Educational options such as the following 1-year certificate program may emphasize the study of graphic design, engineering drawing and electrical drafting. Students of 2-year associate's degree programs in drafting may learn about fluid mechanics and blueprint reading techniques. The degree program curriculum may include an internship to cultivate real-world occupational skills. Graduates of the above programs might also pursue related bachelor's degrees.
Certificate Programs in Drafting
These programs teach students how to prepare technical drawings that detail the designs and manufacturing processes of a variety of products, machines and structures. Students primarily draft and design using computers, though drafting technology students also develop manual sketching and drafting skills. Graduates will be prepared to work closely with other designers, architects and engineers to conceive and test automobiles, buildings, chemicals, electronics and other products. The curriculum requires 15-30 credit hours and consists of a mix of engineering, drafting, architecture, math and art. Students encounter courses such as:
- Foundational engineering drawing
- Graphic design
- Computer-aided drafting (CAD)
- 2-D and 3-D AutoCAD
- Residential and commercial residential drafting
- Electrical and electronic drafting
Associate Degree Programs in Drafting
Students in these programs hone their ability to produce technical drawings involving the production and manufacture of electronics, buildings and other consumer products. Other drafting topics studied include auxiliary and sectional views, detail dimensioning, fasteners and power transitions systems. The curriculum requires 60-73 credit hours consisting mainly of drafting, engineering and math classes, with additional general education requirements. Classes that a student in a program like this may be expected to take include:
- Reading and sketching industrial blueprints
- Parts manufacturing sizes and shapes
- Materials strength and statics
- Map drafting for surveyors
- Basic industrial manufacturing processes
- Fluid mechanics
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in May of 2018, there were almost 14,580 drafters, about 3,500 of whom were categorized as architectural, engineering and related services drafters. Aeronautical drafters are categorized by the BLS among 'all other drafters,' and these drafters earned an average yearly salary of $54,240 as of May 2018.
Bachelor's degrees in design technology and CAD are also available to those looking to further their education and advance their career. At the baccalaureate level, students may be required to select an emphasis such as product design or architectural design, which provides a more customized and fine-tuned education.
Drafting degree programs are available at the certificate and associate's degree level, and provide a strong foundation in drafting techniques for aspiring aeronautical drafters. Graduates may pursue bachelor's degrees in the field.