Drafters are responsible for creating a visual blueprint for an object, and builders then use this blueprint to craft the object. Topics for focus can range from a small piece of machinery to a home to a sprawling city plan. Drafting jobs may include working with an architect on initial building design schemes as an architectural drafter or helping design smaller machines as a mechanical drafter. A drafter may also work on the engineering aspects of a building as a civil drafter or a structural drafter. Prospects may also narrow their focus to computer-aided design (CAD) drafting jobs.
Architectural drafting jobs are perhaps the longest-running and most prolific area for employment. Individuals in this field work closely with architects to compose preliminary designs for buildings. These may include homes or professional buildings like offices, schools, or hospitals. Architects, however, must compose and approve a final draft.
While architectural drafters team mainly with the architect, civil and structural drafters work more closely with engineers. These drafters help with determining mathematical calculations and ensuring the structural integrity of a building or structure. Such individuals create maps and diagrams based on an engineer’s information and also aid the engineers with issues like topography and the building’s inner structure. Civil drafting jobs may be of further assistance for large-scale plans like the development of a new city.
On a smaller level, mechanical drafters work with the designs of machines like manufacturing equipment. These drafters help convert diagrams into readable forms for builders. They also detail the parts and inner connections that will make the machine operable.
A CAD drafter is responsible for taking the ideas and thoughts of others and presenting them as a visual reality via computer technology. As such, the CAD drafter is often known as a concept drafter as well. Computer-oriented drafters will likely stay up to date on revolutionary drafting techniques and be proficient in using computer design programs, such as those that create three-dimensional images.
Individuals will likely need to take a prolonged educational and practical approach to securing drafting jobs. Enrollment in a higher education program, either at a university or a technical school, will generally be needed. Artistic and mathematical ability may also prove valuable. Hands-on experience gained through internships, apprenticeships, or other means can provide further advantage. Once an individual has secured a solid education and gained some experience, employment opportunities may be found in architectural or engineering businesses, or one may pursue private work in freelance drafting jobs.