March 22, 2021

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Architectural Drafter Jobs – Description, Salary, and Education

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Architectural Drafter Job Description

Architectural drafters work with architects to create detailed drawings of homes, office buildings, and other structures. Their drawings are used by construction workers and contractors to ensure that all parts the buildings they construct match the architect’s specifications.

Since buildings are constructed exactly as drawn, architectural drafters have to create drawings that are very precise and easy to understand. A mistake in the drawing will be reflected in the finished product. Many drafters work on a team with others, and help check each other’s work for accuracy.

In the past, architectural drafters used pencil and paper to create their drawings. Presently, nearly all drafters use computer aided design and drafting (CADD) software in today’s workplace. This software allows them to make changes to their designs with more speed and accuracy than ever before.

Even though CADD software is very efficient and handles many complex calculations, it’s not perfect. Architectural drafters still need a strong foundation in traditional drafting skills to check for accuracy and create complicated designs.

Work Environment and Schedule

Architectural drafters spend most of their time working in offices, where they work closely on projects with architects and other drafters. Occasional visits to construction sites may be required when a drafter needs to collect some information about the land or structure.

Since most architectural drafters use CADD software to create most of their drawings, their days are normally spent sitting in front of a computer.

The working schedule for people in this occupation varies depending on the employer. If employed by an architecture firm that handles many clients, working long hours may be required — especially as deadlines approach.

How to Become an Architectural Drafter

If you want to pursue a career as an architectural drafter, you should consider enrolling in a community college or technical school that offers courses in drafting. Before you enroll, you should ask if you will be taught to use computer aided design and drafting (CADD) software. Knowledge of CAD systems will make it much easier to find employment.

Some employers require their drafters to have a bachelor’s degree in architecture, and fill these positions with future architects who are working as an intern as part of their licensing requirements.

Some architectural drafters choose to become certified. Most employers don’t require a certification, but it can help a candidate stand out a little during the hiring process. Check out the American Design Drafting Association’s website to learn more about the certification process.

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Employment Outlook

There are currently 92,700 architectural drafters in the United States, with 2,090 new architectural drafter job openings created each year.

Architectural Drafter jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.

Architectural Drafter Salaries

Overall Salaries

Architectural Drafter salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most architectural drafters make between $38,400 – $59,500 per year, or $18.47 – $28.60 per hour.

Career as an Architectural Drafter– Description, Income, & Qualification


Architects and engineers make plans, drawings, and documentations for construction of a building, but it is drafter’s job to prepare the final design plans. These include detailed diagrams that show dimensions and other crucial structural details. Without the work architectural drafter do, construction work cannot start. Their job is crucial to the successful construction of any building.

Nowadays, drafters mostly make designs using computer programs, also known as CAD [computer aided design] software. Computer programs allow drafters to make diagrams that contain all the required technical specifications. They can also create 3D model of the whole building or parts of it.

Drafters work closely with engineers and architects. Their job requires them to remain in contact with other technical team members. The use of digital drawing allows them to create accurate design plans.

Work Conditions and Timings

Architectural drafters spend most of their time in designing plans, which they do on computers; hence, they spend most of their time inside offices. Occasionally, they might need to visit constructions sites.

Other than spending time on computer, their job requires them to collaborate with architects, engineers, and in some cases, with construction workers too.


You need a diploma, certificate, or degree in drafting from a technical institute. There are different kinds of technical programs; most of them require you to study for two years.

American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) offer different kinds of certifications. If you are ADDA certified, that will help you land a better job.

Some personal skills can also help you in getting a better job and do your work effectively. For instance, creativity can help you make better designs. To succeed in this field, you must use creativity to make designs/plans that meet all the requirements of the client. Your design needs to match the ideas given by architects, engineers, and the client.

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Job Prospects

Unfortunately, the number of architectural drafter jobs is projected to reduce by seven percent from 2014 to 2024. This is mainly because architects and engineers are using computer programs themselves to do drafter’s work. The ease of using computer based programs is enabling others to do drafters work. However, there are still complicated designs that non-drafters will find hard to build. The need for drafters will remain in future, but we are going to see a small decline in the overall demand for them.


Drafters make a reasonable amount of money. Median annual pay is around $50,000. The lowest paying architectural drafting jobs pay around $33,500.  Overall, drafters make a satisfactory living. Drafting is full-time employment.

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