Career Development

What Does a Drafter Do?

Find out what a drafter does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a drafter.

Drafters use technical skills and knowledge of design principles to create detailed drawings that represent real-world objects or spaces. They may work on a variety of projects, from simple floor plans for residential homes to complex schematics for industrial equipment.

Drafters must be able to interpret the ideas and needs of their clients and translate them into clear and accurate drawings. This requires strong communication skills as well as an understanding of how different elements in a drawing should be arranged to best convey meaning.

Drafter Job Duties

Drafters have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Preparing sketches, diagrams, and charts that illustrate complex concepts or processes for use in construction plans or engineering designs
  • Using computer-aided design (CAD) software to create drawings of building layouts, electrical systems, mechanical devices, chemical reactions, or other concepts that require visual representation
  • Using computer software to create 3D models of objects or environments for use in simulations or visual presentations such as architectural plans or product designs
  • Communicating with clients to gather information about project requirements, deadlines, budgets, etc.
  • Ensuring that designs meet industry standards and comply with federal, state, and local building codes
  • Drafting plans for new structures such as industrial facilities or office buildings
  • Drafting plans for renovations to existing structures such as adding new rooms to a house or remodeling a kitchen
  • Reviewing blueprints for accuracy and identifying potential safety hazards
  • Preparing detailed drawings that describe the design intent of a project

Drafter Salary & Outlook

Drafters’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of company or industry they work for.

  • Median Annual Salary: $51,294 ($24.66/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $77,000 ($37.02/hour)

The employment of drafters is expected to decline over the next decade.

Employment of drafters is projected to decrease because technological change will allow fewer drafters to do their jobs. Computer-aided design (CAD) software allows engineers and other workers to automate some drafting tasks, reducing the need for drafters.

Drafter Job Requirements

A drafter typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Drafters need at least a high school diploma or GED. Many employers prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in technical or drafting disciplines. Some of the preferred disciplines are architecture, engineering and construction management.

Many drafters choose to pursue a degree in architecture or engineering. Architecture degrees typically take five years to complete and include courses in design, construction, computer-aided design, building systems and building materials. Engineering degrees typically take four years to complete and include courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology.

Training & Experience: Drafters typically receive on-the-job training from their new employers. This training may last for a few weeks or a few months, depending on the complexity of the company’s operations and the size of the company.

Certifications & Licenses: Drafters don’t need certifications to earn higher earning potential, but they can earn certifications to gain knowledge about their responsibilities and further their career advancement opportunities.

Drafter Skills

Drafters need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Technical skills are the abilities and knowledge you need to perform your job duties. Technical skills are often specific to the job you do and the industry you work in. For example, a drafter may need to know how to use specific software programs, how to read and interpret engineering plans and how to use engineering formulas to calculate measurements.

Communication skills: Drafters often work with other professionals, such as engineers, architects and other drafters. Communication skills, such as active listening, can help you collaborate with others and understand their needs. Communication skills can also help you explain technical information to others.

Problem-solving skills: Drafters use problem-solving skills to find solutions to challenges that arise during the design process. For example, if a design isn’t working, drafters may need to find a new way to create the design or find a workaround to make the design work. This can involve changing the design or changing the way the design is created.

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is a crucial skill for drafters because they often work with precise measurements. When working with blueprints, drafters must ensure they accurately represent the original design. This means they must be able to notice any inconsistencies in the measurements or any missing details.

Ability to work independently: Drafters often work independently on projects, so they need to be able to manage their time and responsibilities effectively. They also need to be able to research and learn new information on their own. Working independently can help you develop your problem-solving skills and increase your productivity.

Drafter Work Environment

Drafters work in well-lit, comfortable offices or studios. They use computer-aided design (CAD) and drafting software to develop designs, plans, maps, and drawings. They also use traditional drafting tools, such as T-squares, triangles, and compasses, as well as measuring instruments, such as scales and protractors. Although most of their work is done sitting down, drafters may have to stand for long periods when using drafting tables. They usually work a standard 40-hour week, but overtime may be necessary to meet deadlines.

Drafter Trends

Here are three trends influencing how drafters work. Drafters will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Skills

As technology advances, the need for more technical skills becomes increasingly important. This is especially true in the construction industry, where drafters are responsible for creating blueprints and drawings that describe how a building or project should be constructed.

Drafters who are able to utilize software such as AutoCAD will be in high demand, as they will be able to create more detailed plans that reflect the latest trends in architecture and design. In addition, drafters who are able to work with other types of software, such as 3D modeling programs, will be able to find even more opportunities in the future.

The Importance of Collaboration

The trend of collaboration is becoming increasingly important in the business world. This is because it allows teams to work together on projects and ideas in order to produce better results.

Drafters can take advantage of this trend by developing their communication and teamwork skills. By working with other team members, they can create designs that are more innovative and effective. Additionally, they can also learn from other team members’ experiences and knowledge.

More Use of Technology in the Workplace

Technology is becoming increasingly prevalent in the workplace, as more and more businesses are using it to improve efficiency. This is leading to an increased use of technology in the drafting profession, as drafters are now using software to create their drawings.

As technology becomes more popular in the workplace, drafters will need to learn how to use it in order to stay competitive. This includes learning how to use software like AutoCAD, which is commonly used by architects and engineers to create drafts and drawings.

How to Become a Drafter

A drafter career can be a great choice for someone who is interested in working in the construction industry. As a drafter, you will create drawings that show how buildings and other structures will look when they are finished. This job requires strong math skills, as well as an understanding of architectural design principles.

To become a successful drafter, it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest building codes and standards. You should also have a good understanding of computer-aided drafting (CAD) software, which is used to create construction drawings.

Advancement Prospects

The best way to advance in this career is to get more education. Many drafters start out with a certificate or an associate degree from a community college, but the most successful ones have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, architecture, or drafting. With more education, drafters can move into positions such as engineering technicians or architectural technicians.

Some drafters advance by becoming supervisors or managers. Others move into sales or marketing, where they use their knowledge of drafting to sell products or services. Some become technical writers, creating manuals and other instructions for using the products they once drafted.

Drafter Job Description Example

Drafters use computer software to convert the designs of architects and engineers into technical drawings and plans. The position of drafter is vital to the construction industry as they produce the drawings that will be used by the construction team to build the project. We are currently seeking a highly skilled and motivated drafter to join our team. The ideal candidate will have experience with AutoCAD, Revit, and other drafting software. They will be responsible for creating drawings and plans for a variety of construction projects. The most successful drafter will be able to work independently and be able to meet deadlines.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Prepare detailed drawings of architectural designs and plans for buildings and structures according to specifications provided by architect
  • Revise drawings and plans as necessary to accommodate changes in design, materials, or construction methods
  • Coordinate work with that of engineers, surveyors, and other professionals involved in the project
  • Compile data and perform dimensional and routine calculations required to complete drawings
  • Confer with client to discuss and determine structural design, function, and detail of structure
  • Inspect project sites to collect measurements as needed
  • Use computer-aided drafting (CAD) equipment and software to produce 2D and 3D drawings
  • Generate drawing sets, maps, blueprints, land development plans, and construction documents
  • Stay up-to-date on advances in technology and CAD software programs
  • Adhere to all company policies and procedures
  • Comply with industry safety standards
  • Maintain a clean and organized work area

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Proficiency in computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • Solid understanding of engineering principles and drafting standards
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Good visualization skills
  • Ability to work independently and with a team

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Associate’s degree or technical certification in drafting, engineering, or related field
  • 2+ years of experience in drafting or engineering
  • Working knowledge of Building Information Modeling (BIM) software
  • Familiarity with construction methods and materials
  • Experience creating 3D models

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