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Become A Draftsman

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Working As A Draftsman

  • 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

  • $49,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Draftsman 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 Draftsman

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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Draftsman Career Paths

Draftsman
Designer Design Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Designer Design Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Designer Design Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineer Project Manager
Director Of Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Project Engineer Owner
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Draftsman/Designer Computer Aided Design Designer Senior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Project Manager Owner
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Project Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Engineer Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Manufacturing Engineer Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Drafter
Senior Drafter
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Senior Design Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Senior Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Consultant Architect
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Engineer Maintenance Supervisor Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Estimator Estimator Project Manager Construction Manager
Commercial Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Field Service Technician Service Engineer
Engineering Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Estimator Senior Estimator
Construction Consultant
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Draftsman?

Draftsman Demographics

Gender

Male

82.9%

Female

9.1%

Unknown

8.0%
Ethnicity

White

61.7%

Hispanic or Latino

16.5%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

6.7%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

55.0%

French

9.4%

Carrier

4.0%

German

4.0%

Russian

3.5%

Portuguese

3.5%

Arabic

3.0%

Italian

2.5%

Japanese

2.5%

Chinese

2.0%

Mandarin

1.5%

Armenian

1.5%

Cantonese

1.5%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Korean

1.0%

Indonesian

1.0%

Ukrainian

1.0%

Filipino

1.0%

Polish

1.0%

Dutch

0.5%
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Draftsman Education

Schools

Houston Community College

8.9%

University of Phoenix

8.6%

University of Houston

7.0%

Purdue University

5.7%

Oklahoma State University

5.5%

Pennsylvania State University

5.5%

A-Technical College

5.5%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

5.4%

ITT Technical Institute-Houston West

4.8%

Texas A&M University

4.6%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

4.4%

Pittsburgh Technical Institute

4.4%

University of Texas at Arlington

4.3%

Wentworth Institute of Technology

4.0%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

3.6%

Porter and Chester Institute

3.6%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.6%

Auburn University

3.5%

Lamar University

3.5%

Florida International University

3.5%
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Majors

Drafting And Design

34.0%

Architecture

12.0%

Mechanical Engineering

8.1%

Business

6.1%

Civil Engineering

5.5%

Engineering

3.4%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

3.4%

Industrial Technology

3.2%

Graphic Design

3.1%

Electrical Engineering

2.7%

Construction Management

2.3%

Architectural Technology

2.2%

Engineering Technology

2.0%

Computer Science

1.9%

Environmental Design

1.8%

Project Management

1.8%

Fine Arts

1.6%

Management

1.6%

Interior Design

1.6%

Education

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

30.4%

Other

27.5%

Associate

27.2%

Certificate

6.2%

Masters

5.7%

Diploma

2.4%

Doctorate

0.4%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$49,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$32,000
Min 10%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Bennett
Highest Paying City
Alameda, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.8 years
How much does a Draftsman make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Draftsman in the United States is $49,186 per year or $24 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $32,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $74,000.

Real Draftsman Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
America's Cup Draftsman Artemis Racing USA, Inc. Alameda, CA Jan 07, 2015 $90,000
Draftsman Welkin Mechanical, LLC NY Sep 24, 2016 $63,752
Draftsman Welkin Mechanical, LLC NY Jan 10, 2016 $63,752
Draftsman Portland Services, LLC Miami, FL Jun 20, 2011 $57,096
BIM Technician/Draftsman McCool Carlson Green Anchorage, AK Oct 11, 2016 $57,000
E.I.T./Draftsman The Holt Group, Inc. El Centro, CA Sep 11, 2014 $55,000
Chief Structural Draftsman American Structural Engineers of Nevada Inc. Las Vegas, NV Sep 10, 2012 $52,624
Cadd Draftman Ben C. Gerwick, Inc. Oakland, CA Aug 29, 2013 $51,958
Chief Structural Draftsman American Structural Engineers Las Vegas, NV Sep 10, 2011 $44,866
Chief Structural Draftsman American Structural Engineers of Nevada Inc. Las Vegas, NV Sep 10, 2011 $44,866
Marine Draftsman Bennett & Associates, L.L.C. New Orleans, LA Sep 13, 2011 $44,762
Draftsman Lee and Sakahara Architects, Inc. Irvine, CA Jun 01, 2015 $42,000
Structural Draftsman Uzun and Case Engineers, LLC Atlanta, GA Sep 20, 2014 $42,000
Draftsman Thomas & Sons Builders, (D/B/A T&S Builders) New Milford, NJ Aug 02, 2016 $40,643
Hvac Draftsman South Seminole Sheet Metal Apopka, FL May 17, 2010 $35,500
Draftsman Building Solution Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Feb 24, 2010 $33,100

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Top Skills for A Draftsman

  1. Engineering Department
  2. Autocad
  3. CAD
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Develop fabrication and construction documents of fabric covered steel structures for the engineering department of recreational facilities.
  • Produced mailings for AutoCAD classes offered at our facility
  • Assisted with drafting for existing and proposed residential projects using AutoCAD
  • Prepared layouts to establish the component integration and wave-guide routing on communication equipment.
  • Generate architectural working drawings for new construction, building additions and municipal infrastructure improvements.

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Top 10 Best States for Draftsmen

  1. Arizona
  2. Illinois
  3. Georgia
  4. North Dakota
  5. Alaska
  6. Oklahoma
  7. Connecticut
  8. Colorado
  9. Iowa
  10. Oregon
  • (77 jobs)
  • (73 jobs)
  • (281 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)
  • (25 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (65 jobs)
  • (41 jobs)
  • (43 jobs)

Top Draftsman Employers

Jobs From Top Draftsman Employers

Draftsman Videos

Designer/Draftsman, Career Video from drkit.org

Designer/Draftsman, Career Video from drkit.org

Mechanical Design Draftsman, Career Video from drkit.org

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