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Mechanical Drafters picture    Mechanical Drafters image

Mechanical drafters produce detailed plans, drawings and diagrams for mechanical and machinery devices. They also provide information such as the dimensions for fabrication and assembly, fastening methods and material specifications.

Mechanical drafters need to have a broad-based understanding of design techniques and the principles involved in producing technical plans, models and drawings. They must be knowledgeable in the practical application of engineering science and technology. In addition, they need to be proficient with computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) systems.

Mechanical drafters benefit by having good near vision and good verbal communication skills. Part of their work also includes visualizing how objects and assemblies are going to appear after they have been altered or rearranged.

Responsibilities

  • Produce detailed design drawings and specify technical devices, equipment and parts. Provide detailed instructions and documentation regarding the fabrication, construction, assembling, usage or modification of equipment, devices and parts.
  • Produce schematics which show the functional relationships of various components, systems, assemblies and machines.
  • Coordinate and confer with co-workers and associates in order to design, layout and detail components and systems.
  • Consult with project team members to resolve design problems.
  • Evaluate and assess factors related to component designs.
  • Modify designs.
  • Examine information and evaluate results in order to solve problems and select the best solution.
  • Process information and verify data.
  • Determine if processes abide by regulations, laws or standards.
  • Review drawing and schematics with customers and answer questions regarding system installations.

Job Characteristics

Drafters usually work in comfortable environments. The majority of their time is spent at computer terminals performing detailed work. Mechanical ability, mathematical skills, and identifying the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions are important skills for the profession. Visual aptitude and being detailed oriented are also important factors. In addition, good communication skills are helpful due to working with engineers, architects and other professionals.

Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, projects the growth rate for drafters in general will be about 6% from 2006 to 2016, which is a slower rate than the average for all occupations. Employment opportunities for drafters may increase due to industrial growth and also by drafters handling procedures typically given to engineers and architects. However, improvements in CADD systems make simple procedures easier to complete which may decrease the demand for lower skilled drafters since these tasks can be completed by other technical professionals.

Outsourcing of mechanical drafting work may rise due to the Internet providing the opportunity of sending CADD files to workers abroad. Mechanical along with civil drafters are projected to see the highest demand in the profession. In addition, mechanical drafters, with solid technical skills, who have at least two years of post-secondary training and have experience with CADD systems are projected to have the best employment opportunities. In addition, the demand for mechanical drafters mainly comes from industries that have a sensitivity to the cyclical changes of the economy.

About 30% of all drafting jobs are held by mechanical drafters. According to government statistics, there were approximately 74,000 mechanical drafters employed in 2007. Also, in 2007 the mean hourly pay was $22.45 and the mean annual wage was $46,690.

Mechanical Drafting Training, Certification, and Licensing

Mechanical drafters need to be very proficient at drafting and design and have expertise with CADD systems. Training is offered by community colleges, technical schools and by the armed forces. Students may earn a two-year associate degrees in drafting. The quality of training offered in these settings may vary.

Degrees in drafting are not available at most four-year colleges. However, many of the colleges offer CADD classes in their architecture, engineering and computer science programs. Also, the non-CADD coursework included in these programs are useful in the profession. In addition, the American Design Drafting Association offers a certification program for drafters. Students interested in a mechanical drafting career may want to contact prospective employers and ask for a list of the schools they prefer.

Resources

Major Employers

Some of the major employers are engineering firms, architectural firms and major manufactures such as automobile companies and semiconductor firms.

Schools for Mechanical Drafters are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Mechanical Drafters Skills

Below are the skills needed to be mechanical drafters according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Reading Comprehension3.253.88
Mathematics3.253.88
Active Listening3.253.5
Critical Thinking3.253.25
Active Learning3.253.62

Mechanical Drafters Abilities

Below are the abilities needed to be mechanical drafters according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Ability NameImportanceCompetence
Near Vision3.754
Mathematical Reasoning3.53.62
Visualization3.54
Oral Comprehension3.253.88
Speech Recognition3.253

Mechanical Drafters Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be mechanical drafters according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Design4.826.12
Engineering and Technology4.735.6
Mechanical4.485.1
Mathematics4.374.84
English Language3.934.1

Mechanical Drafters Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being mechanical drafters according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Interacting With Computers4.724.53
Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment4.715.67
Getting Information4.233.6
Thinking Creatively4.024.71
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates3.924.49

Mechanical Drafters Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being mechanical drafters according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work StyleImportance
Attention to Detail4.84
Analytical Thinking4.34
Dependability4.23
Integrity4.2
Initiative4.16

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Mechanical Drafters

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Mechanical Drafters jobs , as of 2017

   
Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land2,090 $71,430
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn1,690 $58,300
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue1,520 $88,670
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim1,410 $61,280
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington1,080 $55,880
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson990 $62,080
Pittsburgh790 $52,890
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach680 $56,140
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis640 $50,900
Grand Rapids-Wyoming560 $56,370

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Employment
Salary

Total employment and salary for professions similar to mechanical drafters

Source : 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 22.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org

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

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