Drafters are assigned to draw or sketch materials other people build or create. Drafters usually draw intricate drawings with calculated specifications. For example, they detail the dimensions of a car, how big the doors should be, how long and wide its hood should be etc. Most drafters use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) greatly facilitating their work by making modifications to their work less cumbersome. Drafters work in the aerospace industry drawing, missiles, rockets or jets; architecture drafters draw buildings or houses; civil drafters draw bridges, highways or dams; electrical drafters draw electrical equipment and materials; electronic drafters draw electronic parts or equipments; mechanical drafters draw machinery and pipeline drafters drawing pipes and tubes oil, gas and chemical pipes.
Aeronautical drafters make drawings that include the intricacies, dimensions and specifications of aircrafts, missiles, rockets or satellites and their parts. Architectural drafters, apart from drawing buildings and houses, may specify and recommend the kinds of materials to use in the edifices. Civil drafters consider terrain, location and weather when drawing the infrastructure to use for the project. Electrical drafters also draw layout diagrams to follow besides drawing the equipment and wires. They usually work in power plants or telecommunications centers. They draft transistors, resistors, motherboards, circuit board diagrams, schematics, and layout drawings for integrated circuits for all electronic parts, components and equipments. Mechanical drafters draw models of cars, trucks and other vehicles, indicating specifications and dimensions. The also draw various types of machineries for various types industry. Process piping or pipeline drafters works on pipe design for the construction of oil refineries and rigs, water desalinization plants and chemical plants.
Education and Training Requirements
A high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement for drafters. However, employers usually select applicants who have training at technical institutes or community colleges and have associate degrees related to the job, or better yet, those with bachelor’s degrees in engineering or architecture.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements
To become an effective drafter, one must have mechanical and artistic ability, visual aptitude, interpersonal skills, written and verbal communication skills, advanced computer skills, and the ability to work independently and as part of a team.
Drafters work in well-lit, quiet and comfortable offices. Due to long computer work, they are susceptible to eye and back strain, hand and wrist discomfort, not to mention carpal tunnel syndrome. They work a regular 40-hour week schedule.
A drafter makes $43,000 annually on average. Factors such as size of company, location, nature of the industry, benefits and experience may cause salaries to vary considerably among drafters.