How to Become an Architectural Drafter

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Architectural drafting is an important part of the construction field. Architectural drafters are highly skilled professionals that create detailed drawings of the structural and architectural aspects of a variety of buildings and other structures.


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What does an architectural drafter do?

Architectural drafters develop structural plans for a variety of construction and remodeling projects for many different types of buildings such as private residences, office buildings, schools, factories, and entertainment venues. They provide specific details about the design and measurements of the structure as well as the construction plans. They often gather ideas, notes, and sketches from other professionals to create their plans. Architectural drafters also carefully inspect their drawings to identify and correct any mistakes. Architectural drafters often use Computer Aided Design and Drafting Systems (CADD) to help with their tasks. Many architectural drafters specialize in a certain type of structure including commercial and residential buildings. Some also concentrate on a specific type of material such as timber, concrete, steel, and masonry.

What kind of training does an architectural drafter need?

Architectural drafters need at least a high school diploma and formal drafting training from a post-secondary institution. Prospective architectural drafters often take courses in mathematics, computer graphics, architectural design, and computer-aided design. They also learn the technical specifications of many different buildings and structures. Most employers provide some on the job training so that new architectural drafters can learn the policies, procedures, and expectations of the company. Many architectural drafters gain voluntary certification from the American Design Drafting Association to remain competitive in the field. Certification requirements include minimum education and experience requirements and passing a written examination. Architectural drafters must stay up to date on advancements in the field and often complete continuing education throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as an architectural drafter?

Employment of architectural drafters is expected to grow slower than average for all professions, increasing 6% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Industrial growth and the increased demand for architectural drafting services will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for architectural drafters with advanced training and skills. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace architectural drafters that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do architectural drafters make?

As of November 2009, the middle 50% of architectural drafters earn annual salaries between $33,937 and $49,490. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $56,918 (2).

A career as an architectural drafter is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in architecture and drafting. Architectural drafters should have good artistic abilities and detail orientation. They should be able to visualize many different objects in two and three dimensions. Mechanical ability, creativity, accuracy, preciseness, and good eye-hand coordination are essential characteristics. Architectural drafters must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills because they work with a variety of other professionals.

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