Drafters are responsible for creating technical drawings used by construction workers to build products or structures, such as buildings or aircrafts. They may specialize in a specific area, such as aeronautics, pipelines or electronics. Drafters who have previous experience or technical training have the best employment opportunities, and salaries vary according the employer and specialization. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, architectural and civil drafters earned a median annual wage of $44,490, as of May 2008. Mechanical drafters earned a median wage of $46,640 and electrical and electronics drafters earned a median wage of $47,910.
Obtain a high school diploma or GED. High school students interested in this career should take courses in computer technology and design to help prepare them for a career as a draftsman.
Obtain a college degree. Many employers will accept a diploma from a vocational school or technical institute available at most local colleges. Many institutions also offer an associate degree accepted by many employers, along with a certification. Individuals may also obtain a bachelor’s degree that will lead to better employment opportunities. Most individuals pursue degrees in engineering, architecture or mathematics that will help them acquire skills that are necessary to work as a draftsman. Architecture courses include Autocad and other courses that teach students to decipher technical drawings. Ensure that the school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.
Obtain certification. Certification for draftsmen is offered from the American Design Drafting Association. Most employers don’t require draftsmen to be certified, but becoming certified can increase job opportunities. Becoming certified requires individuals pass a Drafter Certification Test facilitated at ADDA approved locations available in many cities. Individuals may register by visiting the ADDA’s web site. The exam covers the individual’s knowledge of geometric construction, working drawings, architecture terms and other drafting concepts. After becoming certified, the certification is good for five years before renewing it.
Search for employment. Upload a professional resume to employment websites, such as Caddraftsman.com, that allow employers searching for potential draftsmen to locate you based on your skills and experience. You may also search for jobs according to specialization.
Draftsmen must have good communication skills that help them interact with engineers, surveyors, architects and other employees when preparing drawings. Draftsmen must have good mathematical skills required in providing accurate measurements for technical drawings. Draftsmen can advance into positions, such as engineers, technicians or architects after gaining experience.