What Is the Salary of a Drafting Engineer?

Drafting engineers, also called drafters, use their engineering skills to draw up the outlines for various architectural, electrical and mechanical projects. Read on to learn the salaries of different types of drafting engineers. Schools offering Building Information Modeling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Options

Drafting engineers use drawings, sketches and computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) programs to produce the blueprints needed to construct buildings and products. If you choose to enter this field, you can become a civil and architectural drafter, an electrical and electronics drafter or a mechanical drafter. Your salary will vary depending on which specialization you choose.

Important Facts About Drafting Engineers

Required Education Associate's degree
Professional Certification Available through the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA)
Key Skills Attention to detail, critical and technical thinking, interpersonal, mathematical foundation, time management
Similar Occupations Architects, civil engineering technicians, electrical and electronics engineering technicians, industrial designers, landscape architects, mechanical engineers, surveyors

Architectural and Civil Drafters

A civil or architectural drafter aids in the creation of a number of civil engineering projects. If you enter this career, you can help construct roads, bridges, houses and city buildings. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that these professionals earned an average wage of $52,480 in May 2014 (www.bls.gov). The bottom ten percent of architectural and civil drafters earned $32,820 or less per year, while the top ten percent of professionals made $75,650 or more a year.

Salary by Industry

Most architectural and civil drafters were employed by architectural or engineering services and made an average yearly wage of $51,890 as of May 2014, according to BLS statistics. Local governments were also popular employers for drafters and paid them a higher average annual salary of $59,880.

Salary by Location

The BLS reported that California, which offered an average wage of $59,100, had the highest architectural and civil drafter employment level in May 2014. Rhode Island, which had a much lower employment level, offered the highest average salary of $60,460. The lowest-paid workers earned between $28,980 and $46,930 on average. They worked in locations that included Idaho, West Virginia, Vermont and Nebraska.

Electrical and Electronics Drafters

If you become an electrical or electronics drafter, you'll help design the electrical wiring systems needed for buildings, devices or tools. According to BLS statistics from May 2014, the average salary for these professionals was $62,040. The bottom ten percent of electrical and electronics drafters made $36,130 or less per year, while the top ten percent of professionals earned $93,250 or more annually.

Salary by Industry

The BLS reported that most electrical and electronics drafters worked for architectural and engineering services and made a mean yearly wage of $61,150, as of May 2014. Building equipment contractors were also common employers, paying professionals an average salary of $60,380 per year.

Salary by Location

California, which had the highest electrical and electronics drafter employment level in May 2014, offered professionals an average wage of $63,000, according to the BLS. Washington, on the other hand, offered the highest average wage of $75,990. Arkansas, Montana and West Virginia were some of the states with the lowest average earnings, which ranged from $31,070-$53,780.

Mechanical Drafters

Mechanical drafters help plan the production of various pieces of machinery, such as cars, tools and household products. If you're interested in this job, the BLS stated that the average salary was $55,260 in May 2014. The 10th-90th percentile salary range for mechanical drafters was $33,510-$82,610 per year.

Salary by Industry

As with the other drafting occupations, most mechanical drafters were employed by architectural or engineering services. The BLS reported that these workers made an average yearly salary of $58,450 as of May 2014. Many also worked in the architectural and structural metals manufacturing industry and earned a mean wage of $48,980 annually.

Salary by Location

According to the BLS, Texas had the highest mechanical drafter employment level in May 2014 and offered these professionals an average wage of $63,510. Washington offered the highest average wage of $71,570. Ohio, Nevada, Mississippi and Wyoming were included in the lowest-paying states, with average salaries ranging from $31,610-$49,370.

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