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Become A Draftsperson

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Working As A Draftsperson

  • 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

  • $51,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Draftsperson 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 Draftsperson

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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Draftsperson Career Paths

Draftsperson
Computer Aided Design Designer Designer Design Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Designer Project Manager
Director Of Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Design Engineer Project Engineer
Construction Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Designer Project Manager Owner
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Project Engineer Owner
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Project Engineer Superintendent
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Architectural Designer Project Architect Construction Manager
Senior Project Manager Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Architectural Designer Architect Interior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Architectural Designer Architect Senior Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Interior Designer Senior Designer Senior Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Interior Designer Consultant Architect
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Construction Manager
Capital Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Architect Construction Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Drafter Design Drafter
Senior Drafter
6 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Project Manager Project Director
Manager, Project Director
8 Yearsyrs
Drafter Engineer Service Engineer
Engineering Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Drafter Estimator Project Superintendent
Commercial Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Drafter Estimator Senior Estimator
Construction Consultant
11 Yearsyrs
Design Drafter Structural Designer
Senior Architectural Designer
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Draftsperson?

Draftsperson Demographics

Gender

Male

45.8%

Female

44.6%

Unknown

9.7%
Ethnicity

White

63.1%

Hispanic or Latino

15.5%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

6.9%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.1%

German

12.5%

French

6.3%

Italian

6.3%

Portuguese

3.1%

Filipino

3.1%

Romanian

3.1%

Japanese

3.1%

Mandarin

3.1%

Russian

3.1%

Thai

3.1%
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Draftsperson Education

Schools

Wentworth Institute of Technology

7.7%

Drexel University

7.7%

University of Phoenix

6.9%

New York Institute of Technology - Old Westbury

6.9%

Pennsylvania State University

6.2%

New York Institute of Technology - Manhattan Campus

6.2%

University of Akron

5.4%

New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York

5.4%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

5.4%

Island Drafting and Technical Institute

4.6%

New England Institute of Technology

4.6%

Porter and Chester Institute

4.6%

University of Southern Mississippi

3.8%

Texas A&M University

3.8%

A-Technical College

3.8%

Pratt Institute-Main

3.8%

Lincoln Technical Institute

3.8%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

3.1%

Pennsylvania College of Technology

3.1%

Kansas State University

3.1%
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Majors

Drafting And Design

22.9%

Architecture

20.1%

Interior Design

10.0%

Business

6.3%

Architectural Technology

4.9%

Mechanical Engineering

4.7%

Civil Engineering

3.6%

Graphic Design

3.5%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.9%

Engineering

2.3%

Fine Arts

2.2%

Environmental Design

2.2%

Electrical Engineering

2.1%

Education

2.1%

Management

2.1%

Architectural Engineering Technology

1.9%

Computer Science

1.8%

Accounting

1.8%

Industrial Technology

1.4%

Project Management

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

36.6%

Associate

22.7%

Other

22.5%

Masters

8.4%

Certificate

6.5%

Diploma

2.7%

License

0.3%

Doctorate

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$51,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$30,000
Min 10%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
PulteGroup
Highest Paying City
Palo Alto, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.9 years
How much does a Draftsperson make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Draftsperson in the United States is $51,587 per year or $25 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $30,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $86,000.

Real Draftsperson Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Architectural Draftsperson Partners for Architcture Inc. Stamford, CT Aug 12, 2013 $84,294
Senior Autocad Draftsperson Set Management LLC Portland, OR Apr 22, 2014 $70,000
Senior Autocad Draftsperson Set Construction LLC Columbus, OH Jun 17, 2013 $65,000
Architectural Draftsperson Rand Engineering & Architecture P.C. New York, NY Nov 16, 2013 $61,000
Technical Draftsperson Lexington Acquisition, Inc. CA Jan 08, 2016 $58,436
Architectural Draftperson Fergus Garber Young Architects Palo Alto, CA Nov 01, 2016 $55,827
Architectural Draftperson Fergus Garber Young Architects Palo Alto, CA Jan 11, 2015 $55,827
Architectural Draftsperson Partners for Architecture Inc. Stamford, CT Aug 22, 2016 $55,000
Draftsperson A+H Architecture New York, NY May 26, 2014 $53,219
Architectural Draftsperson Rand Engineering & Architecture P.C. New York, NY Nov 16, 2010 $53,000
Draftperson James Lyman Reynolds, Architect Stone Ridge, NY Jun 18, 2016 $52,175 -
$58,436
Architectural Draftsperson Ennead Architects LLP New York, NY Oct 31, 2011 $52,000
Architectural Draftsperson Architects Orange Orange, CA Sep 17, 2016 $50,088
Draftsperson Leroy Street Studio Architecture, P.C. New York, NY Sep 24, 2015 $50,000
Architectural Draftsperson Fergus Garber Young Architects Palo Alto, CA Feb 11, 2015 $48,523
Architectural Draftsperson Fergus Garber Young Architects Palo Alto, CA Jan 11, 2015 $48,523
Draftsperson Verde Design Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jul 12, 2014 $48,168
Draftsperson Verde Design Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jul 15, 2014 $48,168
Draftsperson Verde Design Inc. Santa Clara, CA Aug 27, 2014 $48,168
Architectural Draftperson Partners for Architecture Stamford, CT Sep 14, 2013 $43,514
Draftsperson Permasteelisa North America Corp. Miami, FL Aug 19, 2013 $42,994
Architectural Draftsperson Partners for Architecture Inc. Stamford, CT Aug 12, 2013 $42,000
Draftsperson RMGA, Inc. Southern Pines, NC Sep 23, 2012 $41,761
Draftsperson RGMA, Inc. Southern Pines, NC Sep 23, 2012 $41,761
Architectural Draftsperson Ray + Hollington Architects Houston, TX Aug 25, 2015 $41,740
Architectural Draftsperson Architects Orange Orange, CA Aug 31, 2015 $41,600
Architectural Draftsperson Architects Orange Orange, CA Aug 09, 2016 $41,600
Draftsperson Spivak Architects, PC New York, NY Sep 07, 2015 $40,643
Draftsperson Permasteelisa North America Corp. Miami, FL Aug 19, 2013 $40,019

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Top Skills for A Draftsperson

  1. Engineering Department
  2. Layout
  3. CAD
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Configured drawings of operable-folding walls interacting with engineering department, national-international distributors and architects.
  • Produced commercial construction drawings including laboratory layouts for blueprints from architect's designs.
  • Drafted construction documents using AutoCAD, managed renovation projects related to real estate development
  • Researched sustainable materials and new construction methods.
  • Provided freelance support transferring existing hand drawings of residential homes to computer drafted permit drawings.

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