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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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Computer Aide
Top Careers After Computer Aide
Hispanic or Latino11.0%
Black or African American0.7%
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University of Phoenix12.0%
Pittsburgh Technical Institute6.7%
Wentworth Institute of Technology6.1%
Pennsylvania State University5.9%
New Jersey Institute of Technology5.3%
University of Houston5.1%
Henry Ford College4.3%
Western Michigan University4.3%
University of Illinois at Chicago4.3%
Michigan State University4.0%
University of Texas at Arlington4.0%
Arizona State University4.0%
Rochester Institute of Technology4.0%
Lawrence Technological University4.0%
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute4.0%
Camden County College4.0%
Houston Community College3.7%
Austin Community College3.7%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Director, Computer Aided Facility Management||TSIG Consulting Inc.||New York, NY||Dec 29, 2015||$188,843|
|MGR II, CAD Mgmt||Sandisk Corporation||Milpitas, CA||Oct 02, 2015||$165,341|
|Manager, CAD Management||Sandisk Corporation||Milpitas, CA||Mar 16, 2016||$165,341 -
|Manager II, CAD Management||Sandisk Corporation||Milpitas, CA||Oct 01, 2015||$160,026|
|Engineer Senior CAD||Nvidia Corporation||Santa Clara, CA||Oct 01, 2015||$158,030 -
|Piping CAD Administrator||Technip USA, Inc.||Houston, TX||Sep 23, 2015||$156,000|
|Engineer Senior CAD||Nvidia Corporation||Santa Clara, CA||May 01, 2015||$127,642 -
|Staff Hardware Engineer/CAD Tools||Qualcomm Technologies Inc.||San Diego, CA||Apr 13, 2015||$126,859 -
|Engineer Senior CAD||Nvidia Corporation||Santa Clara, CA||May 29, 2013||$125,164 -
|Staff Engineer CAD||Cirrus Logic, Inc.||Austin, TX||Apr 01, 2014||$124,078|
|Cad/Cam Engineer||Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc.||Fremont, CA||Nov 25, 2015||$120,000|
|Piping CAD Administrator||Technip USA, Inc.||Houston, TX||Oct 07, 2013||$120,000|
|Piping CAD Administrator||Technip USA, Inc.||Houston, TX||Jan 10, 2016||$120,000|
|Piping CAD Administrator||Technip USA, Inc.||Houston, TX||Oct 01, 2016||$120,000|
|Cad/Cam Engineer||Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Aug 19, 2016||$93,995|
|Cad/Cae Engineer||Mubea, Inc.||Auburn Hills, MI||May 19, 2014||$93,600|
|CAD Sculptor||Pro Unlimited||Cupertino, CA||Jan 13, 2014||$93,600|
|Cad/Cam Engineer||Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc.||Saline, MI||Apr 01, 2016||$90,000|
|Engineer, Staff I-CAD||Broadcom Corporation||Irvine, CA||Sep 19, 2013||$88,000|
|Engineer, Staff I-CAD||Broadcom Corporation||Irvine, CA||Jan 28, 2015||$88,000|
|Engineer, CAD||Marvell Semiconductor, Inc.||Santa Clara, CA||Sep 02, 2015||$87,607|
|Structural Engineer, CAD||Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority||Hyattsville, MD||Sep 30, 2013||$74,051|
|Computer Aided Engineer (CAE)||Applied Materials, Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Aug 12, 2015||$74,006 -
|CAD Operator||JS Architecture Design, PC||New York, NY||Feb 16, 2015||$73,045|
|Cad/Cam Engineer||Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc.||Jacksonville, FL||Nov 09, 2016||$72,717|
|Cad/Cam Engineer||Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc.||Jacksonville, FL||Oct 09, 2016||$72,717|
|Cad/Cam Engineer||Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc.||Jacksonville, FL||Sep 14, 2016||$72,717|
|Cad/Cam Engineer||Tech Mahindra (Americas), Inc.||Lisle, IL||Mar 02, 2016||$71,885|
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