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Become A Contract-Drafter

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Working As A Contract-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

  • $53,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Contract-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 Contract-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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Contract-Drafter Career Paths

Contract-Drafter
Drafter Designer Project Manager
Contract Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Drafter Designer Mechanical Designer
Senior Mechanical Designer
11 Yearsyrs
Drafter Designer Design Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Design Drafter Mechanical Designer Design Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Design Drafter Design Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Design Drafter Mechanical Designer Senior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Drafter Computer Aided Design Designer Project Engineer
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Drafter Computer Aided Design Designer Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Drafter Computer Aided Design Designer Senior Designer
Contract Designer
6 Yearsyrs
Draftsman Senior Designer Owner
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Draftsman Project Engineer Superintendent
Quality Control Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Draftsman Project Engineer Construction Manager
Senior Project Manager Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Design Technician Freelance Designer Product Designer
Senior Product Designer
8 Yearsyrs
Design Technician Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Technician Structural Designer Piping Designer
Design Checker
11 Yearsyrs
Autocad Drafter Architectural Designer Architect
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Autocad Drafter Interior Designer Construction Manager
Commercial Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Autocad Drafter Engineer Mechanical Design Engineer
Contractor-Design Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Draftsman/Designer Architectural Designer Job Captain
Senior Drafter
6 Yearsyrs
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Top Skills for A Contract-Drafter

  1. Autocad
  2. Engineering Department
  3. Inspect Parts
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Create, maintain and update all AutoCAD drawings of chokes, valves and components as needed.
  • Used Auto-Cad to prepare Electrical, Mechanical and Civil Engineering drawings, some of which were used to secure U.S. patents.
  • Updated mechanical drawings per engineering change orders using AutoCAD and SolidWorks.
  • Contract position doing as-built drawings for electrical substations, control layouts, foundations and vaults.
  • Warehouse Surveys and Floor plans Surveying and measuring Oneal Steels' distribution facilities and creating drawings.

Contract-Drafter Demographics

Gender

Male

67.5%

Female

25.3%

Unknown

7.2%
Ethnicity

White

62.9%

Hispanic or Latino

15.9%

Black or African American

10.5%

Asian

7.4%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.3%

German

8.3%

French

8.3%

Gothic

8.3%

Hindi

8.3%

Malayalam

8.3%
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Contract-Drafter Education

Schools

A-Technical College

9.3%

ITT Technical Institute-Houston West

7.4%

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

5.6%

ITT Technical Institute-Portland

5.6%

University of Illinois at Chicago

5.6%

Kennesaw State University

5.6%

Austin Community College

5.6%

University of Phoenix

5.6%

North Dakota State College of Science

5.6%

California State University - Northridge

5.6%

Boston Architectural College

5.6%

University of Houston

3.7%

Savannah College of Art and Design

3.7%

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

3.7%

Tarrant County College District

3.7%

Northeast Alabama Community College

3.7%

ITT Technical Institute-San Antonio

3.7%

ITT Technical Institute - Indianapolis

3.7%

ITT Technical Institute-Fort Wayne

3.7%

Cleveland Institute of Art

3.7%
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Majors

Drafting And Design

38.9%

Business

8.8%

Mechanical Engineering

7.6%

Architecture

7.6%

Graphic Design

6.9%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

5.0%

Law

3.4%

Fine Arts

2.7%

Industrial Technology

2.3%

Architectural Engineering

1.9%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.9%

Construction Management

1.9%

Electrical Engineering

1.9%

Project Management

1.5%

Computer Science

1.5%

Civil Engineering

1.5%

Psychology

1.1%

Computer Information Systems

1.1%

Engineering

1.1%

Education

1.1%
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Degrees

Associate

33.2%

Bachelors

28.9%

Other

19.0%

Certificate

8.5%

Masters

4.7%

Doctorate

3.2%

Diploma

2.3%

License

0.3%
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