Mechanical Drafter Job Description
What do Mechanical Drafters do?
Mechanical drafters use computer aided design (CADD) software to prepare technical drawings of machinery and other mechanical devices.
The mechanical devices themselves are designed by engineers. Drafters take their designs and create drawings that indicate how a mechanical component should be assembled, or how a mechanical system operates.
Mechanical drafters have to take a lot of time to understand how machinery works, so they can accurately describe the assembly and operational processes. This often requires collaborating with engineers and other specialists.
Over time, many mechanical drafters end up specializing with one particular type of machinery. As an example, a drafter may develop a deep knowledge of how car engines work, and spend his entire career drafting that type of machinery.
Work Environment and Schedule
Mechanical drafters spend most of their time working in front of a computer in an office environment. They work in just about industry that deals with mechanical engineering, but some of the most common environments include engineering and architecture firms, machinery manufacturing, and transportation equipment manufacturing.
Most mechanical drafters work full time, but the schedule demands vary depending on the position. For instance, a drafter who works for an engineering firm may work long hours to meet deadlines, while one who works for a small manufacturer may be able to keep a very regular schedule.
How to Become a Mechanical Drafter
If you want to become a mechanical drafter, the best way to enter the occupation is to earn an associate’s degree in drafting from a community college or technical institute. A bachelor’s degree is rarely required, but is necessary to qualify for more advanced positions in management or architecture.
When considering a technical institute or community college, it’s highly recommended that you choose an accredited school. If the school is accredited, many of the credits may transfer to a four year school later on if that’s a path you want to pursue.
Employers don’t often require a certification in drafting, but having one can help you stand out from other applicants. The American Design Drafting Association offers a widely recognized certification.
There are currently 78,660 mechanical drafters in the United States, with 1,690 new mechanical drafter job openings created each year.
Mechanical Drafter jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Mechanical Drafter Salaries
Mechanical Drafter salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most mechanical drafters make between $38,800 – $60,700 per year, or $18.65 – $29.17 per hour.