Draftsmen design plans to create products or building. They require proficiency in software applications used to create those plans. The job growth outlook for these positions is for a decline in the next decade.
Architectural draftsmen and draftswomen, known as drafters, work in almost every industry designing the plans needed to create tools, buildings and merchandise. Although many drafters draw initial sketches by hand, most transfer their drawings to computer software programs. Many drafters work in offices, although they may be required to visit proposed building sites or manufacturing plants to obtain additional information needed for design schematics. Drafters complete a training program; an associate's degree is standard, but certificate and bachelor's programs are available.
|Required Education||Variable; a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree in drafting|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||0% little to no change (for drafters)|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2018)*||$54,920 (for architectural and civil drafters)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education Requirements for Drafters
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the education requirements for employment as a drafter include formal coursework in traditional drafting techniques as well as training in computer aided drafting and design (CADD) software (www.bls.gov). Individuals can gain this training by completing a certificate program in drafting or by earning an associate's degree. Most universities do not have a 4-year degree program specifically in drafting, although many drafters earn a bachelor's degree in a related field where drafting is taught, such as architecture or engineering.
Prospective students can choose certificate and degree programs in basic drafting, or they can choose a specialty drafting field, such as aeronautics, electrical or mechanical drafting. Almost all drafting programs include multiple courses that train students on CADD software. Other common courses include structural design, blueprint reading, civil engineering, mechanical design and professional communications.
Drafting Career Overview
Draftsmen and draftswomen create the plans and instructions for building electronic devices, architectural structures or other everyday items. Before drafters can design anything they must understand what the item will be used for and who will be using it. Therefore, drafters frequently talk with engineers, marketing agents and other specialists to obtain all the details about a new design project.
The BLS predicted that in the ten years between 2018 and 2028, architectural and civil drafter positions were expected to increase by 2%. However, certain drafting fields have a higher potential for job growth. For example, electrical and electronic drafter positions are predicted to experience a 3% growth during that time.
Salary statistics calculated by the BLS in May 2018 showed that the median annual salary for architectural and civil drafters was $54,920. During that same year, the top three architectural and civil drafting-related industries paying the highest annual average salaries were water, sewage and other systems ($78,500), scientific research and development services ($70,900) and professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers ($68,700).
Draftsmen educational requirements vary from a certificate program to an associate's or bachelor's degree. Required education include coursework or a degree in drafting or a specific specialty field. Median annual salaries were about $55,000 in 2018.