Architectural draftsmen, also referred to as architectural drafters, use design artistry and drafting software to create blueprints for buildings. While not mandatory, formal education and certification can lead to better job opportunities. With experience, continued education and licensure, an architectural draftsman may advance to the position of architect.
|Required Education or Training||None. However, employers often prefer candidates with an associate's degree|
|Exam Requirements||Drafter Certification Examination|
|Job Outlook* (2012-2022)||1%|
|Mean Salary* (2014)||$52,480|
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Architectural Draftsman License Information
Licensure is not mandatory for becoming an architectural draftsman; however, advancement into an architect position does require licensure. Requirements for licensure vary according to state, but generally include a professional architecture degree from a school accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. After graduation, candidates must complete internships or similar professional training programs and pass the Architect Registration Examination. Some states require architects to complete periodic continuing education to maintain licensure.
Architectural Draftsman Certification Program Information
Architectural draftsmen can earn certification to prove drafting knowledge and enhance professional credibility to prospective employers. The American Design Drafting Association offers a certification program to a variety of drafters of all education levels (www.adda.org). The certification process entails passing the Drafter Certification Examination with a score of at least 75%. Candidates are tested on general theories, principles and possible situations in the drafting occupation. Drafters must renew certification every five years, which entails providing proof of employment.
Education Information for Architectural Draftsmen
While formal education is not required for certification, most employers prefer applicants with a degree. An associate's degree in architectural drafting can lead to greater employment opportunities. A bachelor's degree in architecture can gain a drafter advancement into technician, engineer or architect positions.
Associate of Applied Science in Architectural Drafting
Many community colleges and technical schools offer associate's degree programs in architectural drafting. These programs typically take two years to complete and prepare students for entry-level positions in drafting. Course topics may include engineering design, computer-assisted drafting, building mechanics and construction materials. Compared to community colleges, technical schools tend to focus more on practical application and less on general education and architectural theory.
Bachelor of Science in Architecture
While most 4-year universities and colleges do not offer degree programs in drafting, many offer bachelor's degree programs in architecture. These programs can prepare students for careers in drafting or advancement into architecture positions. Course topics may include building systems, architectural programming, structural planning and design.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported annual mean salaries of $52,480 for architectural and civil drafters and $80,490 for architects. From 2012-2022, the BLS predicted slow job growth of 1% for architectural and civil drafters, while architects could look forward to faster-than-average growth of 17% during that same time period.