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AutoCAD Drafting Career Info, Job Duties, and Employment Options

Working as a AutoCAD drafter requires little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

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AutoCAD drafters need training in computer-aided drafting software through a technical training program. They have many options for employment, but job growth is expected to be slow for drafters over the next few years.

Essential Information

AutoCAD drafters must have a strong knowledge of computer-aided drafting software. These drafters create the detailed construction plans that are used to build skyscrapers, toys and even microchips. Individuals who are interested in becoming drafters must complete a technical training program, many of which lead to the award of a certificate or associate's degree in drafting. Thorough understanding of the program AutoCAD is essential in this career.

Required Education Certificate or associate's degree in drafting
Other Requirements Voluntary certification available through the American Design Drafting Association
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) -3% for all drafters; 5% for electronics and electrical drafters*
Median Salary (2016) $50,710 for architectural and civil drafters; $53,520 for mechanical drafters; $59,520 for electrical and electronics drafters*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

AutoCAD Drafting Career Information

An AutoCAD drafter is someone who is able to use a program called AutoCAD to draft plans and technical drawings that are used to build such things as appliances, toys, industrial machinery, houses, pipelines and even spacecrafts. It is typically a requirement that all drafters learn AutoCAD, which is a computer program created by a company called Autodesk, Incorporated. The drafters themselves do not construct items from the plans they create; they simply deliver the detailed plans for creation and pass them off to construction and production workers.

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Job Duties

Some of the main skills required of an AutoCAD drafter are mechanical drawing and drafting. They also need knowledge of drafting standards, science, mathematics and engineering technology. It is important for an AutoCAD drafter to have a strong background in computer-based design and drafting methods.

The day-to-day tasks of an AutoCAD drafter include creating, organizing and storing electronic plans, which will then be printed or even directly programmed into manufacturing systems for automatic creation. Although AutoCAD drafting is based around the AutoCAD program, drafters must also have traditional knowledge of drafting techniques. This traditional background makes them more versatile and can be helpful in explaining certain aspects of their work to supervisors or committees.

Employment Options

There are numerous fields available within the drafting profession, including aeronautical drafting, architectural drafting, civil drafting, electrical drafting, electronics drafting, mechanical drafting and pipeline drafting. AutoCAD drafters are typically hired into industries such as architecture, engineering, machinery, electronics and computer products, metal fabrication and transportation.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the rates of employment growth or decline in drafting depend on the industry doing the hiring and the level of education of the AutoCAD drafter. For example, electrical and electronics drafters are expected to see a 5% increase in employment opportunities from 2014-2024, while drafters overall may see a 3% decrease in job prospects. Drafters with two years of post-secondary training generally have the best employment opportunities.

AutoCAD drafters use computer programs to create plans for various projects. They need a certificate or associate's degree from a vocational program. Although job prospects are expected to be on the decline overall for the next ten years, opportunities are expected to increase for electrical and electronics drafters.

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