Architectural Drafter Job Description
Architectural drafters work with architects to create detailed drawings of homes, office buildings, and other structures. Their drawings are used by construction workers and contractors to ensure that all parts the buildings they construct match the architect's specifications.
Since buildings are constructed exactly as drawn, architectural drafters have to create drawings that are very precise and easy to understand. A mistake in the drawing will be reflected in the finished product. Many drafters work on a team with others, and help check each other's work for accuracy.
In the past, architectural drafters used pencil and paper to create their drawings. Presently, nearly all drafters use computer aided design and drafting (CADD) software in today's workplace. This software allows them to make changes to their designs with more speed and accuracy than ever before.
Even though CADD software is very efficient and handles many complex calculations, it's not perfect. Architectural drafters still need a strong foundation in traditional drafting skills to check for accuracy and create complicated designs.
Work Environment and Schedule
Architectural drafters spend most of their time working in offices, where they work closely on projects with architects and other drafters. Occasional visits to construction sites may be required when a drafter needs to collect some information about the land or structure.
Since most architectural drafters use CADD software to create most of their drawings, their days are normally spent sitting in front of a computer.
The working schedule for people in this occupation varies depending on the employer. If employed by an architecture firm that handles many clients, working long hours may be required -- especially as deadlines approach.
How to Become an Architectural Drafter
If you want to pursue a career as an architectural drafter, you should consider enrolling in a community college or technical school that offers courses in drafting. Before you enroll, you should ask if you will be taught to use computer aided design and drafting (CADD) software. Knowledge of CAD systems will make it much easier to find employment.
Some employers require their drafters to have a bachelor's degree in architecture, and fill these positions with future architects who are working as an intern as part of their licensing requirements.
Some architectural drafters choose to become certified. Most employers don't require a certification, but it can help a candidate stand out a little during the hiring process. Check out the American Design Drafting Association's website to learn more about the certification process.
There are currently architectural drafters in the United States, with new architectural drafter job openings created each year.
Architectural Drafter jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Architectural Drafter Salaries
Salaries by State
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Architectural Drafter salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most architectural drafters make between per year, or per hour.