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Become A Mechanical Draftsman

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Working As A Mechanical 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

  • $60,993

    Average Salary

What Does A Mechanical 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 Mechanical 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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Mechanical Draftsman Jobs

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Mechanical Draftsman Career Paths

Mechanical Draftsman
Civil Draftsman Draftsman/Designer Project Architect
Assistant Construction Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Draftsman/Designer Computer Aided Design Designer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer & Draftsman Mechanical Designer Senior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Project Administrator Document Controller
Document Control Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Mechanical Designer Project Engineer
Engineering Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Mechanical Designer Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Engineering Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Designer Project Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Design Engineer Project Engineer
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Piping Designer Field Engineer Network Administrator
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Designer Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Mechanical Designer Senior Mechanical Engineer Mechanical Engineering Manager
Mechanical Engineering Director
11 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer & Draftsman Senior Mechanical Designer Senior Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Process Engineer Plant Engineer
Plant Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Draftsman/Designer Designer
Project Manager/Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Piping Designer Senior Designer Senior Engineer
Section Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Adjunct Professor Senior Instructional Designer
Senior Designer/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Operations Manager Site Manager
Site/Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Designer Design Engineer Engineering Manager
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Mechanical Draftsman?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Draftsman/Designer 4.2 years
Draftsman 3.7 years
Autocad Draftsman 3.0 years
Drafter 2.8 years
Top Employers Before
Draftsman 34.4%
Drafter 3.7%
Designer 2.6%
Internship 2.6%
Top Employers After
Draftsman 11.8%
Designer 5.8%
Engineer 2.3%

Do you work as a Mechanical Draftsman?

Mechanical Draftsman Demographics

Gender

Male

92.6%

Female

6.4%

Unknown

1.0%
Ethnicity

White

64.8%

Hispanic or Latino

13.9%

Black or African American

10.5%

Asian

6.2%

Unknown

4.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.1%

German

14.3%

Venetian

7.1%

Lakota

7.1%

Carrier

7.1%

Thai

7.1%
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Mechanical Draftsman Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.5%

A-Technical College

8.3%

Texas State Technical College - Waco

6.3%

West Virginia University

6.3%

Pima Community College

4.2%

Moraine Valley Community College

4.2%

ITT Technical Institute-Newburgh

4.2%

ITT Technical Institute-Bessemer

4.2%

Morrison Institute of Technology

4.2%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

4.2%

Dean College

4.2%

ITT Technical Institute-Fort Wayne

4.2%

Rio Hondo College

4.2%

University of New Hampshire

4.2%

Pennsylvania State University

4.2%

Cuyahoga Community College

4.2%

York Technical College

4.2%

Northern Oklahoma College

4.2%

Lamar University

4.2%

Onondaga Community College

4.2%
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Majors

Drafting And Design

40.7%

Mechanical Engineering

11.3%

Business

6.9%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

6.0%

Industrial Technology

4.0%

Graphic Design

3.2%

Architecture

3.2%

Electrical Engineering

3.2%

Engineering

3.2%

Engineering Technology

2.4%

Computer Science

2.4%

Computer Information Systems

2.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.6%

Architectural Engineering

1.6%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.6%

Civil Engineering

1.6%

Mechatronics And Robotics

1.2%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.2%

Animation

1.2%

Project Management

1.2%
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Degrees

Other

35.2%

Associate

30.8%

Bachelors

19.4%

Certificate

5.4%

Masters

4.8%

Diploma

4.1%

License

0.3%
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Top Skills for A Mechanical Draftsman

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  1. Assembly Drawings
  2. Engineering Department
  3. Layout Drawings
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created drawings and assembly drawings for production, make changes to existing product and create new product releases.
  • Collaborate with engineering department on design and redesign of equipment and machines.
  • Design drafted and layout drawings for furnace blower housings for both commercial and residential usage.
  • Produced HVAC, plumbing, and electrical construction documents for commercial, educational, and industrial projects using AutoCAD 2006.
  • Performed general drafting tasks under supervision of lead engineer, including assisting with first iterations of newly released products.

How Would You Rate Working As a Mechanical Draftsman?

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Top Mechanical Draftsman Employers

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Jobs From Top Mechanical Draftsman Employers

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