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Architectural drafters produce detailed drawings which include the structural and architectural elements for buildings and a variety of structures such as homes and factories. Their drawings need to be complete and accurate since structures are built exactly as displayed on the drawings. Architectural drafters typically work for architect and construction companies and for companies that have engineering or development departments. Some architectural drafters specialize in commercial or residential structures and some also specialize in specific types of building materials.

Senior architectural drafters typically produce the final drawings. The drawings include the plans of the structure and all the details for the construction of the building. Junior drafters work under the supervision of senior drafters and create plans and details that the senior drafters have developed.

Most architectural drafters use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) systems to produce their drawings. The CADD systems allow a building to be displayed three-dimensionally. In addition, numerous versions of the drawings can easily be produced and adjustments can be made quickly. By utilizing CADD systems, drafters are able to electronically store their drawings, which allows the drawings to be printed and easily viewed. Although CADD systems are excellent tools, drafters still need a solid foundation in traditional drafting skills such as performing detailed work with precision.

Responsibilities

  • Create detailed drawings
  • Operate CADD equipment
  • Represent architects on construction sites
  • Analyze building codes and by-laws
  • Layout and plan interior room arrangements
  • Produce cost estimates
  • Review space and site requirements
  • Determine instructions and procedures
  • Check dimensions of materials
  • Study the technical implications of architect's design concepts

Job Characteristics

Drafters typically work in comfortable offices. They often work with architects and other drafters. Most of their time is spent working at computer terminals performing detailed work. Due to the nature of the work, they should have good visualization skills. Being able to differentiate between lines, forms and shapes is important in the profession. Good communication skills are also helpful. Also, the vast majority of drafters work full-time.

Employment Outlook

The employment outlook for architectural drafters is fair. Architectural and civil drafters typically comprise over 40% of the total amount of drafting jobs. Drafters with a minimum of two years of post-secondary training that also have experience with CADD systems and have good technical skills will have the best opportunities to acquire employment in the field.

Growth in the profession may be stimulated by industrial growth and also by drafters performing tasks usually given to architects. The demand for drafters is created primarily in industries that are sensitive to the cyclical changes of the economy. Also, improvements in CADD systems make simple tasks easier to perform which may reduce the demand for lower skilled drafters. In addition, outsourcing of drafting work may increase due to the availability of sending CADD files via the Internet.

Typically, drafters begin their careers as tracers and advance into the position of junior drafter. Those with several years of experience and good skills have the opportunity to become senior drafters. Senior architectural drafters with leadership skills may become supervisors of other drafters. In addition, some in the profession are self-employed.

The median yearly earnings for civil and architectural drafters in 2006 was $41,960. The top ten percent earned over $63,310 while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $27,010.

Architectural Drafting Degrees, Certification, and Licensing

Architectural drafters need to be highly skilled at drafting and design and be proficient with CADD systems. Training is offered by vocational schools and community colleges. Two-year associate degrees are available in drafting. The quality of training in these settings may vary.

Most four-year colleges do not provide degrees in drafting. However, the majority of four-year colleges provide college courses in architecture, computer science, engineering and mathematics which can be useful when seeking employment as a drafter. Many colleges include CADD classes in their architecture programs. Also, a certification program for drafters is provided by the American Design Drafting Association. Students seeking a career in architectural drafting may want to contact prospective employers and ask for a list of the schools they prefer.

Resources

Major Employers

The primary employers of architectural drafters are architect firms and construction companies.

Schools for Architectural And Civil Drafters are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Architectural and Civil Drafters

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Architectural and Civil Drafters jobs , as of 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Birmingham 310 $49,970
Hoover 310 $49,970
Mobile 130 $53,020
Montgomery 120 $53,000
Huntsville 70 $51,620
Dothan 50 $46,880
Decatur 50 $51,480
Tuscaloosa 40 $36,860
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 140 $62,700
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 1410 $55,020
Mesa 1410 $55,020
Phoenix 1410 $55,020
Tucson 170 $45,170
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 170 $45,310
North Little Rock 170 $45,310
Little Rock 170 $45,310
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Los Angeles 5490 $56,790
Anaheim 5490 $56,790
Long Beach 5490 $56,790
San Francisco 2810 $58,680
Oakland 2810 $58,680
Hayward 2810 $58,680
Carlsbad 1260 $58,050
San Diego 1260 $58,050
Ontario 890 $48,830
Riverside 890 $48,830
San Bernardino 890 $48,830
Arcade 740 $58,450
Arden 740 $58,450
Roseville 740 $58,450
Sacramento 740 $58,450
Santa Clara 690 $58,490
San Jose 690 $58,490
Sunnyvale 690 $58,490
Fresno 250 $49,450
Bakersfield 220 $45,060
Oxnard 190 $57,350
Ventura 190 $57,350
Thousand Oaks 190 $57,350
Santa Maria 170 $52,770
Santa Barbara 170 $52,770
Modesto 130 $47,360
Santa Rosa 100 $60,330
Visalia 90 $46,570
Porterville 90 $46,570
Paso Robles 70 $27,860
San Luis Obispo 70 $27,860
Arroyo Grande 70 $27,860
Salinas 70 $55,410
Vallejo 60 $43,700
Fairfield 60 $43,700
Chico 60 $57,680
Stockton 50 $45,560
Lodi 50 $45,560
Watsonville 50 $59,150
Santa Cruz 50 $59,150
Napa 30 $57,290
Redding N/A $50,540
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Aurora 1370 $54,350
Lakewood 1370 $54,350
Denver 1370 $54,350
Boulder 160 $54,640
Colorado Springs 150 $47,770
Fort Collins 100 $49,070
Greeley 30 $52,680
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hartford 390 $55,170
East Hartford 390 $55,170
West Hartford 390 $55,170
Stamford 140 $57,390
Bridgeport 140 $57,390
Norwalk 140 $57,390
New Haven 130 $58,800
Danbury 40 $57,960
     
Metro Area (Delaware) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dover 40 $45,960
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Miami 2140 $49,440
Fort Lauderdale 2140 $49,440
West Palm Beach 2140 $49,440
Orlando 980 $48,300
Kissimmee 980 $48,300
Sanford 980 $48,300
St. Petersburg 690 $44,110
Clearwater 690 $44,110
Tampa 690 $44,110
Jacksonville 530 $49,520
Cape Coral 250 $53,830
Fort Myers 250 $53,830
Lakeland 220 $44,640
Winter Haven 220 $44,640
Ferry Pass 180 $38,940
Pensacola 180 $38,940
Brent 180 $38,940
North Port 160 $46,830
Sarasota 160 $46,830
Bradenton 160 $46,830
Ocala 150 $35,020
Marco Island 130 $46,830
Naples 130 $46,830
Immokalee 130 $46,830
Melbourne 130 $53,260
Palm Bay 130 $53,260
Titusville 130 $53,260
Fort Walton Beach 120 $41,920
Crestview 120 $41,920
Destin 120 $41,920
Sebastian 100 $45,120
Vero Beach 100 $45,120
Port St. Lucie 90 $42,370
Tallahassee 90 $46,250
Deltona 70 $44,150
Ormond Beach 70 $44,150
Daytona Beach 70 $44,150
Gainesville 70 $45,760
Panama City 60 $47,420
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sandy Springs 1840 $49,060
Atlanta 1840 $49,060
Roswell 1840 $49,060
Savannah 110 N/A
Macon 110 $53,380
Gainesville 50 $46,970
Clarke County 30 $53,450
Athens 30 $53,450
Valdosta N/A $36,830
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 350 $49,050
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 290 $45,100
Idaho Falls 60 $37,880
Coeur d'Alene 60 $46,880
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Peoria 80 $55,300
Rockford 70 $58,440
Urbana 50 $49,090
Champaign 50 $49,090
Carbondale 40 $32,410
Marion 40 $32,410
Decatur 30 $49,850
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 340 $53,540
Carmel 340 $53,540
Indianapolis 340 $53,540
Fort Wayne 110 $51,210
Goshen 70 $45,430
Elkhart 70 $45,430
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Des Moines 310 $50,460
West Des Moines 310 $50,460
Ames 70 $65,010
Cedar Rapids 60 $54,030
Iowa City 50 $44,760
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 170 $42,930
Topeka 70 $51,780
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 180 $51,680
Lexington 180 $51,680
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baton Rouge 390 $55,180
New Orleans 350 $52,500
Metairie 350 $52,500
Lafayette 140 $47,140
Monroe 100 $44,400
Bossier City 80 $39,280
Shreveport 80 $39,280
Lake Charles 70 $55,400
Houma 60 $53,240
Thibodaux 60 $53,240
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Portland 230 $50,700
South Portland 230 $50,700
Bangor 50 $35,180
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 440 $53,890
Columbia 440 $53,890
Baltimore 440 $53,890
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsfield 30 $40,190
Barnstable Town N/A $54,720
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Warren 1130 $46,250
Detroit 1130 $46,250
Dearborn 1130 $46,250
Wyoming 270 $47,630
Grand Rapids 270 $47,630
Lansing 70 $50,590
East Lansing 70 $50,590
Kalamazoo 60 $48,530
Portage 60 $48,530
Benton Harbor 40 $48,820
Niles 40 $48,820
Ann Arbor N/A $43,870
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
St. Cloud 60 $45,290
Rochester N/A $45,520
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 120 $51,770
Gulfport 100 $48,400
Pascagoula 100 $48,400
Biloxi 100 $48,400
Hattiesburg 30 $48,690
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 180 $40,770
Columbia 40 $46,200
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Billings 160 $50,200
Missoula 70 $43,440
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 140 $46,830
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 560 $50,070
Henderson 560 $50,070
Las Vegas 560 $50,070
Reno 100 $44,990
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 140 $51,450
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 160 $56,790
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 380 $45,590
Las Cruces 60 $39,410
Santa Fe 60 $51,110
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albany 380 $47,650
Troy 380 $47,650
Schenectady 380 $47,650
Cheektowaga 290 $46,120
Niagara Falls 290 $46,120
Buffalo 290 $46,120
Syracuse 270 $56,950
Rochester 250 $53,390
Ithaca 60 $58,880
Glens Falls 50 $48,210
Kingston 50 $51,990
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 520 $48,800
Durham 210 $55,200
Chapel Hill 210 $55,200
High Point 140 $45,290
Greensboro 140 $45,290
Asheville 130 $37,680
Rocky Mount 70 $45,240
Salem 60 $52,370
Winston 60 $52,370
Wilmington N/A $38,710
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 100 $46,850
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbus 920 $50,430
Elyria 630 $45,540
Cleveland 630 $45,540
Dayton 200 $50,370
Toledo 200 $50,870
Akron 180 $45,430
Canton 90 $44,700
Massillon 90 $44,700
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Tulsa 380 $52,540
Oklahoma City 360 $44,870
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salem 120 $51,920
Eugene 110 $41,970
Albany 60 $31,130
Corvallis 60 $52,180
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 1180 $52,640
Carlisle 330 $56,360
Harrisburg 330 $56,360
Lancaster 270 $49,520
Reading 170 $51,940
Barre 130 $47,420
Hazleton 130 $47,420
Scranton 130 $47,420
Wilkes 130 $47,420
York 110 $53,520
Hanover 110 $53,520
State College 80 $47,960
Erie 70 $41,850
Waynesboro 70 $46,520
Chambersburg 70 $46,520
Altoona 50 $46,990
Williamsport 40 $44,920
Johnstown 40 $45,400
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 240 $27,550
Carolina 240 $27,550
San Juan 240 $27,550
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Greenville 250 $45,310
Mauldin 250 $45,310
Anderson 250 $45,310
Columbia 230 $43,970
Charleston 190 $45,660
North Charleston 190 $45,660
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 90 $43,030
Rapid City 30 $38,770
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Murfreesboro 610 $52,900
Franklin 610 $52,900
Davidson 610 $52,900
Nashville 610 $52,900
Knoxville 150 $51,700
Johnson City 70 $52,370
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sugar Land 4800 $56,050
Houston 4800 $56,050
The Woodlands 4800 $56,050
Fort Worth 2660 $50,980
Arlington 2660 $50,980
Dallas 2660 $50,980
Austin 1050 $48,190
Round Rock 1050 $48,190
San Antonio 900 $45,280
New Braunfels 900 $45,280
Beaumont 320 $73,000
Port Arthur 320 $73,000
El Paso 180 $41,230
Lubbock 170 $44,170
Corpus Christi 150 $45,470
Tyler 140 $57,190
Mission 120 $41,220
Edinburg 120 $41,220
McAllen 120 $41,220
Longview 110 $47,070
College Station 100 $50,530
Bryan 100 $50,530
Waco 90 $50,190
Killeen 80 $53,280
Temple 80 $53,280
Midland 80 $55,080
Amarillo 70 $38,820
Laredo 50 $31,200
Harlingen 50 $31,770
Brownsville 50 $31,770
Abilene 50 $43,730
Sherman 40 $40,290
Denison 40 $40,290
Wichita Falls 40 $47,640
Odessa 40 $47,910
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 950 $48,950
Clearfield 250 $43,160
Ogden 250 $43,160
Provo 210 $47,740
Orem 210 $47,740
St. George 90 $45,210
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington N/A $49,190
Burlington N/A $49,190
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 290 $55,000
Roanoke 110 $40,270
Radford 40 $38,510
Blacksburg 40 $38,510
Christiansburg 40 $38,510
Lynchburg 30 $51,270
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bellevue 1090 $56,810
Tacoma 1090 $56,810
Seattle 1090 $56,810
Spokane Valley 120 $49,200
Spokane 120 $49,200
Bellingham 90 $54,410
Tumwater 70 $52,820
Olympia 70 $52,820
Richland 60 $40,730
Kennewick 60 $40,730
Yakima 30 $43,330
Wenatchee 30 $47,580
Silverdale N/A $46,780
Bremerton N/A $46,780
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 80 $44,360
Morgantown 50 $36,590
Beckley 40 $54,220
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Milwaukee 570 $47,290
Waukesha 570 $47,290
West Allis 570 $47,290
Madison 200 $45,250
Green Bay 120 $49,400
Eau Claire 50 $45,290
Neenah 40 $44,770
Oshkosh 40 $44,770
Fond du Lac 40 $46,210
Appleton 40 $53,500
Wausau 30 $40,830
Janesville N/A $44,740
Beloit N/A $44,740
Sheboygan N/A $53,170
     
Metro Area (Wyoming) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cheyenne 50 $47,270
Casper 30 $47,910

Most Popular Industries for :
Architectural and Civil Drafters

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Professional And Technical Services 94,020 82% $44,390
Construction 5,870 5% $43,660
Government 3,840 3% $48,370
Construction Trades 2,110 1% $44,090
Office Services And Staffing 1,460 1% $45,380
Metal Products 1,350 1% $42,670
Civil Engineering 1,160 1% $50,540
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
 
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CityTownInfo Career and College Resources

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Architectural and Civil Drafters.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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