Education and Training High school with certificate course in drafting
Average Salary $46,000–$50,000
Job Outlook Good
A draftsman is an artist who converts various technical designs into drawings to be used by construction companies. The drafts made by the draftsman will be used as a guide at both the office and project site. A draftsman provides the vision of the employer and converts the virtual design of a client into reality. The field is divided into architecture, mechanical, electronic, and civil draftsmanship. These days draftsmen use manual and CAD (computer aided drawing) skills to meet the requirements of the project. As soon as drafts are made, they are referred to an engineer for further review.
Draftsman create technical drawings and the must have good creative, math, and geometry skills and the ability to do hard work. To be a successful draftsman you must realize the importance of meeting deadlines and have patience and determination.
Education and Training Requirements
Draftsmen courses and mechanical drawing in high school can prepare you for a future in this field. A good knowledge of math, especially trigonometry, is required. Various academic and vocational/technical institutions offer certificate courses for two or four years in electronic, mechanical, and architectural drafting. ADDA (American Design Drafting Association) offers professional certification in this field by conducting drafter certification exams. These drafting programs require good CAD skills and a firm knowledge of math. Though CAD skills are a must, you should have knowledge of manual drawing techniques. You can even earn a bachelors degree in architecture for a career in architectural drafting. Good verbal and communication skills are also required for dealing with clients.
Getting the Job
Getting into this field is easy. The jobs are available in various subjects such as architecture, electronics, mechanical and civil. Various architecture firms, government organizations, the construction industry, and the electrical system industry employ various draftsmen with a handsome income. You can even work as a freelance draftsman accepting contracts from various companies. ADDA even provides educational resources and sponsors various industrial events that are helpful for getting a job. Various vocational and educational institutes, however, offer career services to many draftsmen passing out of that institute.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development
According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics growth prospects are bound to grow brighter in architectural field in the coming 10 years whereas mechanical and electronic drafters are expected to show very little progress rate. With more and more firms employing several drafters, a chance of management over the crew of drafters can be available. Also, if you have additional qualifications you can become recognized as an engineering technician.
Working Conditions and Environment
Normally drafters in all fields tend to spend their maximum time in office while some of them divide their work hours between office and project sites. So at times this involves traveling for long hours. Some of the draftsmen even schedule appointments with their clients besides office and field work.
Salary and Benefits
In 2008 Architectural and Civil Drafters earned an average salary of $46,390 per year whereas highest salary was $67,110 per annum. The highest salary paid to an electronic drafter was $79,790 per annum. Average median salary was $53,700 in 2008. In the same year mechanical drafters were paid an average median salary of $48,000. The highest paid amongst them earned $71,340.
Where to Go for More Information
American Design Drafting Association
105 East Main St.
Newbern, TN 38059
American Institute of Architecture Students
735 New York Ave.
Washington, DC 20006