An electrical drafter creates technical illustrations that are used as visual aids for complex equipment, such as communication hubs or power plant wiring. The drawings are often used by electrical workers who are installing or repairing equipment, and may include information such as dimensions and procedures.
Electrical drafters design the technical schematics for transmission and distribution lines that deliver electricity to consumers. Along with an array of traditional drafting tools, they use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software to create visuals that assist production and construction workers in the installation and repair of wiring components. Electrical drafters are typically required to earn a two-year degree from a community college or technical school.
|Required Education||Associate's degree or technical school certificate|
|Certification||Certification through the American Design Drafting Association is strongly advised|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||5% (for electrical and electronics drafters)*|
|Average Salary (2015)||$62,890 (for electrical and electronics drafters)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Electrical Drafter Job Description
Electrical drafters are responsible for preparing technical drawings of electrical wiring systems. During the drawing process, they analyze information (such as measurements and sketches) provided by engineers, architects and scientists. Drafters apply their knowledge of design and engineering to illustrate visual instructions that relate technical specifications, including dimensions, arrangements and installation procedures. These drawings are then used by electrical workers to install or repair equipment and wiring in power plants, high-voltage distribution centers and communication hubs.
Electrical drafters collaborate with engineers and architects to receive instructions and resolve design issues. Drafters may also correspond with production and construction workers to clarify design details and receive feedback for improvements. Along with technical drawings, drafters may be required to provide documentation manuals to assist electrical workers during repair or installation. After completing the drafting process, they may be responsible for evaluating drafts to provide cost estimates and ensure plans meet building regulations. Drafters may also be responsible for training and overseeing other drafters and technicians.
While traditionally drafters drew diagrams by hand, they now work with the assistance of computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) systems. These allow drafters to design, save, view, print and transfer drawings electronically, as well as to quickly edit designs and create variations. Drafters may also utilize technical manuals, calculators and traditional tools (such as protractors and T-squares) in addition to computer technology.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of electrical and electronics drafters was projected to increase 5% from 2014-2024, which is fast as average compared to other occupations. While demand for drafters should grow due to the need to solve increasingly complex issues with new products and processes, job growth may be stunted by the high efficiency of CADD systems and, in effect, simpler drafting processes that can be completed by other technical workers.
As of May 2015, electrical drafters earned a mean annual wage of $62,890, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov). Wages varied according to location and industry, with some of the higher-paid drafters located in states such as Washington, Vermont and Texas. The industry of audio and visual equipment manufacturing, which offered a mean annual wage of $80,760, employed the highest-paid electrical drafters (BLS).
An electrical drafter needs to have excellent drawing skills in order to realistically depict complex technical details. They should also be great communicators, as they are often required to collaborate with architects or engineers while drafting their drawings. Certification is optional, but advised to stay competitive in the field.