Drafting Education and Training Program Information

Drafting refers to the preparation of blueprints and technical drawings for the construction of houses, buildings and other structures. Drafters can work for construction companies, engineering or design firms, manufacturing companies, government agencies or architectural firms. An educational background in drafting is typically required for those seeking a career in this occupation.

Drafting Training Requirements and Recommendations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many employers require that drafting prospects have a 2- or 4-year degree from a community college, technical college or university (www.bls.gov). The BLS also states that technical training programs offered by the Armed Forces can prepare one for a career in drafting. In some cases, additional training may be needed beyond an Armed Forces program before one can begin working in this field.

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. If desired, intermediate drafters can attain the status of senior or lead drafter.

Formal Education

Students enrolled in drafting educational programs study engineering, mathematics and architecture in addition to drafting courses. They learn to create 2- and 3-dimensional drafts utilizing computer-aided design (CAD) programs and to produce drawings based on measurements and engineering specifications. While some employers will accept those with a 2-year degree, many prefer job candidates to possess a 4-year degree.

Associate's Degrees

Graduates of a 2-year program in drafting are typically awarded an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. Program coursework includes blueprint reading, sketching, computer-aided drafting, mathematics and geometry. In some cases, graduates from a 2-year degree program go on to pursue a 4-year degree in drafting or engineering.

Bachelor's Degrees

Many schools with a 4-year program in drafting offer a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in computer-aided drafting and design. Topics covered in the curriculum include statistics, architecture, engineering and technical design. Some student 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.

Licenses and Certifications

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.

Workshops and Seminars

The ADDA 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.

Additional Professional Development

Numerous books providing basic and advanced information about drafting, technical drawing and architecture are available at bookstores or through online retailers. Many of these books focus on how to use drafting and architectural software.

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