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 working diagrams of machinery and mechanical devices, including dimensions, fastening methods, and other engineering information.
On the job, you would:
Develop detailed design drawings and specifications for mechanical equipment, dies, tools, and controls, using computer-assisted drafting (CAD) equipment.
Produce three-dimensional models, using computer-aided design (CAD) software.
Lay out and draw schematic, orthographic, or angle views to depict functional relationships of components, assemblies, systems, and machines.
Engineering and Technology
product and service development
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
Manufactured or Agricultural Goods
manufacture and distribution of products
figuring out how to use new ideas or things
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
communicate by speaking
communicate by writing
Ideas and Logic
come up with lots of ideas
create new and original ideas
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
Graphics or photo imaging software
Adobe Systems Adobe After Effects
Trimble SketchUp Pro
associate's degree or bachelor's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.