Related job titles are: Architect, Project Architect, Project Manager, Architectural Project Manager, Principal, Architectural Designer, Architectural Drafter, or Design Architect.
How Much Does a Drafter Make? | Drafting Salary
The median yearly salary for drafters was $47,880 in May 2010 (the most recent data available). This median salary is simply the salary where half the employees earned more and half earned a lesser amount. Employees in the lower 10 percent had an annual salary less than $30,950, and those employees in the top 10 percent earned greater then $74,820.
What Does a Drafter Do? | Job Description
Drafters use software to convert the designs of engineers and architects into technical drawings and plans. Workers in production and construction use these plans to build everything from microchips to skyscrapers.
Many drafters are referred to as CADD operators. With CADD systems, drafters create and store drawings electronically so that they can be viewed, printed, or programmed directly into automated manufacturing systems. New software systems, such as building information modeling (BIM) and product data management (PDM), are coming into use. Through three-dimensional rendering, BIM software allows designers and engineers to see how elements in their projects work together. PDM software helps users track and control data, such as technical specifications, related to projects. Just as BIM is changing the work of architectural drafters as well as engineers and designers, PDM is changing the work of mechanical drafters. These software systems allow drafting and design work to be done at the same time as the work done by other professionals involved in the project.
How to Become a Drafter?
Drafters usually need some career college education, such as an associate's degree, to enter the occupation. In addition, drafters need skills from academic programs so that they may move into the work of designing directly for professionals such as engineers or architects.
Drafting and CAD Classes and Courses | Degree Programs
Employers prefer applicants who have completed career college education in drafting, typically an associate’s degree from a technical institute or community college. Drafters who specialize in architecture may need a higher degree, such as a bachelor's degree. To prepare for career college education, high school courses in mathematics, science, computer technology, design, computer graphics, and, where available, drafting, are useful.
Technical colleges offer focused technical education in topics such as design fundamentals, sketching, and CADD software. They award certificates or diplomas, and programs vary considerably in length and in the types of courses offered. Many technical institutes also offer associate's degree programs.
Drafting Jobs | Who is Hiring?
Work from construction projects will likely continue to create demand for architectural and civil drafters. Because new technology reduces costs, architectural and civil drafters who can master new software programs, such as BIM and PDM, also should find opportunities in various industries. CADD systems that are easier to use and more powerful than current systems will allow other technical professionals to perform many tasks previously done only by drafters
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