Salary and Career Info for an Architectural Drafter

Sep 24, 2019

Architectural drafters require building design knowledge, design skills and proficiency using design software. This position typically requires one to have an associate's degree, and employers may prefer candidates who have attained certification in this profession. The job outlook for this position shows a slow growth between 2018 and 2028.

Essential Information

Architectural drafters create blueprints used to construct buildings. This career demands knowledge of architectural principles and drafting software, as well as formal training in a postsecondary institution. Typically, professionals in this field hold at least a 2-year degree. Drafters can advance their careers by exhibiting professional aptitude through certification.

Required Education Associate's degree in architectural drafting
Other Requirements Voluntary certification available through the American Design Drafting Association
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 2% for architectural and civil drafters*
Median Salary (2018) $54,920 for architectural and civil drafters*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Architectural Drafter Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), architectural and civil drafters reported a median annual wage of $54,920 in May 2018 ( The highest-paid ten percent of these drafters earned a wage of over $80,880, and the lowest-paid ten percent earned less than $35,020. Wages varied according to location and industry. Water, sewage and other systems companies paid the highest mean annual wage at $78,500. The highest-paying state was District of Columbia with a mean annual wage of $68,330.

Architectural Drafter Career Information

Architectural drafters use design skills and computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) systems to create blueprints for buildings and other structures. They examine measurements and sketches provided by engineers and architects to create detailed illustrations of the structures for use during construction.

Employment Outlook

Architectural and civil drafters are expected to see a 2% increase in employment from 2018-2028, according to the BLS. This projected growth will be due in part to increased competition for jobs due to the high number of students graduating in these field. Drafters with experience in CADD systems and at least an associate's degree in the field should enjoy the best employment opportunities.

Education Information

Employers prefer applicants with postsecondary training in architectural drafting. Associate of Applied Science in Architectural Drafting degrees can be earned through community colleges and technical institutions. These degree programs prepare students for practical application in the industry and may include courses such as:

  • Computer-assisted drafting
  • Building systems
  • Design elements
  • Structural analysis
  • Technical writing
  • Construction materials
  • Civil drafting

Certification Information

Architectural drafters can demonstrate occupational aptitude and improve chances of employment by earning professional certification. The American Design Drafting Association provides certification to architectural drafters who pass a 90-minute drafter certification exam with a score of 75% or higher ( The exam covers drafting theories, principles and possible occupational situations. The exam does not test candidates in computer-aided drafting. Certification must be renewed every five years by providing proof of employment for at least three years.

Architectural drafters require an associate's degree in a related field. They can attain certification by passing an exam, though certification is usually voluntary. Those working in this field earned a median annual salary around $54,000 in 2018.

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