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a draftsman using a computer aided design system Drafters are responsible for preparing the drawing and plans that are used to build and manufacture just about everything we use, from homes, schools, and other buildings to toys, machinery, cars, and household products.  Drafters' drawings provide others a visual framework when it comes to building a structure or product, and include dimensions, materials, and procedures.  Traditionally, drafting tools comprised pencils, pens, protractors, and compasses that allowed drawings to be done by hand.  Today's drafters use computer systems called Computer Aided Design, or CAD, systems.  Some drafters have specialties, such as architectural drafting, electrical drafting, civil drafting, electronics drafting, or mechanical drafting, while others do work in several areas.

The education requirements of a drafter include postsecondary training received at colleges and universities, community colleges, and technical centers.  Most drafters also study computer science, math, computer graphics, and design.  Because different specialties have different requirements, it's important to look at programs carefully to determine what program will best suit your needs.  As a general rule of thumb, community colleges offer a more general education, while technical centers offer coursework specific to certain specialties.  Drafters can obtain certification through the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA).  While certification is not necessary to work as a drafter, employers often look favorably upon it.

The work environment is typically a well-lit office setting.  Drafters may spend a majority of their time sitting at computer stations or at drafting tables.

In addition to having the correct education and certification, drafters must have excellent fine motor skills, good eyesight, and mechanical aptitude.  They should be skilled in doing detailed drawings, as well as with working on the computer.  Drafters work with a variety of professionals such as engineers, manufacturers, builders, designers, and architects, so they should have excellent communication skills and be able to work well as part of a team.

Job opportunities in drafting are tied to the building trades, as well as to manufacturing, engineering, and electronics.  Those with advanced degrees and certification will be more competitive than those without these things.

Computer Aided Design in each State and Washington, DC


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About Computer Aided Design and Drafting Jobs