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AutoCAD Drafter: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Sep 24, 2019

AutoCAD drafters require little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and certification options to see if this is the right career for you.

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An AutoCAD drafter uses computer-aided design and drafting software to develop drawings and plans for construction and manufacturing industries. Their technical drawings are used by architects, engineers, surveyors, and scientists and may depict plans for anything from toys to spacecraft. Completion of a certificate program or an associate's degree with a focus on drafting is generally required to work as an AutoCAD drafter.

Essential Information

AutoCAD drafters create technical drawings and plans for building and manufacturing by using computer-aided design and drafting (CAD or CADD) software programs. Drafters may work in a specialty area or be generalists. Some postsecondary training in drafting is typically required for this position, such as completion of a certificate or 2-year degree program.

Required Education Certificate or associate's degree
Certification Voluntary professional certification is available
Job Outlook (2018-2028)* 0% (little to no change) for all drafters
Median Salary (2019)** $46,313 for CAD drafters

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

AutoCAD Drafter Job Description

CAD is the primary way in which drafters develop plans, drawings and sketches. Using AutoCAD software, created by Autodesk Inc., drafters prepare a visual depiction of a product to be constructed. Production and construction workers, including engineers, surveyors, architects and scientists, use CAD images to create plans to build and manufacture everything from buildings to toys to spacecraft. CAD drafters also have a working knowledge of traditional drafting methods.

AutoCAD Drafter Duties

There are many specialty areas in drafting, such as aeronautical, architectural, electrical and mechanical drafting. AutoCAD drafter's duties vary depending on their area of expertise. Drafters use CAD software to produce detailed drawings that include building dimensions, required materials and construction procedures. They use multiple angles and views to depict the association of components and systems. Drafters often consult with coworkers on design and layouts.

In some cases, drafters coordinate with builders to establish requirements and understand design concepts. When deficiencies occur, drafters revise designs to eliminate problems. Entry-level drafters work under the direction of supervisors.

Requirements for AutoCAD Drafters

Most drafters complete postsecondary training through a technical school or community college, which usually offer 1-year or 2-year programs in the field. Since few 4-year degree programs in drafting exist, drafters who want to pursue bachelor's degrees may major in a related field, such as engineering, architecture or mathematics. Technical school training is typically focused on the specific skills necessary for drafting, while community colleges require more general education courses in addition to drafting classes.

Drafters should be able to visually communicate concepts, draw well and be very detailed. The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) offers professional certification for those wishing to demonstrate professional capabilities.

Salary Information and Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment for drafters is likely to experience little to no change during the decade between 2018 and 2028. Different drafting specializations are expected to see variance in this figure. In 2019, the website PayScale.com indicated that most AutoCAD drafters earned between $33,000 and $64,000 per year.

Some drafters choose to specialize in a specific design area, such as aeronautics, electronics, or architecture, and so their duties can vary greatly. All drafters, however, require excellent drawing and organization skills and must have the ability to communicate complex ideas visually. It should be noted that drafters overall are expected to have little to no change in jobs over the 2018-2028 decade.

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