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What Is a SolidWorks Drafter?

Individuals who work in computer-aided product design (CAD) may be required to produce drafts, blueprints, or plans using SolidWorks software. SolidWorks is a popular design and drafting application, and there are several schools that offer courses that will help prepare you to use this software as part of your profession.

Career Overview

Solidworks drafters have a variety of job titles, such as mechanical drafter, 3-D drafter or CAD SolidWorks operator. You can expect to perform tasks similar to those of a traditional drafter, although the majority of your work will be completed using a computer. You'll be involved with the design and manufacturing of a product from the initial conceptual stage through the final manufacturing and testing stages.

As a SolidWorks drafter, you might create designs for medical devices, agricultural tools, or airplane parts. You might receive a rough, 2-dimensional drawing and use the software to develop it into an automated 3-dimensional blueprint. You will also be able to work back through the history of your design to make changes when they are necessary.

Important Facts about This Occupational Field

Median Salary (2018) $55,920 (for mechanical drafters)
Similar Occupations Civil engineering technicians, electrical engineers and industrial designers (for drafters)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 5% (for mechanical drafters)
Work Environment In offices with computers or at job sites with architects (for drafters)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Software Information

SolidWorks (www.solidworks.com) is a popular type of 2- and 3-dimensional mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD) software used to create realistic blueprints for manufacturing and design projects. Like many design programs, there are different levels of software packages that perform different functions. The professional version of the software allows you to present a 360-degree view of your design, and the most advanced version allows you to perform virtual tests on your design to see how it will stand up to natural forces.

Education

Most drafters receive specialized certificate training or complete an associate's degree program at a community college or technical school. Courses usually cover fundamentals like sketching, computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software and design theory. Program duration varies by institution and some only focus on a particular area of the field, such as mechanical drafting. 4-year colleges and universities typically only offer degrees in engineering, architecture, and mathematics.