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What Does an Architectural Drafter Do?

If you’re a problem-solver with a creative streak, here’s a career path to consider. Architectural drafters use computer-aided design (CAD) software to transform designs into technical drawings. They work with architects and engineers and generally specialize in architectural, civil or mechanical drafting.

Drafters, also sometimes called CAD operators, create technical drawings that pull together all the needed information about how to build a structure or machine. Some use building information modeling (BIM) software that creates 3D models.

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$ 33,000 - $ 82,000
$ 56,000
9,380+
An architectural drafter uses computer-aided drafting (CAD) software to review drawings
An architectural drafter uses computer-aided drafting (CAD) software to create the drawings that make an architect’s vision a reality. (Credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock)
A Day In the Life
Image
Coby Godfrey, architectural drafter, stands in front of a mantle
A Day In the Life

Coby Godfrey always had an appreciation for architecture. 

"I had a desire to be a fully licensed architect but started college in my 30s so the full architecture program wasn’t in the cards." Instead, he got an associate degree, and that turned out to be a great move.

The residential design and draftsman stays busy. Because the company he works for is small, team members wear many hats in a given day, from drafting to on-site measurements to drawing contracts. It's a role that is ever-changing yet still fulfilling.

"I don’t just design buildings," says Coby. "I design places where people will live their lives and raise their children — and that matters to me."
 

Job Responsibilities
  • Design plans using traditional drafting methods or computer-aided design (CAD)
  • Translate specifications created by engineers and architects into a plan
  • Add details based on knowledge of building techniques, building codes and site requirements
  • Spell out type and amount of needed materials
  • Prepare cost estimates
Education + Training

High school graduates who want to be architectural drafters typically earn an associate of applied science in drafting or a related degree from a community college or technical school. Others go through a certificate program. Both programs include instruction in design fundamentals, sketching and CAD software. An associate degree generally requires about two years of full-time education. Certificate programs vary in length but generally require less time to complete than an associate degree. Students frequently specialize in a particular type of drafting, such as mechanical, civil or architectural drafting.

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You
  • Are creative
  • Are detail-oriented
  • Have excellent interpersonal skills
  • Are good at math
  • Have strong computer skills
  • Work well on a deadline

Architectural Drafter Training in Your Area

Coordinates

Drafting and Design Engineering Technology, A.A.S.

Tulsa Community College
Tulsa (68.8 Miles)

Drafting and Design Engineering Technology Certificate

Tulsa Community College
Tulsa (68.8 Miles)

Engineering Technology-Drafting Certificate

Butler Community College
El Dorado (81.0 Miles)

CAD Architecture Design Certificate

NorthWest Arkansas Community College
Bentonville (99.2 Miles)

CAD and Design Architecture Certificate

NorthWest Arkansas Community College
Bentonville (99.2 Miles)

Computer Aided Design Option Mechanical, A.A.S.

NorthWest Arkansas Community College
Bentonville (99.2 Miles)

CAD Mechanical Design Certificate

NorthWest Arkansas Community College
Bentonville (99.2 Miles)

Computer-Aided Drafting Design Program- Architectural Design, A.A.S.

NorthWest Arkansas Community College
Bentonville (99.2 Miles)

Engineering Graphics & Design Drafting Technologies, A.A.S.

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology
Okmulgee (101.9 Miles)

Drafting and Design Technology, A.A.S.

Ozarks Technical Community College
Springfield (134.2 Miles)

Drafting and Design Technology Certificate

Ozarks Technical Community College
Springfield (134.2 Miles)

Drafting Technology, A.A.S.

Johnson County Community College
Overland Park (137.5 Miles)

Find Architectural Drafter Jobs in Your Area

Coordinates

Digital Drafter (AutoCAD) Intern

Lockheed Martin Corporation
Stratford ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 3 weeks ago

Visualization Intern (Independent Contractor)

Wolfram
Remote ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 1 week ago

CAD Operator/Draftsman (Entry level)

Skyline Corporation
Arkansas City ( 72.5 ) Miles
Posted 2 months ago

Computer Aided Drafting & Design Specialist

State of Oklahoma
Oklahoma City ( 145.6 ) Miles
Posted 4 days 20 hours ago

Computer Aided Drafting & Design Specialist IV

State of Oklahoma
Oklahoma City ( 145.6 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 3 weeks ago

Computer Aided Drafting & Design Specialist II

State of Oklahoma
Oklahoma City ( 145.6 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 3 weeks ago

Computer Aided Drafting & Design Specialist II

State of Oklahoma
Oklahoma City ( 145.6 ) Miles
Posted 4 days 20 hours ago

Computer Aided Drafting & Design Specialist

State of Oklahoma
Oklahoma City ( 145.6 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 3 weeks ago