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Blueprint Reading Course and Training Program Information

Workers in many different parts of the building trades can benefit from learning to read blueprints, particularly as they advance in seniority. Courses in this subject are often part of the curriculum in vocational, apprenticeship and engineering degree programs, such as mechanics, plumbing and carpentry certificate and associate degree programs. A few colleges also offer stand-alone blueprint reading training programs.

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Blueprint Reading Training Programs

A blueprint reading training program prepares 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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