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Draftsman vs. Engineer: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A career in engineering or drafting can be both rewarding and challenging. If you’re interested in pursuing a job in either of these fields, it’s important to understand the key differences between them. In this article, we compare and contrast the job titles draftsman and engineer, and we provide helpful information about each profession.

What is a Draftsman?

A Draftsman is a professional who creates drawings and plans that are used in the construction or manufacturing of products, buildings or other structures. They use precision instruments, such as protractors and compasses, as well as computer-aided design (CAD) software to create two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) drawings. Draftsmen often specialize in a particular area, such as architectural drafting, electrical drafting or mechanical drafting. They may also be responsible for reading and interpreting blueprints and other technical drawings to ensure accuracy and clarity.

What is an Engineer?

Engineers are responsible for designing, developing and supervising the construction of various systems, products and structures. They may work in a variety of fields, such as electrical, mechanical or civil engineering. Engineers use their knowledge of math and science to solve problems and develop solutions that meet the specific needs of their clients. They often create prototypes of their designs to test their functionality and make sure they meet all safety requirements. Engineers typically work in office settings, but they may also travel to worksites to oversee the construction or implementation of their designs.

Draftsman vs. Engineer

Here are the main differences between a draftsman and an engineer.

Job Duties

Both engineers and draftsmen have similar job duties, although the tasks an engineer performs are more complex. An engineer may research a problem, develop a solution and create a design for a project. They then communicate this information to other members of their team and present it to clients or superiors.

Draftsmen typically work closely with engineers, often acting as assistants who help with projects. While they don’t perform the same tasks, they may assist an engineer by creating drawings from their designs. They also may use the engineering’s plans to create blueprints or schematics.

Job Requirements

Draftsmen typically need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may require an associate degree. Many community colleges and technical schools offer programs in drafting that can help students learn the skills they need for the job. Some employers also prefer candidates who are certified through the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA). The ADDA offers several different certification exams that test drafters on their knowledge of computer-aided design (CAD) software and other drafting tools.

Engineers usually need to have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited engineering program. Some engineers also choose to pursue a master’s degree or doctorate so they can move into more advanced positions. To become licensed, engineers must pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, which is offered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). After passing this exam, engineers can work towards becoming a Professional Engineer (PE), which requires additional experience and passing another exam.

Work Environment

Both engineers and draftsmen work in a variety of environments, depending on the type of project they’re working on. For example, an engineer might work for a construction company to design buildings or structures that meet building codes. They may also work for manufacturing companies to create blueprints for machines and equipment.

In contrast, a draftsman typically works in an office environment where they can use computers to create their drawings. However, some draftsmen work as architects, which means they often travel to different locations to help with projects.


Both engineers and draftsmen use technical skills to complete their work. However, engineers typically have more advanced technical skills than draftsmen. This is because engineers often design products or systems, while draftsmen usually create drawings or plans based on the designs of others.

Both engineers and draftsmen use mathematics to complete their work. However, engineers typically use more advanced mathematics than draftsmen. This is because engineers often need to calculate the load-bearing capacity of structures or the amount of material needed for a project, while draftsmen usually only need to make basic calculations, such as measuring the dimensions of a room.

Both engineers and draftsmen use computer software to complete their work. However, engineers typically use more sophisticated software than draftsmen. This is because engineers often need to use three-dimensional (3D) modeling software to create prototypes of their designs, while draftsmen usually only need to use two-dimensional (2D) drafting software to create plans or drawings.


The average salary for a draftsman is $49,391 per year, while the average salary for an engineer is $89,577 per year. The salary for both positions can vary depending on the type of work you do, your location and your experience level.


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