Career Definition for an Electronic Drafter
Electronic drafters prepare diagrams that detail wiring and layout designs that are used in the manufacturing process of a variety of goods and components. Almost all aspects of electronic drafting work is now done on computers; understanding how to use computer-aided drafting systems, also known as CADs, is an absolute necessity. Many schools and colleges offer 2-year programs for prospective electronic drafters.
|Education||Certificate programs available|
|Job Skills||Background in computers, technical writing, visual acumen|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$59,690 for electrical and electronics drafters|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||7% for electrical and electronics drafters|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Many schools offer programs in drafting, which teach students the basics of how to prepare technical documents for a variety of fields; some schools give those who wish to become electronic drafters a chance to concentrate on a particular field. Students interested in drafting can plan on taking courses in math, science and engineering; today, a major emphasis is also placed on computer classes, particularly those that develop skills in CAD. Class work for prospective electronic drafters can usually be completed within two years at trade schools or community colleges; other schools offer certificate programs that can be completed in less time.
Electronic drafters must be visual in order to conceptualize a machine or device and render it in blueprints before it is built. A strong background in computers is another necessity for electronic drafters, since almost all of the work is now done on CAD systems, which can be quite complicated. The ability to write is also important for electronic drafters, since technical drawings often times are paired with written directions.
Career and Economic Outlook for Electronic Drafters
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 27,400 electronic and electrical drafting jobs existed in 2016; job growth from 2016 to 2026 is expected to be 7%. The BLS states that outsourcing and other economic trends will slow the growth of electronic drafting jobs; however, those who develop advanced skills, particularly with a mastery of CAD, will find consistent work. As of 2017, the annual median salary for electrical and electronics drafters was $59,690.
Here are some other options for careers in electronics and engineering:
Electronics Engineering Technician
Those interested in assisting electronics engineers with the design and testing of electrical components should consider becoming electronics engineering technicians. These technicians help draw sketches, build prototypes, repair and replace circuitry, test the performance of components and build parts. Most employers prefer to hire electronics technicians with an associate degree in electronics engineering technology. Coursework in these degree programs may include circuitry, computer programming and physics.
According to the BLS, a 2% increase in the employment rate of electronics engineering technicians is predicted between 2016 and 2026, mostly due to the decline in the U.S. manufacturing industry. However, jobs may be found in the growing computer systems design industry. In 2017, the BLS estimated the median yearly salary of electronics engineering technicians to be $63,660.
If designing the electrical components of devices such as global positioning systems and communications equipment sounds interesting, a career in electronics engineering may be the right job choice. Electronics engineers meet with clients to determine what's needed and design plans that meet performance and cost requirements. They draw out blueprints of circuits and other electrical elements, test and troubleshoot current systems, modify equipment for performance enhancement and oversee repair, replacement and assembly work.
To gain employment in this profession, a bachelor's degree in electronics engineering is generally required and obtaining a Professional Engineer license could be advantageous when looking for a job. For electronics engineers not involved in computer design, a 4% employment increase is predicted during the 2016-2026 decade. These engineers can expect to earn a median wage of $102,180, based on 2017 figures from the BLS.