Blueprints are the technical drawings created for the construction and manufacture of homes, structures and parts. Blueprints use highly specialized symbols and designations that tell builders, machinists, welders, engineers and others exactly what materials must be used and how items are put together. They help to coordinate the work of many kinds of workers to fabricate a finished structure or piece. Learning to read these blueprints is a required skill in many types of construction and manufacturing fields.
How to Become a Blueprint Reader
Speak with your employer. Many companies offer tuition reimbursement for classes that relate to your job. If learning to read blueprints would increase your value to them as an employee, either now or in the future, you may be eligible for reimbursement. Find out if your company has a reimbursement policy or if they are willing to pay for all or a portion of your training for blueprint reading. They may also have a list of preferred training schools that specialize in your industry.
Contact your local vocational schools and community colleges. Many technical and vocational schools offer blueprint reading classes in conjunction with industrial technology or construction technology courses, such as those offered at Orange Coast College. Many community colleges and specialized training schools offer blueprint reading, the latter of which may offer evening professional development programs. Some of these schools hold classes at the place of employment and must be arranged through the employer.
Complete the blueprint reading coursework. Blueprint reading classes cover basic topics such as introduction to the blueprint, dimensioning, sectional views, welding symbols, electrical circuits, piping, hydraulics and pneumatics, sheet metal topics, tolerancing and sketching, according to Workforcedevelopment.com.
Get a record of your passing grade or certificate. Submit the proper paperwork to your employer for reimbursement, if applicable. Make copies of the original to include with your resume when seeking new employment opportunities. Keep the original in your records.
You can also find blueprint reading courses online that you can take from the comfort of your own home and at your own pace, such as those offered at UniversalClass.com. These cover the basic aspects of blueprint reading and can be a good way to get additional training without traveling or scheduling issues. Ask your employer’s human resources department if these qualify for tuition reimbursement upon completion.
Always check the credentials of the school that offers blueprint reading training.