Drafting Education and Training Program Information

Students enrolled in drafting programs study how 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.

Essential Information

Drafting refers to the preparation of blueprints and technical drawings for the construction of houses, buildings, and other structures. Many employers require that drafting prospects have a 2- or 4-year degree from a community college, technical college, or university. 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.

  • Program Levels in Drafting: Usually associate's or bachelor's level
  • Program Length: About two to four years
  • Prerequisites:
  • Other Requirements:

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
  • Sketching
  • Computer-aided drafting
  • Mathematics
  • Geometry

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:

  • Statistics
  • Architecture
  • Engineering
  • Technical design

Popular Career Options

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:

  • Architectural
  • Mechanical
  • Electrical
  • Civil

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts little or no change in job growth for the field of drafting (only 1%). The BLS also states that in June 2014 architectural and civil drafters earned a median salary of $49,970, electrical drafters earned a median wage of $58,790, and mechanical drafters earned a median of $52,200.

Continuing Education

The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) provides a voluntary certification in drafting ( 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.

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