Blueprint Reading Course and Training Program Information

Learn about educational options in blueprint reading. See training program information and prerequisites, as well as potential career options. Review the employment outlook and salary statistics for plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters.

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Essential Information

Courses in blueprint reading are often part of the curricula of vocational, apprenticeship and engineering degree programs, including mechanics, plumbing and carpentry certificate and associate degree programs. Completion of this coursework might best serve specialists in those fields.

A few colleges also offer stand-alone blueprint reading training programs. Such programs require a high school education that included drafting, shop or similar classes. They are designed to prepare participants to read and interpret mechanical and industrial drawings. Program content explores each of the formal elements of blueprints - including lines, perspective and scale - and how their representation of an object is translated into a real object.

Programs might be customized to focus on welding, construction or manufacturing blueprints. Students learn to identify elevations, floor plans and foundations from construction blueprints, as well as how to match parts to a drawing and assess tooling requirements from manufacturing blueprints. A training program can be completed in under a year and may result in a certificate.

Education Prerequisites

Admission to a blueprint reading training program requires a GED or high school diploma. High schools courses in shop, welding, drawing and drafting may also be good preparation.

Program Coursework

Blueprint reading training programs sometimes consist of half a dozen courses, but more often tend to consist of a single long course that surveys multiple topics. The following are among the topics addressed in a long course:

  • Blueprint reading basics
  • Lines and line characteristics
  • Projection views
  • Dimension lines
  • Fractional dimensions
  • Design tolerances
  • Multi-view drawings
  • Industry-specific blueprints

Popular Career Options

Training in blueprint reading by itself isn't sufficient qualification for any one career, but blueprint reading is an important and essential skill for many fields. Individuals working in the following job fields may benefit from blueprint reading courses and training programs:

  • Cement masons
  • HVAC mechanics
  • Plumbers
  • Machinists
  • Carpenters

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted 20% job growth for carpenters and 26% employment expansion for plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters, from 2010-2020. In 2012, the BLS noted that carpenters earned an annual median salary of $39,940, while plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters earned $49,140.

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