Washington

4.5%

San Antonio College

4.5%

Brazosport College

4.5%

Liberty University

4.5%

Holmes Community College

4.5%

New York Institute of Technology - Manhattan Campus

4.5%

Austin Community College

4.5%

University of Houston

4.5%

Edmonds Community College

4.5%

Delgado Community College

4.5%
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Majors

Drafting And Design

46.1%

Business

6.8%

Architecture

6.3%

Graphic Design

4.7%

Civil Engineering

4.2%

Mechanical Engineering

3.7%

Information Technology

3.1%

Mathematics

2.6%

General Studies

2.6%

Engineering

2.6%

Engineering Technology

2.1%

Civil Engineering Technologies

2.1%

Computer Information Systems

2.1%

Animation

1.6%

Computer Science

1.6%

Military Applied Sciences

1.6%

Accounting

1.6%

Construction Management

1.6%

Fine Arts

1.6%

Liberal Arts

1.6%
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Degrees

Associate

36.5%

Other

30.0%

Bachelors

18.5%

Certificate

7.7%

Masters

4.3%

Diploma

2.6%

License

0.4%
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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 New Metro Construction New York, NY Aug 13, 2014 $65,874
Architectural and Civil Drafters Systec International Inc. New York, NY Jul 09, 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
Architectural and Civil Drafters Ennead Architects LLP New York, NY Dec 31, 2012 $52,000
Architectural and Civil Drafters Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects, P.C. Salt Lake City, UT Feb 09, 2011 $52,000
Architectural and Civil Drafters PMG Project Management Group, LLC Houston, TX Dec 12, 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

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  1. Construction Drawings
  2. Auto-Cad
  3. CAD
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created conceptual designs, layout plans, construction drawings and topographic maps for residential and commercial land development projects.
  • Produce new Electric Substations civil/structural and architectural drawings and revise existing drawings using AutoCad and MicroStation.
  • Plan and Profiles of various Metropolitan Sewer project
  • Created layouts of drainage problem areas and drafted proposal to alleviate said areas.
  • 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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Jobs From Top Civil Drafter Employers

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