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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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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)
Duties + 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


Architectural Visualization Certificate

Community College of Philadelphia
Philadelphia (0.0 Miles)

CNC Machinist Technology Certificate

Tarrant County College District
Fort Worth (0.0 Miles)
Central Community College logo

Drafting and Design Technology, A.A.S.

Central Community College
Grand Island (0.0 Miles)

Industrial Technology Certificate

Heartland Community College
Normal (0.0 Miles)

Drafting Option Certificate of Achievement

San Diego City College
San Diego (0.0 Miles)

Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

Manchester Community College (CT)
Manchester (0.0 Miles)

Drafting Technology, A.A.S

Atlanta Technical College
Atlanta (0.0 Miles)

Computer Aided Drafter Certificate

Cochise College
Sierra Vista (0.0 Miles)

Architectural Technology, A.A.

Los Angeles Trade-Technical College
Los Angeles (0.0 Miles)

CAD for the Building Professional Certificate

Montgomery College
Rockville (0.0 Miles)

Architectural Engineering Technology, A.A.S.

Luzerne County Community College
Nanticoke (0.0 Miles)

Mechanical Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing Specialization Level 1 Certificate

Austin Community College District
Austin (0.0 Miles)
Meet Ambassador
Coby Godfrey
Coby Godfrey, architectural drafter, stands in front of a mantle
Meet Ambassador
Coby Godfrey

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 Type Jobs

Find Architectural Drafter Jobs in Your Area


System Integrator/CADD Operator

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