Courses in blueprint reading are often part of the curricula of vocational and apprenticeship programs, including engineering, mechanics, plumbing and carpentry certificate and associate degree programs. Completion of this coursework might best serve specialists in those fields.
However, a few colleges offer stand-alone blueprint reading training programs. Programs might be customized to focus on welding, construction or manufacturing blueprints. A training program can be completed in under a year and may result in a certificate. Such programs require a high school education. Courses in drafting, shop, drawing, welding may also be good preparation.
Blueprint Reading Courses and Training
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. 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. Students learn the following in their coursework:
- Lines and line characteristics
- Projection views
- Dimension lines
- Fractional dimensions
- Design tolerances
- Multi-view drawings
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
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 6% job growth for carpenters and a 12% employment expansion for plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters from 2014-2024. In 2015, the BLS noted that carpenters earned an annual median salary of $42,090 while plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters earned $50,620.
Blueprint reading training programs provide students with marketable skills that might be useful in a variety of trades, such as the ability to interpret projection views, fractional dimensions and design tolerances.