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 designs and plans for buildings and structures according to specifications provided by architect.
On the job, you would:
Operate computer-aided drafting (CAD) equipment or conventional drafting station to produce designs, working drawings, charts, forms, and records.
Coordinate structural, electrical, and mechanical designs and determine a method of presentation to graphically represent building plans.
Analyze building codes, by-laws, space and site requirements, and other technical documents and reports to determine their effect on architectural designs.
Engineering and Technology
building and construction
Safety and Government
public safety and security
law and government
Arts and Humanities
sales and marketing
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
People and Technology Systems
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
listen and understand what people say
communicate by speaking
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
use rules to solve problems
see hidden patterns
quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
People interested in this work like activities that include creating, designing, and making your own rules.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Computer aided design CAD software
Trimble SketchUp Pro
Graphics or photo imaging software
Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
Development environment software
Microsoft .NET Framework
bachelor's degree or master's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.