Approximately 199,900 drafters are employed in the United States, with about 49 percent employed by architectural, engineering, and related services firms that design construction projects. Others work in manufacturing, in automotive or aerospace design, for heavy equipment manufacturers—almost anywhere where the end product must meet precise specifications. Still other drafters work for transportation, communications, or utilities companies, or for local, state, or federal agencies. If a student has a particular interest in almost any field plus a desire to become a drafter, chances are good that he or she can find a job that will combine the two.
Beginning drafters generally have graduated from a postsecondary program at a technical institute or junior college. Skill certification through the American Design Drafting Association/American Digital Design Association may be advantageous. Applicants for government positions may need to take a civil service examination. Students with some formal postsecondary technical training often qualify for positions as junior drafters or drafting technicians, who revise detail drawings and then gradually assume drawing assignments of a more complex nature.
With additional experience and skill, beginning drafters become checkers, detailers, design drafters, or senior or chief drafters. Movement from one to another of these job classifications is not restricted; each business modifies work assignments based on its own needs. Drafters often move into related positions. Some typical positions include technical report writers, sales engineers, engineering assistants, production foremen, and installation technicians.
Become certified by the American Design Drafting Association in order to show employers that you have met the highest standards established by your industry.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
As a student, gain experience by volunteering or completing an internship at a firm that employs drafters.