Solidworks Drafter: Salary, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a SolidWorks Drafter. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about education, job duties and important skills to find out if this is the career for you.

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Solidworks is a three-dimensional modeling software program which is often used by artists, building designers, construction planners and product developers. Their responsibilities include helping clients visualize finished products and produce graphic content that requires three-dimensional display.

Essential Information

Computer-aided design drafters may use SolidWorks, a 3-dimensional modeling software program, along with artistry and design skills to create blueprints for use during the construction of products and structures. Drafters typically enter this career with associate's degrees, but they can hone their SolidWorks skills with specialized training in certificate programs.

Required Education Typically a certificate or associate's degree
Other Requirements Voluntary certification available
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 3% decline for all drafters*
Average Annual Wage (2015) $55,820 for all drafters*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary Information for SolidWorks Drafters

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, general drafters reported a mean annual wage of $55,820 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov). These wages varied according to industry and location. In 2016, Payscale.com listed that CAD drafters with a Certified SolidWorks Professional certification earned a median wage of $22.06 an hour.

SolidWorks Drafter Duties

SolidWorks drafters use specialized computer-aided drafting software to create blueprints, drawings and models for a variety of products and structures. These blueprints get used as technical guides during the production or construction process, so drafters must include comprehensive details, such as materials, measurements and building procedures. During the drafting process, they collaborate with engineers, architects and scientists to gather specifications and resolve design issues.

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SolidWorks Drafter Requirements

In February 2011, job listings for SolidWorks drafters on Monster.com revealed that the primary requirement for this position is expertise in the most recent version of SolidWorks. Employers may also seek out drafters with artistic aptitude and strong communication skills. Drafters should also be able to work with teams of engineers, architects, other design professionals and clients.

Education Requirements

While formal education isn't mandatory, employers generally prefer to hire SolidWorks drafters who have at least an associate's degree in drafting. Community colleges and technical institutes offer these 2-year programs, which focus on drafting design principles and practical application in the field. Courses may include computer-aided drafting, production processes, machinery, manufacturing materials, technical writing and SolidWorks design.

SolidWorks Certificate and Certification Information

SolidWorks drafters can sharpen their skills and improve employment opportunities by earning certificates in SolidWorks. Some colleges and technical institutes offer certificate programs for professionals with experience or education in computer-aided drafting. Courses generally include beginning, intermediate and advanced SolidWorks design. These certificate programs may also include training in blueprint reading.

Professionals looking to further demonstrate their proficiency in SolidWorks software may be interested in pursuing certification through the company itself (www.solidworks.com). Drafters may become a Certified SolidWorks Associate, Certified SolidWorks Professional or Certified SolidWorks Expert upon passing exams. Additional certifications are available to prove a drafter's ability with specific tools in SolidWorks, such as surfacing, weldments and sheet metal.

Solidworks drafters need to have extensive knowledge of the software they're using, design properties and strong communication skills so that they can ensure that their clients' needs are being met. They typically hold a certificate or associate's degree and can take exams to earn certifications through SolidWorks. Salaries depend on location and industry, but in 2016, the median wage for a Certified SolidWorks Professional drafter was $22.06 per hour.

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