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Draftsman Career Information, Job Duties and Employment Options

Learn about the education and preparation needed to work as a draftsman. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

A draftsman can specialize in a number of fields and work in several industries, where they mainly design technical drawings. Let's peruse the job duties, employment options, and credentials of a draftsman.

Essential Information

Draftsmen, also known as drafters, create drawings and plans that are used in manufacturing and construction. Drafters can be found in a broad range of fields, including architecture, aeronautics, civil engineering and electronics. Becoming a draftsman typically requires training in drafting and computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) procedures.

Required Education Postsecondary certificate or associate degree
Licensure/Certification American Design Drafting Association certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) -3% for drafters
Median Annual Salary (2015) $52,720 for drafters

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for a Draftsman

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2014 nearly half of employment opportunities for draftsmen were in the fields of architectural, engineering, and related services. (www.bls.gov).

The 2015 median annual income for drafters was $52,720, according to statistics released by the BLS. Those working in the electronic and electrical drafting field earned the highest median annual salary of $59,520, while all other types of drafters not listed earned the lowest salary at $49,650.

Job growth for draftsmen often depends upon their field of specialization. The BLS predicted the need for draftsmen in architecture would decrease by three percent between 2014 and 2024. Likewise, opportunities in electrical and electronics were expected increase five percent. Draftsmen with training in computer-aided design and drafting were expected to find the most job opportunities during this time. Competition will be high.

Job Duties

Generally, a draftsman's main job duty is to create technical drawings based on given specifications and calculations. Draftsmen typically work with professionals in their field, such as scientists, architects and engineers, who provide the product or structure's details. The draftsman incorporates these specifications into drawings and plans that may be used in the manufacture, maintenance or repair of the product or structure.

Often, draftsmen use CADD systems to create, save and view their drawings and plans. Depending on the project, draftsmen may need to use more traditional drafting methods, such as drafting pencils and T-squares, to create their drawings. Besides creating drawings, other duties of a draftsman can include calculating structural strength, assessing building capacity limits and estimating construction costs.

Employment Options

Civil drafting typically consists of producing drawings and maps of specific locations to be used in public works projects, such as highways, water systems and pipelines. Civil draftsmen usually work in conjunction with local officials and civil engineers.

Mechanical drafters create technical drawings that can be used for the assembly of machines and other mechanical equipment. These drawings may be used to install and repair machinery or put together consumer products.

Architectural draftsmen produce blueprints and plans for structural projects. Their drawings can be used in the construction or remodeling of homes, commercial buildings and industrial plants.

Electrical drafting can be used to produce diagrams related to the installation and repair of wiring systems. This type of drafting is used in variety of locations, including homes, buildings and power stations.

Aeronautical drafters create plans that will be used in the manufacturing and maintenance of various aircraft or other propelled objects. These objects can include missiles, satellites and rockets.

Certification

Due to the demanding nature of drafting, some employers prefer draftsmen who have earned professional credentials. The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) offers certification for many different types of drafters, including apprentice, design, architectural and engineering draftsmen (www.adda.org).

The ADDA's program is open to any individual who is interested in drafting, and it consists of a skills assessment exam. Re-certification is available every three years for drafters who remained professionally employed during that time period.

As we have observed, draftsmen can work in electrical, aeronautical, architectural, mechanical, and civil industries, among others. Certification could be beneficial to job potential, and draftsmen typically complete a drafting or computer-aided design training program.

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