Drafting Career Information, Duties and Job Descriptions

Drafters help with construction by creating plans and technical drawings of everything from architecture to mechanical instruments. The drawings create guidelines, such as dimensions, calculations and weight restrictions, which workers use to plan and assemble buildings and products.

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Drafting Career Information

Drafting was traditionally a paper and pencil profession, with workers sitting at drafting desks drawing technical plans using drafting tools. Today, though some workers still draw by hand, most workers use computer-aided design and drafting software (CADD).

CADD software allows workers to create drawings and plans in a much more dynamic fashion, making it easier to calculate dimensions and materials and make changes when needed. CADD drawings can also be programmed into manufacturing equipment, allowing products to be produced exactly as drafters design them.

Job Descriptions

Drafters can choose to specialize in certain industries. Electrical drafters plan the layout and wiring in large structures, including manufacturing plants, buildings and power plants. Mechanical drafters provide drawings for manufacturing machinery and devices. Civil drafters create specifications for large civil projects like bridges and flood control. Architectural drafters work specifically on buildings and can specialize further in certain types of buildings, such as skyscrapers.

Skill and Career Requirements

Drafters often spend the majority of their time working in CADD programs, so proficiency with computers and software is important. They must be able to use three dimensional (3D) modeling, perform construction estimating and work with specialized software. Good communication skills are also important because drafters need to communicate with employees and the workers who will follow their designs.

Job Duties

Drafters create project drawings from blueprints, sketches and photos. Drafters are often responsible for important calculations that accompany drawings. Calculations of weight limits, volume and stress factors are important for the workers that will construct the designs. Drafters typically work with a team of people and may need to communicate and collaborate with several types of professionals.

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that drafters may experience a four percent growth in their field from 2008-2018, which is slower than average (www.bls.gov). The BLS also notes that many drafting positions are concentrated in manufacturing which is slowly declining, with product competition also responsible for some of the slowdown. According to the BLS, average annual salaries for drafters vary by industry, with mechanical drafters earning $46,640, electrical drafters earning $51,320 and the average for architectural and civil drafters at $44,490.

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Top Architectural Drafting Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Popular Schools

  • School locations:
    • Alabama (3 campuses)
    • Arkansas (1 campus)
    • Arizona (3)
    • California (14)
    • Colorado (2)
    • Florida (11)
    • Georgia (4)
    • Iowa (1)
    • Idaho (1)
    • Illinois (3)
    • Indiana (5)
    • Kansas (2)
    • Kentucky (2)
    • Louisiana (2)
    • Maryland (2)
    • Michigan (6)
    • Minnesota (2)
    • Missouri (4)
    • Mississippi (1)
    • North Carolina (4)
    • Nebraska (1)
    • New Mexico (1)
    • Nevada (2)
    • New York (3)
    • Ohio (9)
    • Oklahoma (2)
    • Oregon (2)
    • South Carolina (4)
    • Tennessee (5)
    • Texas (8)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (5)
    • Washington (3)
    • Wisconsin (3)
    • West Virginia (1)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor in Construction Management
    • Associate
        • Associate in Computer Drafting and Design

    What year did you graduate from high school?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED; Graduate degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Master
        • MS in Engineering Management

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Utah (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Utah State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Biological and Agricultural Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Drafting and Design Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
  • School locations:
    • Idaho (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Boise State University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework, Diploma
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Drafting and Design Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Manufacturing Engineering
      • Materials Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
  • School locations:
    • Kentucky (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Eastern Kentucky University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Drafting and Design Engineering
      • Engineering - Architectural
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Manufacturing Engineering
      • Math
  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Southwestern College include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Engineering
      • Drafting and Design Engineering
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Manufacturing Engineering
      • Math
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Ferris State University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Drafting and Design Engineering
        • CAD Drafting and Design Technology
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Engineering - Architectural
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Industrial Engineering
      • Manufacturing Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Plastics Engineering
      • Surveying
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (2 campuses)
    Areas of study you may find at Indiana University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Drafting and Design Engineering
        • Architectural Drafting and Design
        • Mechanical Drafting and Design
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Engineering - Architectural
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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