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Computer-Aided Design Drafter Job Description, Career as a Computer-Aided Design Drafter, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: Postsecondary education in drafting

Salary Median: $44,577 per year

Employment Outlook: Fair

A computer-aided design drafter, or CAD drafter, prepares drawings and relief maps that are used in civil engineering projects, such as the building of bridges; the construction of highways; and the development of flood control projects, pipelines, and water control systems. CAD drafters use computer software to develop creative and innovative designs for a wide variety of products that are used in every day life. These designers also use technical handbooks, calculators, and tables to accomplish their work.

While drafters previously prepared drawings by hand, they now use computers to ensure that designs can be modified easily and transmitted electronically. However, they still need to know traditional drafting basics like calculating and sketching.

Education and Training Requirements

High school courses in science, mathematics, design, computer technology, and graphics are useful for starting a career in drafting. Because the quality of training programs varies significantly, students should select a computer-aided drafting program carefully. Employers often prefer those who have completed training at a community college, technical institute, or four-year institution.

Some technical institutes offer two-year associate’s degree programs. Most public vocational-technical institutes require a high school diploma for admission. Talent for lettering and drawing is important, and drafters also must have the ability to explain ideas through written and verbal presentations of plans and drawings.

Getting the Job

CAD drafters can look for employment in service firms, corporations, and agencies handling computer-aided drafting work. Inexperienced candidates can contact employers directly for suitable opportunities. College placement offices and teacher referrals are quite helpful. Information regarding job openings can also be found on the Internet and in private employment agencies, trade magazines, and newspaper advertisements.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Junior computer-aided design drafters generally work under the supervision of senior drafters. With experience, CAD drafters become intermediate drafters and can perform difficult work with minimum supervision. These drafters may advance to positions like that of senior designer, drafter, or supervisor. Drafters with college degrees may go on to become engineers, engineering technicians, or architects.

The field of computer-aided design drafting is projected to grow at a slower rate, compared that of other fields, within the next decade. The majority of computer-aided drafters find work in service companies, though employment varies from one place to another depending on the demands of local industries.

Working Conditions

Computer-aided design drafters generally work in clean and comfortable surroundings. They spend most of their time at computer terminals, and this may cause health problems like hand and wrist pain, muscle pain, backache, and eyestrain. Workers often need to visit other departments to interact with drafters, designers, and production personnel. The majority of drafters work roughly 40 hours a week; a small number of them also work part-time.

Where to Go for More Information

American Design Drafting Association
105 East Main Street
Newbern, TN 38059

Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture
P.O. Box 1000
5410 Spring Garden Road
Halifax NS   B3J 1E7

Salary, Earnings and Benefits

The annual salary of CAD drafters in the United States is between $38,831 and $50,323. The type of job, location, and its complexity affects earnings of CAD drafters. Many computer-aided design drafters also freelance during their spare time for extra income.

Computer-aided design drafters employed in full-time positions may enjoy a number of benefits, such as paid holidays and vacations, and general medical coverage.

Additional topics

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