A drafter takes engineer and architect designs and converts them into technical drawings and plans using software programs. They can specialize in civil, mechanical, architectural, or electrical drafting. Drafters create schematics to be printed, viewed, or programmed directly into (BIM) Building Information Modeling systems and (PDM) Product Data Management systems. These schematics create digital models of machines or buildings.
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How to Become a Drafter
A two year associate’s degree or certification from a community college or trade school is normally required to become employed as a drafter. Trade schools offer courses in sketching, computer aided design and drafting (CADD) software, and design fundamentals. Some graduates with an associate’s degree go on to a four year college in a related field and pick up courses in mathematics, engineering, and architecture.
The American Design Drafting Association (link opens in a new browser) is an international, non-profit organization for drafters and those exploring the career field.
Job Description of a Drafter
Some people may think that drafters mainly create technical drawings for structures, such as bridges, homes, or large commercial buildings. However, drafters create drawings for many different products needing highly technical drawings from toys, industrial machinery, and even spacecraft. This is vital as a drafter’s work is the visual roadmap of a project and outlines all of the details necessary for the object to be constructed.
Due to the technical nature of their work, drafters must be able to specify materials and dimensions for new products and use computer software CADD systems to create and store technical drawings electronically. They use CADD to convert designs engineers and architects provide to them and convert those designs into plans and technical drawings others can work from. They may also add additional detail to the design.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Drafters.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.