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Become A Senior Drafter

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Working As A Senior Drafter

  • 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

  • $52,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Drafter 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 Senior Drafter

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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Senior Drafter Career Paths

Senior Drafter
Senior Designer Design Manager Project Manager
Director Of Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Project Manager Owner/Operator
Construction Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Owner
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Mechanical Designer Senior Mechanical Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Mechanical Designer Senior Mechanical Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Mechanical Designer
Lead Mechanical Designer
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Mechanical Designer
11 Yearsyrs
Design Manager Manager Owner
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Design Manager Project Manager/Design Manager Construction Manager
Senior Project Manager Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Manager Facilities Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Manager Owner/Operator Construction Manager
Commercial Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Owner Project Superintendent Assistant Project Manager
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Piping Designer Lead Designer Senior Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Piping Designer Lead Designer Senior Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Piping Designer Principal Designer Project Manager/Design Manager
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Supervisor Unit Manager Section Manager
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Supervisor Senior Supervisor Section Manager
Manager Of Engineering Department
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Engineer Staff Design Engineer Project Architect
Senior Architectural Designer
9 Yearsyrs
Design Checker
11 Yearsyrs
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Senior Drafter Demographics

Gender

Male

69.7%

Female

22.5%

Unknown

7.8%
Ethnicity

White

59.9%

Hispanic or Latino

19.0%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

6.1%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.8%

German

11.8%

Vietnamese

5.9%

French

5.9%

Carrier

5.9%

Mandarin

5.9%

Polish

5.9%
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Senior Drafter Education

Schools

University of Houston

12.0%

Houston Community College

10.0%

Lamar University

7.0%

University of Phoenix

6.0%

Brevard Community College

5.0%

Charter College

5.0%

York Technical Institute

5.0%

A-Technical College

5.0%

Northeastern University

5.0%

Trident Technical College

4.0%

Pennsylvania State University

4.0%

ITT Technical Institute-Sylmar

4.0%

Southern Technical College

4.0%

Austin Community College

4.0%

Northern Illinois University

4.0%

John Tyler Community College

4.0%

Eastfield College

3.0%

Milwaukee Area Technical College

3.0%

Saddleback College

3.0%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.0%
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Majors

Drafting And Design

42.5%

Business

5.7%

Architecture

5.3%

Mechanical Engineering

5.1%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

4.5%

Engineering Technology

4.2%

Industrial Technology

3.8%

Computer Science

3.0%

Civil Engineering

3.0%

Graphic Design

2.8%

Engineering

2.8%

Management

2.6%

Project Management

2.6%

Interior Design

2.2%

Construction Management

2.2%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.8%

Electrical Engineering

1.6%

Education

1.6%

Architectural Engineering

1.6%

Liberal Arts

1.4%
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Degrees

Associate

36.8%

Other

25.0%

Bachelors

23.4%

Certificate

7.7%

Masters

4.0%

Diploma

2.8%

Doctorate

0.1%
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Top Skills for A Senior Drafter

  1. Engineering Department
  2. Autocad
  3. CAD
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained documentation of engineering department, including computer files.
  • Create new sketches, illustrations and drawings per engineer's instructions using MicroStation, AutoCAD, SP3D or equivalent software.
  • Maintained CAD Software inventory and scheduled drawing completion.
  • Re-designed the overall physical layout of the Design Documentation department and implemented those changes resulting in a more efficient departmental flow.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in training new drafters conforming with company design standards and practices.

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