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Become A Drafting Technician

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Working As A Drafting Technician

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Processing Information
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $57,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Drafting Technician Do

Civil engineering technicians help civil engineers to plan, design, and build the highways, bridges, utilities, and other infrastructure projects. They also help to plan, design, and build commercial, industrial, residential, and land development projects.

Duties

Civil engineering technicians typically do the following:

  • Read and review project drawings and plans to determine the sizes of structures
  • Confer with engineers about preparing plans
  • Use computer aided design software under the charge of engineers
  • Evaluate pre-construction field conditions
  • Observe project sites and evaluate contractors’ work to detect problems with a design
  • Test construction materials and soil samples in laboratories
  • Help to ensure that project construction conforms to design specifications and applicable codes
  • Develop plans and estimate costs for constructing systems and operating facilities
  • Prepare reports and document project activities and data
  • Collect data and prepare analyses
  • Set up and help maintain project files and records

Civil engineering technicians typically work under the charge of licensed civil engineers. These technicians generally help civil engineers, performing some of the same tasks as the engineers. However, because they are not licensed, civil engineering technicians cannot approve designs or supervise the overall project.

Civil engineering technicians assume varied duties on the job. They sometimes estimate construction costs and develop specifications. Other times, they prepare drawings or survey land. They also may set up and monitor various instruments for traffic studies. These technicians’ duties often require familiarity with and use of various computer programs to design projects, collect and analyze data, prepare correspondence and reports, and manage file systems.

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How To Become A Drafting Technician

Although not always required, an associate’s degree in civil engineering technology is preferred for employment as a civil engineering technician.

Education

To prepare for programs in engineering technology after high school, prospective civil engineering technicians should take science and math courses, such as chemistry, geometry, and calculus. They should also have basic knowledge of the use of computers.

Employers generally prefer engineering technicians to have an associate’s degree from a program accredited by ABET, although a degree is not always required. Engineering technology programs are also available at technical or vocational schools that award a postgraduate certificate or diploma.

Courses at technical or vocational schools may include engineering, design, and computer software. To complete an associate’s degree in, students also usually need to take other courses in liberal arts and the sciences.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. As assistants to civil engineers, civil engineering technicians must be able to help the engineers identify and solve problems to develop infrastructure plans and to help agencies avoid wasting time, effort, and funds.

Decisionmaking skills. Pressures from deadlines mean that technicians must be able to quickly discern which types of information are most important for the work at hand, and which plan of action will help keep the project on schedule.

Math skills. Civil engineering technicians use math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Observational skills. Civil engineering technicians sometimes have to go to jobsites and assess a project for the engineer. Therefore, they must know what to look for and how best to report back to the engineer who is overseeing the project.

Problem-solving skills. Like civil engineers, civil engineering technicians help design projects to solve a particular problem. Technicians must be able to understand and work with all the related systems involved in building a project.

Reading skills. Civil engineering technicians carry out plans and designs for projects that a civil engineer has approved. Thus, they must be able to understand all the reports, plans, and documents describing these designs.

Writing skills. Civil engineering technicians often are asked to relay their findings in writing. They must be able to write reports that are well organized and clearly written.

Other Experience

Although an associate’s degree is preferred by most employers, prospective civil engineering technicians may enter the occupation after gaining work experience in a related occupation, particularly as a drafter or CAD operator. A worker who begins as a drafter or CAD operator for an engineering firm may advance to a civil engineering technician position as his or her knowledge of design and construction improves.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification is not needed to enter this occupation, but it can help technicians advance their careers. The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) is one of the primary organizations overseeing certification for civil engineering technicians.

Certification as a technician requires passing an exam and providing documentation, including a work history, recommendations, and, for most programs, supervisor confirmation of specific experience. NICET requires technicians to update their skills and knowledge through a recertification process that encourages continuing professional development.

Advancement

Civil engineering technicians can advance in their careers by learning to design systems for a variety of projects, such as storm sewers and sanitary systems. It is also useful for civil engineering technicians to become skilled at reading plans and profiles—the graphical depiction of proposed projects.

Civil engineering technicians can also benefit with increasing knowledge of computer systems and application, in particular familiarity with word processing and spreadsheet programs, as well as geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS).

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Drafting Technician Career Paths

Drafting Technician
Engineering Technician Engineer Project Engineer
Senior Project Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Engineer Design Engineer
Senior Design Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Engineer Manager
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Design Drafter Designer Mechanical Designer
Senior Mechanical Designer
11 Yearsyrs
Design Drafter Designer Design Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Design Drafter Mechanical Designer Design Engineer
Lead Design Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Mechanical Designer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Project Manager Owner/Operator
Construction Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Design Technician Freelance Designer Senior Designer
Contract Designer
6 Yearsyrs
Design Technician Senior Designer Owner
Chief Engineer
9 Yearsyrs
Design Technician Senior Designer
Design Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Drafter Electrical Designer
Senior Electrical Designer
14 Yearsyrs
Drafter Estimator Owner/Operator
General Contractor
5 Yearsyrs
Drafter Estimator Project Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Drafter Architect Senior Engineer
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Drafter Mechanical Design Drafter Mechanical Engineer
Principal Mechanical Engineer
14 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Drafter Numerical Control Programmer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Surveyor Field Service Technician Crew Chief
Survey Party Chief
6 Yearsyrs
Architect Lead Engineer Section Manager
Manager Of Engineering Department
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Drafting Technician?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Do you work as a Drafting Technician?

Average Yearly Salary
$57,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$31,000
Min 10%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$103,000
Max 90%
Highest Paying City
Anchorage, AK
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.5 years
How much does a Drafting Technician make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Drafting Technician in the United States is $57,580 per year or $28 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $31,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $103,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Drafting Technician?

Have you worked as a Drafting Technician? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a Drafting Technician.

Top Skills for A Drafting Technician

  1. CAD
  2. Layout Drawings
  3. Beer Lines
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created and Maintained AutoCAD Library and customized pull-down menus.
  • Generate bills of materials, lighting layout drawings and provide project quotations.
  • Run given routes to clean and maintain beer lines and faucets at local restaurants and bars.
  • Worked with structural department in Rochester office utilizing my structural knowledge to get shop drawings checked for a faster turn around.
  • Prepared detail and assembly drawings using conventional techniques and CAD technology.

Drafting Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

68.5%

Female

21.8%

Unknown

9.7%
Ethnicity

White

60.4%

Hispanic or Latino

17.8%

Black or African American

10.1%

Asian

7.7%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

71.0%

German

6.5%

French

6.5%

Russian

6.5%

Ukrainian

3.2%

Hebrew

3.2%

Italian

3.2%
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Drafting Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

9.9%

A-Technical College

8.3%

New Mexico State University

6.6%

Texas State Technical College - Waco

5.0%

Trident Technical College

5.0%

Columbus State Community College

5.0%

Vincennes University

5.0%

Houston Community College

5.0%

Texas A&M University

5.0%

Jackson State University

5.0%

Central Piedmont Community College

4.1%

Metropolitan Community College

4.1%

Lincoln Technical Institute

4.1%

Austin Community College

4.1%

Truckee Meadows Community College

4.1%

Missouri State University

4.1%

Washington State University

4.1%

Iowa State University

4.1%

Thomas Nelson Community College

4.1%

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

3.3%
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Majors

Drafting And Design

38.5%

Business

9.7%

Mechanical Engineering

5.2%

Civil Engineering

5.1%

Architecture

5.0%

Graphic Design

4.7%

Engineering

3.3%

Construction Management

3.3%

Industrial Technology

3.2%

Electrical Engineering

2.5%

Engineering Technology

2.4%

Fine Arts

2.3%

Architectural Technology

2.3%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.1%

Computer Science

1.9%

Civil Engineering Technologies

1.8%

General Studies

1.7%

Management

1.7%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.7%

Interior Design

1.6%
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Degrees

Associate

32.8%

Bachelors

29.0%

Other

24.4%

Certificate

7.2%

Masters

4.6%

Diploma

1.7%

Doctorate

0.2%

License

0.1%
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