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Salary and Career Info for Drafting and Design Technologists

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a drafting or design technologist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and salary expectations to find out if this is the career for you.

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Electrical and electronic drafters, architectural and civil drafters, and mechanical drafters are all drafting and design technologists. Civil, mechanical, and electrical and electronic engineering technicians also fall within this career category. Drafting and design technologists are required to have a certificate or associate's degree in drafting before entering the field.

Essential Information

Drafting and design technologists make schematics used in construction and manufacturing. They can specialize in mechanical device production, civil engineering projects, and architectural construction. Most drafters hold certificates or associate's degrees in drafting. Salaries vary, depending on the industry, with electrical drafters making the most money. Some are called engineering technologists, and salaries are comparable.

Required Education Certificate or associate's degree in drafting
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* -3% for all types of drafters
Median Salary (2015)* $59,520 for electrical and electronic drafters; $50,710 for architectural and civil drafters

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Salary Information for Drafting and Design Technologists

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2015 that architectural and civil drafters earned a median annual salary of $50,710 (www.bls.gov). Mechanical drafters earned a median of $53,520 that same year, stated the BLS. Electrical and electronic drafters had the highest median wage at $59,520 in May 2015, while the median for drafters working within other industries was $49,650, according to the BLS.

According to the American Design Drafting Association, design technologists can also be known as engineering technicians. In May 2015, the BLS reported salaries for engineering technicians to be comparable to their drafting counterparts. The median wage for civil engineering technicians was $49,260. Mechanical engineering technicians earned $53,910, while electrical and electronic engineering technicians made $61,130.

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Career Information for Drafting and Design Technologists

The BLS projected overall employment of drafters to decrease by three percent between 2014-2024; however, mechanical drafters were expected to see a 7% decline in job opportunities at that same time. Employment for architectural and civil drafters is expected to decline 3%, while electrical and electronics drafters should see average growth of 5%, stated the BLS.

Drafting and design technologists typically complete formal education program in design technology at a community college or four-year university. Program coursework covers computer-aided drafting, drawing, design, computer technology, and drafting theory.

Job Description and Duties

Drafting and design technologists create technical drawings and schematics based on the work of architects, design engineers, or scientists. These drawings, created using computer-aided design (CAD) software, act as guidelines and instructions for construction crews and manufacturing workers. In some cases, CAD schematics are used to program automated manufacturing systems.

Drafting duties include making dimension, weight, and stress calculations, identifying materials, and noting construction procedures. Design technologists have additional duties such as testing concepts and prototypes, performing surveys or inspections, and evaluating finished products.

Drafting and design technologists produce technical drawings used in construction and manufacturing. Electrical and electronic drafters and engineering technicians earned the highest median salaries in 2015. Electrical and electronic drafters are expected to experience a job growth rate of 5% from 2014 to 2024, while jobs for mechanical and architectural and civil drafters will decline.

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