Architectural Drafting and Design - CAD

If you like drawing and using computers and are interested in buildings and structures, a career as an architectural drafter and design specialist might be right for you. Read on to learn more about education and employment for professionals who use computer-aided design technology (CAD).

Is Architectural Drafting and Design for Me?

Career Overview

Architects and architectural drafters use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create drawings and blueprints for buildings. Architectural drafters often specialize in designing a specific type of structure. Proficiency in the use of computers and CAD software is key to working in the field. Architectural drafters should also have a strong background in mathematics and an understanding of construction methods.

Career Options

A career in architectural drafting may lead to a position as a manager or senior drafter. With additional training and education, you may also become an architectural engineer.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), minimal or no change in employment of architectural and civil drafters nationwide was expected from 2012-2022. In this specialized area, competition for jobs was projected to be strong. In May 2013, the BLS reported that architectural and civil drafters had a median annual income of $48,800 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work as an Architectural CAD Drafter?

Certificate Programs

Knowing how to use CAD is one of the most important aspects of working as an architectural CAD drafter. Certificate programs in CAD can teach you about construction codes and methods, how to make 2-D and 3-D drawings and how to use AutoCAD commands. CAD certificate program can include courses in residential architecture, construction management and AutoCAD.

Associate's Degree Programs

An associate's degree in CAD or architectural drafting usually takes two years to complete. Once enrolled, you'll learn how to use CAD software to render designs of buildings and their construction-related systems. Courses in electrical systems, commercial drafting and trigonometry are often found in an associate's degree program.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Most universities do not offer 4-year programs in architectural drafting, but a bachelor's degree in architectural engineering can be useful if you want to become an architectural engineer. Advanced coursework may include topics in calculus, architectural appreciation and thermodynamics. You might also pursue a specialization in architectural lighting, steel design and structural dynamics.

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