A drafter/designer uses modern tools such as AudoCAD and other 3D modeling software to create models of all different kinds of structures and objects, and create and modify these drawings in comfortable but fast-paced office environments. This position is generally employed by engineering and design firms, but jobs also exist within construction companies and other types of contracting firms.
These drafters contribute ideas during the design phase and receive input and feedback in order to polish their drafts into finished designs and drawings, so they must be excellent team players and able to take regular constructive criticism. They must also have a strong understanding of the materials and finished products with which they'll be working. For instance, positions may vary from electrical engineering design to structural design, with emphasis on either functional or aesthetic aspects of the finished product.
Positions in this field typically require at least a few years of prior experience. There are positions available for experienced workers without advanced degrees, but post-secondary study is certainly beneficial for prospective candidates. The minimum for most jobs is an associate’s degree and commensurate experience, but some positions require advanced bachelor’s degrees in engineering combined with experience.
Most positions work during normal business hours, but overtime is certainly a possibility. The average salary for a designer/drafter in the United States is about $48,000 annually. Lower-end and entry-level positions start at around $30,000 annually, and higher-level jobs for experienced draftsmen can pay upwards of $100,000 per year. This is an excellent field for those who are creative-minded, yet able to work within precise constraints and on tight schedules.
Drafter Design Tasks
- Revise and redraw as required, production drawings of existing standard products.
- Produce CAD models and detail drawings of new products.
- Participate in design of new products in cooperation with a design team consisting of engineers, other designers and lab technicians.
- Use and apply company drafting standards.