An architectural drafter turns the construction designs of architects and engineers into blueprints with the use of computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software. You could be working on the designs of residential homes or commercial buildings. You may also want to focus on doing designs for structures that are specifically made of certain materials like steel, wood or concrete.
As an architectural drafter, you will be working closely with architects or engineers. Under their supervision, you will be discussing with them their plans and clarifying the specifications of the preliminary sketches they have made. Based on your knowledge of building and construction, you will also be adding specific details of the rough plans made by engineers or architects. Your technical plans will include the dimensions of the structure and the materials that will be used in construction. It will also detail the procedures on how to build the structure. In many cases, you will be making many versions of a particular design for the engineers or architects to choose from.
Like other architectural drafters, you are expected to be proficient in CADD since this program will enable you to see and program the dimensions and schematics straight into building and information modeling (BIM) systems which will, in turn, facilitate the creation of their digital models. With BIM, architectural drafters can work more easily with engineers, architects and construction managers since it will show the various elements of the project in three-dimensional form.
To succeed as an architectural drafter, you need to possess technical skills, particularly in computer-aided design and drafting and building and information modeling systems. You also need to be good in math since you will be making calculations and solving problems about dimensions, weight and expenses related to construction. You also need to have the ability to pay close attention to detail so that you can make technically accurate drawings.
Why Become An Architectural Drafter
A career as an architectural drafter is ideal for those who want to work in the building and construction industry but not necessarily as an engineer or architect. This is also for those who are keenly interested in making drawings using computer software and are fascinated with creating technically-accurate models of physical structures. A practical reason to go into this profession is the fact that architectural drafters are paid well.
Architectural Drafter Work Environment
Architectural drafters are mainly hired by companies operating in the architectural, engineering and related services industries. Some are also employed by manufacturing and construction companies. They typically work fulltime and make their drawings in their offices but they may need to visit a construction site to confer with engineers, architects and other workers involved in the project.
Architectural Drafter Salary
The U.S. Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of architectural and civil drafters is $51,250. This is slightly lower than the $60,350 paid to electrical and electronics drafters and the $54,510 received by mechanical drafters.
Architectural Drafter Career Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, little or no change is seen in the job outlook of drafters in general in the decade covering 2012 to 2022. A one percent growth in the employment rate is seen in that time period specifically for architectural and civil drafters. They will still be needed for construction projects but the demand for these professionals will also be diminished because technologies like CADD and BIM will also make the work more efficient.
Architectural Drafter Degree
The entry point for a career as an architectural drafter is a two-year degree in drafting. This can be obtained from a community college or technical school. However, it is also possible to get a job with a certificate in drafting. For those who want to deepen their knowledge about drafting, there are a few schools that offer a bachelor’s degree in the subject. It is also possible to proceed to a related course like engineering after obtaining an associate’s degree. Getting a certification from the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) is voluntary but it signifies competence and enhances opportunities for employment.