In an associate's or bachelor's program in drafting, students learn how to create blueprints and technical drawings for the construction of houses, buildings, and other structures. Most programs include extensive training with drafting software, like AutoCAD. Coursework may be available on campus or online, depending on the school.
Associate's Degree Programs in Drafting
Graduates of a 2-year program in drafting are typically awarded an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. In some cases, graduates from a 2-year degree program go on to pursue a 4-year degree in drafting or engineering. Some courses might include:
- Blueprint reading
- Computer-aided drafting
Bachelor's Degree Programs in Drafting
Many schools with a 4-year program in drafting offer a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in computer-aided drafting and design. Some students might elect to pursue a bachelor's degree in mechanical or civil engineering. These programs offer several courses in computer-aided manufacturing and product design and drafting and may include:
- Technical design
Popular Career Options
On-the-job training usually involves a progression from junior to senior drafter, with junior drafters being closely supervised before moving on to become intermediate drafters. In this position, drafters gradually begin to work with less supervision and take on more responsibility. Graduates can be qualified to work in various roles within the public and private sectors and can help design buildings or technological products used in software. Possible areas of drafting specialization include:
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a small decline in drafting positions over the 2014-2024 decade (3%), possibly due to an increasing number of architects and mechanical engineers taking on drafting as an additional responsibility. The BLS also states that in May 2015, architectural and civil drafters earned a median salary of $50,710, electrical and electronics drafters earned a median wage of $59,520, and mechanical drafters earned a median of $53,520.
The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) provides a voluntary certification in drafting (www.adda.org). Candidates must pass an examination to obtain this credential. No job experience or education requirements are needed to achieve a drafting certification from the ADDA. Re-certification requirements must be completed every five years.
The ADDA also hosts an annual 4-day educational conference as part of its continuing education program. Attendees participate in sessions and seminars focusing on advancements in software and techniques used in drafting. Some colleges and universities offer seminars in technical drawing and architecture as part of their continuing education programs.
Those who wish to pursue drafting as a career can choose to complete either an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree. While the job outlook for drafters is slower than average, median salaries in the field typically fall between $50,000 and $60,000.