dcsimg

Drafters primarily produce technical drawings and plans which are utilized by production and construction workers to create a variety of products such as machinery, toys, houses and airplanes. The drawings specify the technical details, dimensions, materials and procedures for producing products and building structures.

Drafters add additional details provided by engineers, architects, scientist and surveyors. Drafters typically have a basic knowledge of standardized building techniques, engineering and manufacturing theory and standards for drawing components of machinery. They also utilize technical handbooks and calculators to finish their drawings.

The majority of drafters utilize computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) systems to produce their drawings. Some drafters are called CADD operators. By using CADD systems, drafters have the opportunity to produce and electronically store their drawings, which allows the drawings to be printed, easily viewed or programmed directly into automated manufacturing systems. Although CADD systems are excellent tools, drafters still need training in traditional drafting techniques.

Drafting offers a variety of specialty areas including:

  • Aeronautical drafters create engineering drawings which display the plans and specifications required for the manufacturing of airplanes, missiles and related parts.
  • Architectural drafters produce structural and architectural elements for buildings and a variety of structures. Some drafters in this field specialize in commercial or residential structures.
  • Civil drafters are asked to create drawings as well as topographical and relief maps which are utilized for construction and civil engineering projects. Typical projects are water and sewage systems, highways and bridges.
  • Electrical drafters provide wiring and layout diagrams to workers who erect, install and repair electrical equipment in structures such as power plants, buildings and communication centers.
  • Electronic drafters produce drawings which display circuit board assembly diagrams, wiring diagrams and schematics. They also prepare drawings required for manufacturing and installing and preparing electronic devices and components.
  • Mechanical drafters create drawings that are utilized in manufacturing items such as tools, machinery, automobile parts and other types of mechanical items.
  • Process piping or pipeline drafters provide drawing utilized in layout, construction and the operation of chemical plants, oil and gas fields, refineries and process piping systems.

Responsibilities

Drafters create the technical drawings and plans which are necessary to produce a wide variety of products and structures. The drawings must provide the technical details and state the types of materials to be used. For civil engineering projects, drafters provide topographical and relief maps. Drafters involved in the design of buildings are responsible for providing the structural and architectural aspects of structures.

Job Characteristics

Drafters typically have comfortable work environments. Most of their time is spent working at computer terminals performing detailed work. Mechanical ability, visual aptitude and attention to detail are vital for the profession. Good communication skills are helpful due to working with engineers, architects and other professionals. The vast majority of drafters work full-time.

Employment Outlook

Architectural and civil drafters typically have over 40% of the total amount of drafting jobs while mechanical drafters hold about 30% of the positions. Electrical and electronics drafters combined usually have about 14% of the drafting jobs. Close to half of drafting positions were provided by engineering, architectural as well as related services companies which design construction projects or provide engineering work on a contract basis. About one-quarter of the jobs were provided by manufacturing industries. Only about 5% of drafters are self-employed.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (USDL BLS), the growth rate for drafters from 2006 to 2016 is expected to be about 6% which is a slower growth rate than the average projected employment growth for all occupations. Growth in the field may be stimulated by industrial growth and also by drafters performing tasks usually given to engineers and architects. Also, improvements in CADD systems make simple tasks easier to perform which may reduce the demand for lower skilled drafters since these tasks may be accomplished by other types of technical professionals.

Outsourcing of drafting work may increase due to the availability of sending CADD files via the Internet. Mechanical, civil and mechanical drafters are projected to see the greatest demand for drafters. Also, 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. The demand for drafters is created primarily in industries that are sensitive to the cyclical changes to the economy.

The earnings of drafters primarily depends on factors such as their area of specialization, where they are located and their level of responsibility. 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. The median annual earnings for mechanical drafters in 2006 was $43,700 and for electrical and electronics drafters it was $46,830.

Drafting Schools, Certification, and Licensing

Drafters must be highly skilled at drafting and design and have expertise with CADD systems. Training is provided by vocational schools, community colleges and by the armed forces. Two-year associate degrees are available in drafting. The quality of training in these settings may vary.

Most four-year colleges do not offer specific 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 a position as a drafter. Many of the colleges have included CADD classes in their architecture, engineering and computer science curriculums. In addition, a certification program for drafters is offered by the American Design Drafting Association. Students seeking a career in drafting may want to contact prospective employers and ask for a list of the schools they prefer.

Resources

Major Employers

The primary opportunities for employment for drafters are found with companies in the fields of manufacturing, engineering and electronics as well as companies involved in construction or civil engineering projects. Also, employment opportunities are found in companies that provide services for these industries.

Schools for Drafters are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Drafters

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Drafters jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

     
Metro Area Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Arlington 600 $51,110
Fort Worth 600 $51,110
Dallas 600 $51,110
Sugar Land 600 $67,570
Houston 600 $67,570
The Woodlands 600 $67,570
Mesa 410 $49,780
Scottsdale 410 $49,780
Phoenix 410 $49,780
Anaheim 410 $55,080
Total Employment for Drafters - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
Compare Total Employment for Drafters
STATE
CITIES
EMPLOYMENT
 
Salaries for Drafters - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
Compare Salaries for Drafters
STATE
CITIES
SALARY
 
Total Employment and Salary for Professions Similar to Drafters

Most Popular Industries for :
Drafters

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

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Professional And Technical Services 8,900 43% $43,850
Automotive And Vehicle Manufacturing 1,540 7% $53,890
Construction Trades 1,110 5% $42,900
Office Services And Staffing 1,020 5% $42,410
Furniture 900 4% $41,670
Metal Products 660 3% $41,180
Government 630 3% $46,170
Electronics And Computer 570 2% $51,630
Machinery 540 2% $40,700
Telecommunications 510 2% $51,720
Construction 410 2% $39,520
Business Management 400 1% $47,670
Durable Goods Wholesale 390 1% $44,420
Mineral Products 320 1% $40,160
Wood Products Manufacturing 260 1% $41,360
Miscellaneous Manufacturing 230 1% $45,050
Click the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab.
Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school.
 
Results:  10
Matching School Ads
Programs
  • Drafting Technology & Design (AS)
  • Interior Planning with AutoCAD (AAS)
  • Online and Bachelor's programs include B.S. in Advertising, B.S. in Web Design, B.A. in Interior Design, and more
  • Curriculum focus on preparing students for a creative career by teaching them the fundamentals of advertising and design
  • Students can choose from courses that cover areas such as advertising concepts, art direction, experience design, and online marketing
  • Over 50 locations nationwide, with a student support team dedicated to helping students grow
  • Start your journey! Classes starting Aug 17.
Programs
  • AutoCAD
  • A private, accredited distance learning college based in Norcross, Georgia founded in 1987.
  • Ensures that service members, their spouses and veterans can maximize their military education benefits.
  • Gives students the option to customize monthly payments to fit their budgets and lifestyle.
  • Offers all-inclusive tuition: textbooks, learning materials, and academic support are covered in the cost.
  • Allows alumni to enroll in any future program at a reduced rate.
Programs
  • BS in Aeronautics
  • Liberty University’s online programs ranked in the top 10 out of more than 2,100 colleges & universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility.*
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.**
  • Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program.
  • Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help you get the most out of your hard work and maximize the credit you previously earned.
Programs
  • Mechatronics - Bachelor's

Making the decision to earn your degree and pursue your career goals could be the best decision you ever make. Enroll at ECPI University and you’ll join a collaborative and fostering learning environment, surrounded by faculty and staff who are there to support you through the entire process.


What sets ECPI University apart? Just ask the employers who hire our graduates. Since 1966, more than 3,800 employers have looked to ECPI for talented professionals who are capable of entering the workplace and doing the job right on the very first day. That’s because our curriculum is designed to meet the needs of today’s highly-specialized job market.

 

What Are You Waiting For?

Programs
  • Certificate - Industrial Maintenance Technician
  • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
  • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
  • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • 11 campuses across California, with an online division as well.
camnpus icon
Visalia
Request Info
Programs
  • Electrician
  • Oil and Gas Instrumentation Technician
  • Offers career programs in accounting, cosmetology, massage therapy, physical fitness training, and more.
  • Provides hands-on training led by instructors who have relevant, on-the-job experience.
  • Each campus features a public salon and spa for student practice.
  • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and Council on Occupational Education (COE).
  • 11 campuses across California, Texas, Nevada and Idaho, as well as 8 additional Milan Institute of Cosmetology campuses.
camnpus icon
Bakersfield
Request Info
Programs
  • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management
  • Ready to earn your business degree? If you identify with at least one of the statements below, GCU could be a good fit for you!
  • I have worked in the business field for a number of years and want to further my education in order to qualify for promotions, leadership positions, and salary increases.
  • I am graduating from high school and am interested in pursuing a career in a business field, but I first need the skills experience.
  • I am interested in a Bachelor's, Master's or Doctoral degree in my specialized business area of focus.
  • I want flexible course offerings, such as the option of 100% online, evening or campus classes.
  • I need a university that provides quality educational offerings through academic excellence and real-world relevance. Does this sound like you? Apply today!
Programs
  • BA Project Management
  • Become the leader you know you can be @ Ashford University
  • Apply Now! Classes Start Every Tuesday!
Programs
  • Graduate Certificate in Project Monitoring and Evaluation

Change the World with American University

Be a part of something bigger than yourself. At American University, we strive to help you develop your professional interests and indulge in your passion for making a difference. Our online degree programs allow you to gain the advanced skills for active leadership in a variety of fields.

Set Yourself Apart at American University

At American University, our smart, passionate and engaged students and faculty focus their knowledge to create meaningful change. Our strengths in international service and public affairs inspire our sense of social responsibility and a dedication to cultural and intellectual diversity. We're defined by our global perspective, practical idealism and a dedication to public service.

Programs
  • MS Organizational Leadership - Project Management
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.

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

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

Back to Top