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Become A Design Drafter

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Working As A Design Drafter

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $57,670

    Average Salary

What Does A Design Drafter Do

A Design Drafter creates drawings for buildings and structures according to specifications provided by the architect. They work closely with Design Engineers to ensure that the drawings are error-free.

How To Become A Design 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.


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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Design Drafter jobs

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Design Drafter Career Paths

Design Drafter
Engineer Architect Architectural Designer
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Project Manager General Manager
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Assistant Project Manager Estimator Project Manager
Commercial Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Piping Designer Senior Designer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Field Engineer Estimator
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Designer Interior Designer
Interior Designer/Project Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Project Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Design Drafter Mechanical Designer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Engineering Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Engineer Process Engineer
Process Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Electrical Designer Electrical Engineer Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Design Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Product Development Engineer
Project Management Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager
Quality Control Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Designer Mechanical Designer
Senior Mechanical Designer
11 Yearsyrs
Designer Design Engineer Mechanical Engineer
Senior Mechanical Engineer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Senior Design Engineer Engineering Manager
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
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Design Drafter Demographics


  • Male

  • Female

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • German

  • Russian

  • Portuguese

  • Mandarin

  • Cantonese

  • Chinese

  • Italian

  • Polish

  • Arabic

  • Ukrainian

  • Vietnamese

  • Marathi

  • Gujarati

  • Hindi

  • Dutch

  • Dari

  • Bengali

  • Greek

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Design Drafter Education

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Real Design Drafter Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Drafting/Designer VII Intecsea, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2012 $99,798 -
Designer/Drafter Siemens Industry, Inc. Florham Park, NJ Dec 16, 2015 $80,550
Architectural/Civil Designer Drafter Tadjer-Cohen-Edelson Associates, Inc. Silver Spring, MD Jan 08, 2016 $79,000
Drafter & Designer for Aqplus Protek Management LLC Plainville, CT May 13, 2013 $75,400
Drafter & Designer for Aqplus Protek Management LLC Plainville, CT Sep 28, 2015 $75,400
Architectural Designer/Drafter Ivan Bereznicki Associates Cambridge, MA Sep 11, 2015 $65,416
Architecturla Drafter/Designer Safdie Architects LLC Somerville, MA Sep 10, 2015 $65,000
Architectural Designer/Drafter Bilkey Llinas Design Associates, Inc. Palm Beach Gardens, FL Jul 07, 2010 $63,000
Architectural Designer/Drafter Hresko Associates Inc. Boston, MA May 01, 2013 $62,610
Designer/Drafter The Fountain Group LLC Raleigh, NC Apr 11, 2011 $62,610
Engineer Designer/Drafter The Fountain Group LLC Raleigh, NC Apr 11, 2011 $62,610
Design Drafter Cathedral Plumbing of Texas, LLC Carrollton, TX May 09, 2016 $60,000
Architectural Designer/Drafter Ivan Bereznicki Associates, Inc. Cambridge, MA Aug 20, 2015 $58,240
Drafter/Designer Philips Medical Systems MR, Inc. NY Sep 25, 2011 $57,600
Chief Design Drafter Van Der Watt Engineering, LLC Thomasville, GA May 06, 2010 $56,189
Chief Design Drafter Van Der Watt Engineering, LLC Thomasville, GA May 02, 2010 $56,189
Architectural Design Drafter Mega Engineering and Land Surveying, P.C. Queensbury, NY Nov 05, 2016 $55,286
Designer/Drafter Ellenzweig Associates, Inc. Boston, MA Nov 18, 2016 $55,000
Autocad Designer/Drafter C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. Keene, NH Oct 01, 2010 $52,000
Architectural Designer/Drafter O'Neil Langan Architects, PC New York, NY Dec 15, 2011 $52,000
Architectural Designer/Drafter O'Neil Langan Architects PC New York, NY Dec 15, 2011 $52,000
Architectural Design Drafter Mega Engineering and Land Surveying, P.C. Queensbury, NY Jul 01, 2014 $50,088
Drafting Designer Premier Enterprise Co Inc. NY Sep 14, 2016 $48,000
Industrial Products-Designer/Drafter International Standard Valve, Inc. Stafford, TX Jan 09, 2016 $47,832
Architectural Designer/Drafter Skyline Restoration Inc. Islandia, NY Oct 01, 2010 $47,133
Architectural Designer/Drafter FM Group, Inc. Phoenix, AZ Oct 04, 2007 $44,500
Architectural Designer/Drafter Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott, Inc. Boston, MA Sep 16, 2015 $44,304
Designer/Drafter 2 Steffian Bradley Limited Boston, MA Apr 18, 2012 $41,800 -
Junior Architectural Designer/Drafter WRNS Studio San Francisco, CA Sep 01, 2014 $41,704 -

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Top Skills for A Design Drafter


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Top Design Drafter Skills

  1. Autocad Release
  2. Layout Drawings
  3. Engineering Department
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Design and Drafting with AutoCad Release 11 and 12.
  • Prepared detailed, layout drawings and diagrams showing all necessary section views and documented dimensions.
  • Worked with engineering department to maintain company standards.
  • Detailed components in Auto CAD, Medusa and made bills of material for Carrier Corp. Service Division.
  • Create arrangement, fabrication, and detailed drawings of solid models including model based product definition.

Top Design Drafter Employers

Design Drafter Videos

What does a Mechanical Engineer do?

Designer/Draftsman, Career Video from drkit.org

Designer/Draftsman, Career Video from drkit.org