Steps, Salaries, and Pros & Cons
Are you someone with a passion for design and an eye for detail? If so, a career as an architectural drafter may be perfect for you. Architectural drafters play a critical role in the construction industry by creating detailed drawings and blueprints for buildings, bridges, and other structures. In this blog post, we will discuss the steps to become an architectural drafter, the average wages and job growth prospects, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of this career path.
Steps to Become an Architectural Drafter
- Education: Typically, employers require a minimum of an associate degree in drafting or a related field, such as architecture or engineering. Some technical and community colleges offer specialized programs in architectural drafting. These programs focus on computer-aided design (CAD) software, building codes, materials, and construction methods.
- Certification: Although not always required, obtaining professional certification, such as the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) Drafter Certification, can improve your job prospects and demonstrate your expertise in the field.
- Gain experience: Entry-level positions usually involve working under the supervision of experienced drafters or architects. As you gain experience, you may have the opportunity to work on more complex projects or specialize in specific areas, such as residential or commercial construction.
- Continuous learning: Stay up-to-date with the latest CAD software and industry trends by attending workshops, seminars, and conferences. Networking with other professionals in the field can also help you find job opportunities and advance your career.
Wages and Job Growth
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2020, the median annual wage for architectural and civil drafters was $56,340. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,930, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $82,220. Wages can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and industry.
Employment of architectural and civil drafters is projected to grow 2 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations. Growth in this field may be limited due to advancements in CAD software, which can increase drafter productivity. However, there will still be a need for skilled drafters to convert architects’ and engineers’ designs into technical drawings and blueprints.
Benefits of Becoming an Architectural Drafter
- Creative outlet: Architectural drafting allows you to use your creativity and problem-solving skills to bring building designs to life.
- Diverse projects: Work on a wide range of projects, from residential homes to large commercial buildings and infrastructure projects.
- In-demand skills: CAD proficiency is highly sought after in various industries, providing you with transferable skills and career flexibility.
Drawbacks of Becoming an Architectural Drafter
- Limited job growth: As mentioned earlier, advancements in CAD software may limit job growth in this field.
- Competitive job market: Due to the limited job growth, you may face strong competition for available positions.
- Sedentary work environment: Architectural drafters often spend long hours working at a computer, which can lead to health issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Becoming an architectural drafter can be a fulfilling career path for individuals with a passion for design and strong attention to detail. By obtaining the necessary education, certification, and experience, you can position yourself for success in this field. While there may be some challenges, such as limited job growth and a competitive job market, the opportunity to work on diverse projects and develop in-demand skills makes this career path worth considering.