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Become A Drafting Engineer

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Working As A Drafting Engineer

  • 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

  • $50,645

    Average Salary

What Does A Drafting Engineer 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 Drafting Engineer

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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Drafting Engineer Jobs

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Drafting Engineer Career Paths

Drafting Engineer
Project Manager Consultant Architect
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer/Drafter Designer Project Architect
Assistant Construction Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Quality Technician Document Control Specialist
Document Control Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Drafter Design Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Designer Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Engineering Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineer Project Engineer
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Operations Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Design Drafter Designer Interior Designer
Interior Designer/Project Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer/Drafter Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineering Manager
Mechanical Engineering Director
11 Yearsyrs
Engineer Product Development Engineer Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Designer Manufacturing Engineer Plant Engineer
Plant Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Engineering Manager Design Manager
Project Manager/Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Senior Mechanical Designer
Senior Designer/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Civil Designer Surveyor
Survey Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Drafting Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Do you work as a Drafting Engineer?

Drafting Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

76.6%

Female

21.3%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

61.3%

Hispanic or Latino

15.1%

Black or African American

11.1%

Asian

8.8%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

69.2%

German

15.4%

Swedish

7.7%

French

7.7%
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Drafting Engineer Education

Schools

Rochester Institute of Technology

9.1%

Texas Tech University

7.3%

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

7.3%

ITT Technical Institute-Fort Wayne

5.5%

Morgan State University

5.5%

ITT Technical Institute-Green Bay

5.5%

University of Houston

5.5%

Purdue University

5.5%

Virginia College - Birmingham

5.5%

Clayton State University

5.5%

Greenville Technical College

5.5%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.6%

Michigan Technological University

3.6%

ITT Technical Institute-Seattle

3.6%

University of Alabama

3.6%

North Carolina State University

3.6%

Arizona State University

3.6%

ITT Technical Institute - Indianapolis

3.6%

Arkansas State University

3.6%

University of Northern Iowa

3.6%
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Majors

Drafting And Design

34.8%

Mechanical Engineering

13.8%

Business

6.2%

Civil Engineering

4.8%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

4.5%

Graphic Design

4.1%

Engineering

3.8%

Industrial Technology

3.8%

Engineering Technology

3.1%

Computer Science

2.4%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.4%

Electrical Engineering

2.4%

Computer Engineering

2.1%

Architecture

2.1%

Architectural Engineering

2.1%

Education

1.7%

Information Technology

1.7%

Management

1.4%

Architectural Technology

1.4%

Project Management

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

32.0%

Associate

29.5%

Other

19.9%

Masters

7.8%

Certificate

7.3%

Diploma

3.3%

Doctorate

0.3%
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Real Drafting Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Engineer/Drafter The Fountain Group LLC Tampa, FL Oct 01, 2011 $62,610
Civil Drafting Engineer Consultant Progressive Consultants, Inc. CA Dec 27, 2010 $61,859
Civil Drafting Engineer Consultant Progressive Consultants Inc. CA Dec 26, 2009 $61,128
Drafting Engineer Atlanta Kitchen Equipment Inc. Douglasville, GA Sep 10, 2014 $43,827
Civil Drafting Engineer The Mannik & Smith Group, Inc. Detroit, MI Dec 09, 2016 $41,350

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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Drafting Engineer?

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Top Skills for A Drafting Engineer

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  1. Shop Drawings
  2. Lay
  3. CAD
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Produce shop drawings for fabrication, animate 3D Models of equipment, check for flaws and errors in 3D model.
  • Designed perforated layout for American Dryer Corporation.
  • Drafted structural engineering construction documents by traditional drafting methods and AutoCAD.
  • Generate sketches and solid models of parts for custom design concepts meeting specific client requirements.
  • Worked with engineering department to verify accuracy of information shown on maps and documents.

What is it like to work as a Drafting Engineer

5.0

Chemical engineer

June 15, 2019 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Drafting Engineer.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Drafting Engineer?

comfortable environment.. Show More

What do you NOT like?

stressful work. negative response is related in anyway to the job you'll be doing. So if the job is boring and a lot of repetitive tasks are involved and you say you don't like to do something daily they might weed you out. My answer would be, I really can't think of something I dislike doing every single day. Just because they ask the question doesn't mean you have to have a negative answer!.. Show More

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Top 10 Best States for Drafting Engineers

  1. Washington
  2. Connecticut
  3. Arizona
  4. Texas
  5. New Mexico
  6. Maryland
  7. Colorado
  8. New Hampshire
  9. California
  10. Louisiana
  • (457 jobs)
  • (220 jobs)
  • (250 jobs)
  • (1,048 jobs)
  • (55 jobs)
  • (364 jobs)
  • (291 jobs)
  • (141 jobs)
  • (2,317 jobs)
  • (109 jobs)

Top Drafting Engineer Employers

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Jobs From Top Drafting Engineer Employers

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