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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
Hoover 360 $49,910
Birmingham 360 $49,910
Mobile 160 $56,880
Montgomery 130 $50,770
Huntsville 110 $48,360
Dothan 40 $50,420
Daphne -2222 $45,930
Fairhope -2222 $45,930
Foley -2222 $45,930
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 150 $60,610
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Phoenix 1520 $56,760
Scottsdale 1520 $56,760
Mesa 1520 $56,760
Tucson 180 $53,070
Yuma 50 $51,660
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 150 $45,470
North Little Rock 150 $45,470
Little Rock 150 $45,470
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Los Angeles 5580 $59,700
Long Beach 5580 $59,700
Anaheim 5580 $59,700
Oakland 2840 $59,400
Hayward 2840 $59,400
San Francisco 2840 $59,400
Carlsbad 1540 $59,300
San Diego 1540 $59,300
Roseville 1040 $60,380
Arcade 1040 $60,380
Sacramento 1040 $60,380
Arden 1040 $60,380
San Bernardino 1000 $48,920
Ontario 1000 $48,920
Riverside 1000 $48,920
Sunnyvale 800 $59,360
Santa Clara 800 $59,360
San Jose 800 $59,360
Fresno 220 $49,220
Bakersfield 180 $50,600
Ventura 180 $55,030
Oxnard 180 $55,030
Thousand Oaks 180 $55,030
Modesto 160 $46,720
Vallejo 130 $54,730
Fairfield 130 $54,730
Santa Rosa 120 $63,230
Santa Maria 110 $53,160
Santa Barbara 110 $53,160
Salinas 90 $55,230
Porterville 80 $43,110
Visalia 80 $43,110
San Luis Obispo 60 $38,820
Arroyo Grande 60 $38,820
Paso Robles 60 $38,820
Lodi 60 $48,750
Stockton 60 $48,750
Watsonville 60 $54,160
Santa Cruz 60 $54,160
Chico 60 $54,900
Napa 50 $64,590
Redding -2222 $53,450
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 1610 $52,470
Denver 1610 $52,470
Aurora 1610 $52,470
Colorado Springs 190 $49,160
Boulder 170 $55,550
Fort Collins 150 $50,940
Greeley 100 $54,170
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Hartford 390 $60,470
East Hartford 390 $60,470
Hartford 390 $60,470
Bridgeport 230 $59,310
Stamford 230 $59,310
Norwalk 230 $59,310
New Haven 120 $59,180
Danbury 30 $59,260
     
Metro Area (Delaware) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dover 50 $47,590
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Palm Beach 1930 $50,570
Fort Lauderdale 1930 $50,570
Miami 1930 $50,570
Orlando 1050 $52,930
Kissimmee 1050 $52,930
Sanford 1050 $52,930
Clearwater 790 $45,310
Tampa 790 $45,310
St. Petersburg 790 $45,310
Jacksonville 380 $47,510
Bradenton 250 $51,650
North Port 250 $51,650
Sarasota 250 $51,650
Pensacola 230 $40,870
Ferry Pass 230 $40,870
Brent 230 $40,870
Winter Haven 180 $47,110
Lakeland 180 $47,110
Cape Coral 170 $56,980
Fort Myers 170 $56,980
Palm Bay 160 $46,180
Titusville 160 $46,180
Melbourne 160 $46,180
Ocala 140 $37,540
Crestview 130 $46,530
Destin 130 $46,530
Fort Walton Beach 130 $46,530
Ormond Beach 120 $38,560
Daytona Beach 120 $38,560
Deltona 120 $38,560
Immokalee 120 $45,400
Naples 120 $45,400
Marco Island 120 $45,400
Port St. Lucie 100 $40,840
Vero Beach 90 $45,900
Sebastian 90 $45,900
Tallahassee 90 $49,350
Gainesville 70 $46,530
Panama City 60 $47,340
The Villages 30 $33,160
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 2160 $53,340
Atlanta 2160 $53,340
Sandy Springs 2160 $53,340
Savannah 150 $40,430
Macon 60 $53,960
Clarke County 40 $47,040
Athens 40 $47,040
Gainesville 40 $50,440
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 440 $52,300
Lahaina 60 $44,890
Wailuku 60 $44,890
Kahului 60 $44,890
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 380 $45,260
Idaho Falls 70 $43,570
Coeur d'Alene 50 $48,880
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Peoria 90 $58,580
Rockford 90 $59,030
Urbana 40 $51,380
Champaign 40 $51,380
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Indianapolis 500 $49,070
Anderson 500 $49,070
Carmel 500 $49,070
Fort Wayne 110 $45,500
Elkhart 80 $43,690
Goshen 80 $43,690
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 340 $47,100
Des Moines 340 $47,100
Cedar Rapids 80 $48,250
Iowa City 50 $45,580
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 130 $48,050
Topeka 80 $52,710
Lawrence -2222 $41,030
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 180 $36,840
Lexington 180 $36,840
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Orleans 370 $59,750
Metairie 370 $59,750
Baton Rouge 250 $63,410
Monroe 100 $45,250
Lake Charles 90 $66,950
Shreveport 80 $39,970
Bossier City 80 $39,970
Lafayette 80 $48,220
Houma 40 $52,100
Thibodaux 40 $52,100
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Portland 190 $56,940
South Portland 190 $56,940
Bangor 30 $36,990
Auburn -2222 $29,440
Lewiston -2222 $29,440
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 490 $59,500
Columbia 490 $59,500
Baltimore 490 $59,500
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Barnstable Town 50 $47,300
Pittsfield 30 $46,860
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 1030 $45,200
Warren 1030 $45,200
Detroit 1030 $45,200
Wyoming 290 $46,890
Grand Rapids 290 $46,890
Lansing 100 $52,020
East Lansing 100 $52,020
Portage 60 $51,960
Kalamazoo 60 $51,960
Ann Arbor -2222 $37,340
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
St. Cloud 80 $47,510
North Mankato 30 $48,580
Mankato 30 $48,580
Rochester -2222 $49,720
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 120 $48,340
Pascagoula 70 $48,750
Gulfport 70 $48,750
Biloxi 70 $48,750
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 200 $41,000
Columbia 50 $43,660
Joplin 50 $47,560
Jefferson City 30 $42,760
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Billings 200 $49,520
Missoula 80 $44,430
Great Falls 40 $45,800
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 130 $47,520
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 590 $47,330
Henderson 590 $47,330
Las Vegas 590 $47,330
Reno 110 $51,840
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 140 $54,780
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 210 $54,730
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 310 $47,060
Santa Fe 90 $56,830
Las Cruces 60 $40,420
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albany 350 $51,000
Troy 350 $51,000
Schenectady 350 $51,000
Rochester 270 $49,460
Cheektowaga 240 $47,020
Niagara Falls 240 $47,020
Buffalo 240 $47,020
Syracuse 190 $58,780
Glens Falls 50 $44,810
Ithaca 50 $54,600
Rome 30 $36,260
Utica 30 $36,260
Kingston 30 $55,360
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 450 $50,920
Greensboro 180 $45,810
High Point 180 $45,810
Chapel Hill 170 $49,310
Durham 170 $49,310
Asheville 140 $38,230
Winston 100 $45,610
Salem 100 $45,610
Wilmington 70 $47,900
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 100 $47,980
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbus 830 $47,880
Cleveland 430 $43,970
Elyria 430 $43,970
Dayton 210 $51,820
Toledo 200 $50,440
Akron 170 $46,600
Canton 70 $46,140
Massillon 70 $46,140
Mansfield 40 $51,060
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 540 $46,830
Tulsa 460 $51,270
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salem 110 $51,690
Eugene 100 $43,790
Corvallis 40 $47,970
Redmond 40 $53,840
Bend 40 $53,840
Albany -2222 $48,960
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 1090 $50,860
Lancaster 280 $46,370
Harrisburg 270 $56,120
Carlisle 270 $56,120
Barre 200 $47,910
Scranton 200 $47,910
Wilkes 200 $47,910
Hazleton 200 $47,910
Reading 160 $54,190
Hanover 140 $55,210
York 140 $55,210
Chambersburg 100 $49,070
Waynesboro 100 $49,070
State College 90 $48,040
Erie 70 $49,200
Johnstown 50 $40,430
Altoona 40 $46,840
Bloomsburg -2222 $40,670
Berwick -2222 $40,670
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 220 $27,660
Carolina 220 $27,660
San Juan 220 $27,660
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 280 $48,730
North Charleston 280 $48,730
Columbia 250 $48,250
Mauldin 140 $47,850
Greenville 140 $47,850
Anderson 140 $47,850
Spartanburg 60 $47,200
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 90 $39,170
Rapid City 50 $33,310
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 520 $49,380
Murfreesboro 520 $49,380
Davidson 520 $49,380
Nashville 520 $49,380
Knoxville 140 $47,850
Jackson 30 $-2,222
Johnson City -2222 $57,650
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
The Woodlands 4320 $54,360
Houston 4320 $54,360
Sugar Land 4320 $54,360
Dallas 3130 $50,160
Fort Worth 3130 $50,160
Arlington 3130 $50,160
Austin 1010 $46,320
Round Rock 1010 $46,320
New Braunfels 870 $46,050
San Antonio 870 $46,050
Beaumont 450 $65,380
Port Arthur 450 $65,380
Lubbock 160 $39,190
Corpus Christi 160 $49,650
El Paso 140 $37,700
Longview 120 $47,170
Mission 100 $37,940
Edinburg 100 $37,940
McAllen 100 $37,940
Killeen 100 $53,670
Temple 100 $53,670
Tyler 100 $56,510
Waco 90 $46,720
College Station 80 $52,290
Bryan 80 $52,290
Harlingen 70 $30,220
Brownsville 70 $30,220
Amarillo 70 $39,590
Abilene 50 $44,160
Midland 50 $57,170
Sherman 40 $42,670
Denison 40 $42,670
Laredo 40 $43,700
Odessa 40 $56,400
Wichita Falls 30 $47,510
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 970 $50,980
Clearfield 270 $41,280
Ogden 270 $41,280
Orem 260 $50,360
Provo 260 $50,360
St. George 80 $46,480
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 60 $44,030
Burlington 60 $44,030
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 330 $49,560
Charlottesville 90 $49,680
Roanoke 40 $45,620
Lynchburg 40 $48,960
Radford -2222 $53,930
Blacksburg -2222 $53,930
Christiansburg -2222 $53,930
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bellevue 1340 $55,740
Tacoma 1340 $55,740
Seattle 1340 $55,740
Richland 120 $-1,111
Kennewick 120 $-1,111
Spokane Valley 120 $46,950
Spokane 120 $46,950
Bellingham 100 $54,970
Olympia 80 $46,400
Tumwater 80 $46,400
Yakima 30 $41,670
Wenatchee 30 $50,610
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 90 $44,220
Morgantown 50 $36,880
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis 630 $46,530
Waukesha 630 $46,530
Milwaukee 630 $46,530
Madison 210 $44,360
Green Bay 160 $46,800
Appleton 70 $58,590
Eau Claire 50 $44,050
Fond du Lac 50 $46,600
Oshkosh 50 $49,230
Neenah 50 $49,230
Sheboygan -2222 $52,840
     
Metro Area (Wyoming) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cheyenne 50 $49,150

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
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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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