Drafters prepare technical drawings and plans, which are used to build everything from manufactured products such as toys, toasters, industrial machinery, and spacecraft to structures such as houses, office buildings, and oil and gas pipelines.
In the past, drafters sat at drawing boards and prepared a drawing by hand. Now, most drafters use Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) systems to prepare drawings. Drafters can create and store drawings electronically so that they can be viewed, printed, or programmed directly into automated manufacturing systems. CADD systems also permit drafters to quickly prepare variations of a design.
Mechanical ability and visual aptitude are important for drafters. Prospective drafters should be able to draw well and perform detailed work accurately and neatly. Artistic ability is helpful in some specialized fields, as is knowledge of manufacturing and construction methods. In addition, prospective drafters should have good interpersonal skills because they work closely with engineers, surveyors, architects, and other professionals and, sometimes, with customers.
Careers and Job Outlook
Drafters’ earnings vary by specialty, location, and level of responsibility.
State of Michigan average yearly earnings: $35,890
Source: Michigan Department of Career Development, 2010 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
The national median pay of a drafter is $47,880 per year.
Source: 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at www.bls.gov/ooh
Find Out More
Have questions or want more information about CAD? Contact:
CAD program coordinator