Most potential employers will seek drafters who have a thorough understanding of computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software. This training is available through programs such as the Associate of Applied Science in Drafting Technology, which emphasizes CADD drawing and 3-D modeling, mathematics and material sciences, along with some traditional drawing techniques. Students should have excellent research, communication and problem-solving skills. A high school diploma or GED is generally required for admission to these 2-year programs.
Becoming a certified drafter also involves passage of a comprehensive exam.
Drafting Technology Degree Programs
Coursework in drafting technology degree programs focuses on how to create accurate, highly technical drawings from engineering notes or sketches, as well as how to estimate the cost of necessary construction materials. Students are also provided an overview of several possible drawing specializations, such as civil drafting or electronic blueprints. Typical topics covered include:
- Construction drawing
- Introduction to CADD
- Structural modeling
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Employment and wage information varies depending on location, industry and drafting specialty. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of drafters was expected to have little or no change (0%) between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). In May 2018, the BLS reported, the median annual wage for electrical and electronics drafters was $60,070 while architectural and civil drafters earned a median annual wage of $54,920.
Continuing Education Information
Most students who graduate with an associate's degree in drafting technology enter the profession as an entry-level drafter. Other students continue their education and pursue a bachelor's degree in a related field such as engineering or architecture. Though not necessary for most employers, some graduates also choose to become certified drafters through the American Design Drafting Association (www.adda.org). In order to become certified, applicants must take a 90-minute multiple-choice exam.
An associate's degree program in drafting technology covers topics in physics, CADD and structural modeling, to name a few, and prepares graduates for jobs in the various subfields of drafting.