Civil Engineering Drafting

Drafters who work in civil engineering utilize computer-aided design and drafting software to create structural drawings. Read on for more information about career outlook, potential earnings, degree programs and professional certification.

Is Civil Engineering Drafting for Me?

Career Summary

A career in civil engineering drafting involves making detailed drawings of large structures, such as bridges, buildings, sewer systems and highways. These drawings are then used by the construction professionals who build these structures. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some drafters use pencils and traditional drafting tools to design, but most civil engineering drafters use computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) software in order to create their plans (

Job Possibilities

If you're interested in civil engineering drafting, you can begin to take classes while in high school, but most drafting companies prefer to hire applicants who have completed a drafting program in a vocational school or college-level institution. As a professional in drafting, you might have job titles like computer-aided design (CAD) operator, CADD drafter, drafting technician, draftsman or draftsperson. Working in civil engineering drafting, you might work as a civil CAD technician or designer.

Employment Outlook and Salary Data

According to the BLS, civil drafters who have at least two years of formal education have more opportunities for employment. Also, employment of architectural drafters and civil drafters is not expected to grow much between 2012 and 2022, mostly due to advancements in computer drafting technology. In May 2013, the BLS reported that architectural drafters and civil drafters earned an average annual salary of $51,250.

How Do I Work in Civil Engineering Drafting?

Education Programs

You can start your formal training by enrolling in an undergraduate certificate or associate degree program in an area such as drafting technology or design and drafting. These types of programs are offered through 2-year educational institutions and can include courses that focus specifically on civil engineering drafting. Through these programs, you'll also study technical drawing, (CAD) drafting, civil design and other related courses. You might also explore surveying techniques, since this is a big part of evaluating construction sites. Distance learning options may also be available, including online drafting courses or online drafting degree programs.


You can gain voluntary certification through the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA). The ADDA offers its Certified Design Drafter credential with a specialization in civil drafting. To acquire this credential, you'll need to pass the appropriate examination. Becoming certified provides recognition of your expertise in civil drafting, which can also lead to increased employment opportunities.

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