Drafters create the guidelines of how a structure should be built. They work closely with engineers and construction workers in order to ensure that their work is structurally sound and that the projects will be safe to use. In some cases, drafters complete their work by hand and in other cases, they may use Computer-Aided Design and Drafting programs, also known as CADD.
Civil drafters make drawings that are used for infrastructure projects such as bridges, pipelines, highways and sewer systems. In addition, civil drafters prepare relief maps and topographical maps that are used by engineers and construction professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for civil drafters drafters was $44,490 per year in May 2008.
Mechanical drafters prepare drawings that are used to create mechanical products, such as automobile parts, tools and machines. When drafters make these type of plans, they include information on the dimensions of mechanical products and the way they should be assembled. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for mechanical drafters was $46,640 per year in May 2008.
Architectural drafters make drawings that are used in construction projects. Their work is used to build locations such as private homes, school buildings, factories, office buildings and shopping centers. In order to complete these projects, architectural drafters take the ideas from engineers, architects or designers and use that information to develop the plans for a structure and details about how the construction should be completed. Drafters also may check the drawings for mistakes and make corrections to the plans. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for architectural drafters was $44,490 per year in May 2008.
Aeronautical drafters prepare the drawings that are used to manufacture airborne vehicles such as airplanes, missiles and helicopters. These drafters collaborate with engineers and use their feedback to make corrections to their drawings to ensure that the designs are approved. According to PayScale.com, aeronautical drafters earned between $45,201 and $77,149 per year in August 2010.
Marine drafters make the drawings that are used to manufacture ships, yachts and marine structures. This work includes creating a marine vehicle’s floor plan, as well as information about where the electrical systems and plumbing will be located.
Electrical drafters work closely with engineers to create drawings and diagrams that are used for the electrical wiring of structures, such as power plants, communication centers and buildings. Their work includes visiting the locations of the structures and creating rough sketches; preparing the specifications of the project, including the stress factors, weight and volumes involved; and ensuring that the electrical wiring is compliant with applicable regulations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for electrical drafters was $51,320 per year in May 2008.