Architectural Draftsman: Educational Requirements and Career Summary

Research what it takes to become an architectural draftsman or drafter. Learn about the education requirements, job outlook and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Building Information Modeling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does an Architectural Draftsman Do?

Architectural draftsmen use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software to translate architectural and engineering designs into technical plans that include information about construction procedures, design dimensions, materials and structural details. These professionals often specialize in a certain area, such as residential or commercial buildings. They also may focus in a particular medium, like steel or wood. The following chart summarizes essential career information for architectural drafters.

Degree Required Associate's degree
Education Field of Study Architectural drafting, Architectural design technology
Key Skills Knowledge of CADD, building information modeling (BIM) and product data management (PDM) software
Certification Optional American Design Drafting Association certification
Job Growth (2014-2024) -3% for architectural and civil drafters*
Median Salary (2015) $50,710 for architectural and civil drafters*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

Completion of an associate's degree program, available at community colleges and technical institutes, is the usual requirement for obtaining an entry-level architectural drafting position. Relevant degree programs include architectural drafting or architectural design technology. Depending on the program, you may take classes in CADD, design, drafting theory and sketching. High school coursework in computer graphics and technology, math and science can help you prepare for an associate's program in architectural drafting. Additional skills include attention to detail, as well as the ability to meet deadlines, manage your time and work well with others.

Career Advancement

Architectural drafters can also continue their education by earning a 4-year degree and taking additional courses in architecture, engineering and math. Although not required, a voluntary certification from the American Design Drafting Association can help to demonstrate your knowledge of drafting ( The certification test does not include topics in software.

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for architectural and civil drafters were expected to decrease by three percent between the years of 2014 and 2024 ( If you want to pursue a job in drafting you are likely to have the best job opportunities with a solid educational background and BIM experience. As of May 2015, architectural and civil drafters earned a median annual wage of $50,710.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related careers include electrical and electronics engineering technicians, electro-mechanical technicians and mechanical engineering technicians. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians design and test devices such as computers and communications equipment. Electro-mechanical technicians test and maintain related equipment. Mechanical engineering technicians manufacture devices like tools and engines. All of these careers also require an associate's degree.

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