What Careers Involve Architectural Drafting?

A career in architectural drafting makes good use of drawing skills, and it also requires drafters to be detail-oriented. This article outlines various careers in architectural drafting. Schools offering Building Information Modeling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Careers That Use Architectural Drafting

Architectural drafters use specialized technology to convert the ideas of architects into technical plans that can be followed by a construction crew. However, architects themselves are also competent in drafting technology, as are architectural detailers. In order to learn the particular skill set required for these careers, you might need to attend a technical training program, complete a postsecondary degree or pursue graduate education.

Important Facts About These Careers

Drafters Architects
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 7% increase 4% increase
Median Salary (2018) $55,550 $79,380
Key Skills Time-management, technical, math, and interpersonal skills Visualization, communication, analytical, and organizational skills
Similar Occupations Civil Engineering Technician, Mechanical Engineer, Industrial Designer Construction Manager, Graphic Designer, Urban/Regional Planner

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

CAD Technician

As an architectural drafter or CAD (computer-aided drafting) technician, you'd be responsible for taking preliminary ideas and sketches for a structure and transforming them into detailed plans. You'd need to understand various types of building materials, along with how to survey a building or construction site and how to read blueprints. You'd also be responsible for updating design drawings as a project evolves.

This type of entry-level drafting position is usually found in architectural or engineering firms. In order to work as a CAD technician, you'd need technical training from a community college or vocational school, including courses in CAD technology, architectural drafting, blueprint reading and engineering drafting. You might choose to complete a technical certificate or diploma in AutoCAD technology. Another option that would provide you with additional training for related careers is to complete a 2-year associate's degree in engineering technology.

Architectural Detailer

An architectural detailer specifies the particulars of a layout. Added details are intended to show the methods and materials to use in the actual construction. You may also add dimensions to make the drawing complete and understandable. You would study various construction techniques that use a variety of materials, such as masonry, concrete, steel, brick and wood, as well as how the interior of a building is constructed. It would be your job to add the specifications for the foundation and elevations. This job sometimes dovetails directly with that of a CAD technician or drafter.


An architect is responsible for creating the designs used to build a variety of structures. Part of your role would require you to analyze how a structure would fit into its environment. You might consult with a client and prepare sketches of preliminary designs. Once a design has been approved, you would utilize your drafting skills to create a scale drawing and layout plans. You may also have to periodically update these plans according to a client's wishes.

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