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Career profile Architectural Drafter

Also known as Architectural Designer, Architectural Drafter, Architectural Draftsman, Civil Drafter, Computer-Aided Design Designer (CAD Designer), Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Drafter (CADD Drafter), Computer-Aided Drafting Designer (CAD Designer), Drafting Technician, Draftsman, Draftsperson

Architectural Drafter

Also known as Architectural Designer, Architectural Drafter, Architectural Draftsman

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Artistic
Pay Range
$36,590 - $83,740 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Critical Thinking
  • Reading Comprehension
Knowledge Areas
  • Design
  • Building and Construction
  • Engineering and Technology
Core tasks
  • Review rough sketches, drawings, specifications, and other engineering data to ensure that they conform to design concepts.
  • Represent architect or engineer on construction site, ensuring builder compliance with design specifications and advising on design corrections, under supervision.
  • Prepare cost estimates, contracts, bidding documents, and technical reports for specific projects under an architect's or engineer's supervision.
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What does an Architectural Drafter do?

Architectural Drafters prepare detailed drawings of architectural and structural features of buildings or drawings and topographical relief maps used in civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, and public works.

In addition, Architectural Drafters use knowledge of building materials, engineering practices, and mathematics to complete drawings.

What kind of tasks does an Architectural Drafter perform regularly?

Architectural Drafters are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Produce drawings, using computer-assisted drafting systems (CAD) or drafting machines, or by hand, using compasses, dividers, protractors, triangles, and other drafting devices.
  • Draft plans and detailed drawings for structures, installations, and construction projects, such as highways, sewage disposal systems, and dikes, working from sketches or notes.
  • Coordinate structural, electrical, and mechanical designs and determine a method of presentation to graphically represent building plans.
  • Analyze building codes, by-laws, space and site requirements, and other technical documents and reports to determine their effect on architectural designs.
  • Draw maps, diagrams, and profiles, using cross-sections and surveys, to represent elevations, topographical contours, subsurface formations, and structures.
  • Lay out and plan interior room arrangements for commercial buildings, using computer-assisted drafting (CAD) equipment and software.
  • Supervise and train other technologists, technicians, and drafters.
  • Determine the order of work and method of presentation, such as orthographic or isometric drawing.
  • Finish and duplicate drawings and documentation packages according to required mediums and specifications for reproduction, using blueprinting, photography, or other duplicating methods.
  • Draw rough and detailed scale plans for foundations, buildings, and structures, based on preliminary concepts, sketches, engineering calculations, specification sheets, and other data.
  • Correlate, interpret, and modify data obtained from topographical surveys, well logs, and geophysical prospecting reports.
  • Check dimensions of materials to be used and assign numbers to the materials.
  • Determine procedures and instructions to be followed, according to design specifications and quantity of required materials.
  • Supervise or conduct field surveys, inspections, or technical investigations to obtain data required to revise construction drawings.
  • Obtain and assemble data to complete architectural designs, visiting job sites to compile measurements as necessary.
  • Explain drawings to production or construction teams and provide adjustments, as necessary.
  • Locate and identify symbols on topographical surveys to denote geological and geophysical formations or oil field installations.
  • Determine quality, cost, strength, and quantity of required materials, and enter figures on materials lists.
  • Create freehand drawings and lettering to accompany drawings.
  • Calculate excavation tonnage and prepare graphs and fill-hauling diagrams for use in earth-moving operations.
  • Prepare colored drawings of landscape and interior designs for presentation to client.
  • Calculate weights, volumes, and stress factors and their implications for technical aspects of designs.

The above responsibilities are specific to Architectural Drafters. More generally, Architectural Drafters are involved in several broader types of activities:

Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

What is an Architectural Drafter salary?

The median salary for an Architectural Drafter is $57,500, and the average salary is $59,120. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Architectural Drafter salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Architectural Drafters earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Architectural Drafters earn less than $36,590 per year, 25% earn less than $45,770, 75% earn less than $70,170, and 90% earn less than $83,740.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Architectural Drafters is expected to change by -0.9%, and there should be roughly 9,300 open positions for Architectural Drafters every year.

Median annual salary
$57,500
Typical salary range
$36,590 - $83,740
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-0.9%

What personality traits are common among Architectural Drafters?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Architectural Drafter are usually higher in their Realistic, Conventional, and Artistic interests.

Architectural Drafters typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Architectural Drafters typically have strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Lastly, Architectural Drafters typically have moderate Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Architectural Drafters typically have moderate Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Architectural Drafter tend to value Support, Working Conditions, and Recognition.

Most importantly, Architectural Drafters moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Architectural Drafters moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Architectural Drafters moderately value Recognition. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Architectural Drafters must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and cooperation.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Architectural Drafters, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

What education and training do Architectural Drafters need?

Architectural Drafters often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Architectural Drafters usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Architectural Drafters

  • 1.7% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 11.1% completed high school or secondary school
  • 20.7% completed some college coursework
  • 31.9% earned a Associate's degree
  • 28.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 5.6% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.7% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Architectural Drafters

Architectural Drafters may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as design, building and construction, or engineering and technology knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Architectural Drafters might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Building and Construction
Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Important Abilities needed by Architectural Drafters

Architectural Drafters must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Architectural Drafters need abilities such as near vision, oral comprehension, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Architectural Drafters, ranked by their relative importance.

Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.

Critical Skills needed by Architectural Drafters

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Architectural Drafters frequently use skills like active listening, critical thinking, and reading comprehension to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Architectural Drafters, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Writing
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.