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Career Definition of a Truss Designer
A truss designer works closely with architects and construction teams to help gauge feasibility of building plans, create technical drawings, create schematics through computer-aided design (CAD) software, and often interact with clients and contractors regarding construction progress and deadlines. Specifically, a truss designer concentrates on layouts for roofs and flooring for residential or commercial buildings, as well as other structures, such as bridges or roadways. A truss designer will spend most of their time in an office location, working on digital drawings and 3-D drafting software. However, there may be times when a designer will visit a job site, to consult with engineers and contractors as well.
|Educational Requirements||Associate's degree|
|Job Skills||Attention to detail, math skills, communication and teamwork, technical skills|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$52,870 per year (Architectural and civil drafters)|
|Job Outlook (2016-26)*||8% (Architectural and civil drafters)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics
For an entry-level position as a truss designer, employers will most likely look for post-secondary education, with a two-year degree, or certification being the most common qualifications. Associate's degrees can be obtained from community colleges, preferably with a focus on engineering or drafting. There are also technical schools that focus specifically on CAD drafting and technical skills, which typically award a certificate or diploma, rather than a formal degree. Continuing education and certifications are also an option for individuals looking to advance in their role, or prove their acumen; the American Drafting Design Association also offers qualifications for drafting instructors, among other titles.
Given the technical nature of the job, a truss designer will need excellent attention to detail, in order to create accurate diagrams and drafts. The ability to spot potential problems within a rough sketch and visualize solutions will also be a useful skill. A truss designer will often need to utilize math skills to calculate various lengths, weights and angles, as well as have technical knowledge of CAD software and related computer programs.
Career Outlook & Salary
Job growth within the drafting field in general is predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to be 7% from 2016 to 2026, which is about as fast as average. Jobs for architectural and civil drafters should grow by 8% over the same period. As construction demand grows, there is growing demand for individuals skilled in drafting and designing. However, as engineers and architects also become skilled in this area, job growth for specialized drafters may be slowed. In 2017 the median salary for architectural and civil drafters was $52,870.
Here are links to careers in the related fields of architecture and building design: