Drafters turn designs for buildings, bridges, and gadgets into fully realized drawings that can be manufactured and built. Drafters use computer-aided design software to convert the sketches and specifications made by architects and engineers into technical drawings. They typically specialize in one area: Architectural drafters draw architectural and structural features of buildings for construction projects. These workers may specialize in a type of building, or in a particular type of material, such as steel or reinforced concrete. Civil drafters prepare topographical maps used in construction and civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, and flood-control projects. Electrical drafters create wiring diagrams that other workers use to install and repair electrical equipment and wiring in power plants, electrical distribution systems, and residential and commercial buildings. Electronics drafters produce wiring diagrams, assembly diagrams for circuit boards, and layout drawings used in manufacturing and to install and repair electronic devices. Mechanical drafters prepare detailed layouts for a wide variety of machinery and mechanical tools and devices. These layouts indicate requirements needed for assembly. Although drafters spend much of their time working on computers in an office, some visit jobsites to collaborate with architects and engineers. Most drafters work full time. Drafters generally need to complete a certificate or associate’s degree at a technical institute or community college.
What they do:
Prepare detailed drawings of architectural and structural features of buildings or drawings and topographical relief maps used in civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, and public works. Use knowledge of building materials, engineering practices, and mathematics to complete drawings.
On the job, you would:
Produce drawings, using computer-assisted drafting systems (CAD) or drafting machines, or by hand, using compasses, dividers, protractors, triangles, and other drafting devices.
Draft plans and detailed drawings for structures, installations, and construction projects, such as highways, sewage disposal systems, and dikes, working from sketches or notes.
Coordinate structural, electrical, and mechanical designs and determine a method of presentation to graphically represent building plans.
Engineering and Technology
building and construction
Arts and Humanities
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Safety and Government
public safety and security
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
listen and understand what people say
read and understand what is written
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
order or arrange things
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Computer aided design CAD software
Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D
Trimble SketchUp Pro
Graphics or photo imaging software
Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.