Architecture Draftsman: Job Duties, Occupational Outlook and Education Requirements

Explore the career requirements to be an architecture draftsman. Get the facts about salary, education requirements, and job outlook to determine if this is the right 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 utilize computer-aided design (CAD) software and artistic skills to change architecture and engineering designs into technical drawings. Draftsmen complete designs for things ranging from large buildings to microprocessors.

Learn what the job duties are for an architecture draftsman, and explore projections for future job growth in this field. Find out about education and training requirements, and see what it takes to earn certification from a professional organization.

Degree Required Associate's Degree*
Training Required Typical 2-year programs cover a variety of hands-on topics like working with CAD software, rendering architectural graphics and site planning
Key Skills Using computer-aided design (CAD) systems to produce architectural renderings of commercial buildings, houses and other structures
Job Growth (2014-2024) -3%*
Average Salary (2015) 41,966** (for architectural and civil drafters)

Sources: *BLS.gov, **Salary.com

What Are the Duties of an Architecture Draftsman?

As an architecture draftsman, also commonly called an architectural draftsman, you use computer-aided design (CAD) systems to produce architectural renderings of commercial buildings, houses and other structures. These designs are the guidelines for the construction of a structure, and they have specific dimensions and technical details needed by engineers and architects. An architecture draftsman can specialize in either commercial or residential work, or even in particular building materials, such as brick, steel, concrete or wood. Some drafters also draw freehand, but CAD is the most common tool used by draftsmen.

What Is My Occupational Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) there were 204,400 drafters employed in the U.S. in 2014, and 49% of those positions were architectural, engineering and related services draftsman positions (www.bls.gov). Employment for an architectural draftsmen was expected to be slower than average, at a loss of three percent, during the 2014-2024 decade. You are likely to find the best job opportunities if you have at least two years of post-high school training in the field. Often, individuals with an Associate of Applied Science in Architectural Design and Drafting can find entry-level work assisting architects in design studios. May 2015 data from the BLS reported that drafters earned a median salary of $52,720.

What Education Do I Need?

Training is available at community colleges or technical schools, in addition to some universities. Typical 2-year programs cover a variety of hands-on topics like working with CAD software, rendering architectural graphics and site planning. After earning a diploma, certificate or associate's degree, a graduate can be hired as a draftsman or pursue further education at a 4-year institution. Certification can be earned through the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA), which may provide opportunities for advancement. In order to obtain certification, you must successfully complete an examination. No experiential or educational requirements are needed to take the test (www.adda.org).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Alternatives to drafting include civil and electrical technician jobs. These positions require an associate's degree, and work directly with architects or engineers in design and management. Other related jobs, such as industrial design, mechanical engineering and landscape architecture require a bachelor's.

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