How To Become A Computer Aided Drafter

Computer aided drafters use computer software to take the designs from architects and convert them into technical drawings, which can be used for projects. Most computer aided drafters have a specialty, whether it is architecture, civil engineering, electrical engineering, or some other specialty.

In order to become a computer aided drafter, a person needs their associates degree from a technical trade school or a community college. It takes two years to receive such a degree.

Why Become A Computer Aided Drafter

Originally, all drafting in the architecture and engineering fields was accomplished by hand. With the rise of technology, people in this field are able to complete their drafts more quickly; they can show how the project will look in three-dimensional design; they can collaborate with other coworkers on the software project. Computer aided drafting has many benefits.

As a computer aided drafter, you will work with a team that will include engineers, architects, other drafters, and more. You will have meetings with them to discuss the project. You will receive renderings from these professionals and use computer-aided design (CAD) software to build a draft of the project. Your drafts will be able to be programmed into modeling systems, so that the rest of the team can collaborate on the project together. These three-dimensional renderings help the team see the architectural and engineering projects come to life.

This is a good position for somebody who enjoys design, has a creative and problem solving mind, and is great with working with computers.

Computer Aided Drafters should possess the following qualities and skills:

Computer Aided Drafter Work Environment

Computer aided drafters work in an office environment. They use a variety of drafting, architecture, and other software programs to help them with their projects. They typically spend several hours a day on the computer, working to draft their designs. They may visit with clients to discuss the project. They often spend time collaborating with other people in their office on the project.

A computer aided drafter needs to be good with computers. They spend most of their time sitting and working indoors. They need to be able to adhere to a schedule and any deadlines.

Computer Aided Drafter Salary

There are many factors that can affect a computer aided drafter salary. For example, the industry that a person works in can vary their salary considerably. Those who worked in electronics drafting vs those who work in architectural and civil engineering drafters. Keep in mind what kind of drafting you are thinking about going into when thinking about salary. Those with extra experience and education tend to earn a higher salary.

Average Computer Aided Drafter Annual Salary


The average annual salary for computer aided drafters is $55,110 a year. Salaries start at $34,070 a year and go up to $79,790 a year.

Average Computer Aided Drafter Hourly Wage


The average hourly wage for a computer aided drafter is $26.50. Hourly wages are between $16.38 and $38.36 an hour.

Stats were based out of 95,960 employed computer aided drafters in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Computer Aided Drafters

Top Paying Cities For Computer Aided Drafters

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Computer Aided Drafter Career Outlook

Employment for computer aided drafters is expected to increase by 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is average rate of growth compared to other jobs in the United States. Overall, this will account for approximately 15,000 new computer aided drafting jobs available during this 10 year time span.

In the United States, a majority of people graduate from programs in architectural and civil engineering backgrounds, and employment in these fields is expected to grow the most. However, because of the sheer amount of people with similar degrees, competition could be stiff for finding a job.

Those with other backgrounds such as mechanical and electrical design could have an easier time finding employment.

Computer Aided Drafter Degree

Computer aided drafters need to receive an associate’s degree in order to earn a job in this field. Many community colleges and technical schools offer associate’s degrees in computer aided drafting. During this time, students will take lecture classes regarding drafting. They will also have hands-on classes, where they will design their own projects and learn to draft.

It typically takes two years to earn an associate’s degree. Some schools may be flexible, offering day or night classes, online classes, or part-time availability. In the next section, we discuss some courses that are typically taken during an associate’s degree program in computer aided drafting and design.

Computer Aided Drafter Coursework

When you enroll in an associate’s degree program in computer aided drafting, you will have lecture style classes, as well as hands-on classes to work with software programs and create your own projects. Courses typically involve learning about the basics of architecture, engineering and construction industries, different software programs, as well as math courses.

Below are some examples of classes that you may take during a typical associate’s degree program in computer aided drafting.

Blueprint Reading: In this course, students learn how to use and interpret construction drawings and specifications. They will examine many different kinds of plans such as architectural, civil engineering, landscape, and more. They will be introduced to basic construction terms used in this profession.

Construction Methods: Students learn about the materials and methods used in the construction industries. They learn about the science of building, legal constraints and the craft of building. They learn a variety of building techniques, from site work through civil engineering design.

Applied Mathematics: Students learn how to take applied mathematics and apply it in a practical way to the areas of architecture, engineering, and design. Students will learn about calculus, trigonometry, and other important mathematical concepts.

Computer Aided Drafter Career Path

Career Overview Responsibilities Education Required Benefits
Senior Drafter Oversees the staff at a drafting company. A senior drafter is in charge of the team at a company, making sure that the junior drafters are completing assignments, that they understand projects and the deadlines involved, and are available to answer any questions. Associate’s degree required, bachelor’s degree may be preferred. Several years of experience required, plus experience in a managerial position. This is a good job for somebody who has spent several years already working as a computer aided drafter and is now ready to move into a more advanced role, mentoring coworkers who are not as experienced.

Related Computer Aided Drafter Careers

Computer aid drafters are just one of many professions in the design industry. If you are interested in this field, there are others out there that may interest you as well. Below we have listed a few different occupations which are similar to computer aided drafters.

Architects: Architects are responsible for planning and designing projects for many different kinds of structures. They may specialize in residential design, or in commercial design. Architects design our schools, homes, shopping centers, government buildings, and more.

Civil Engineering Technician: A civil engineering technician helps civil engineers to plan, design, and build their projects. They may work on highways, bridges, and other kinds of infrastructure projects.

Surveyors: Surveyors work as part of a construction project. They make precise measurements to determine boundaries and other landscape factors. They provide relevant data to construction companies, engineers, and architects.

More Careers To Explore

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