What Do Architectural and Civil Drafters Do?
Architectural and civil drafters provide essential design services for building construction and civil engineering projects. As an architectural or civil drafter, you are responsible for the creation of drawings portraying the structural aspects of buildings and public works projects including the creation of topographical maps of the area and the grounds where construction will occur. This includes everything from planning the layout of interior rooms in buildings to designing bridges and highways.The projected annual growth for positions in architectural and civil drafting across the U.S. is around 1% which has the potential to produce around 1,240 new position openings per year. The bulk of this growth will occur in companies in the engineering services industry.
Architectural and Civil Drafters Skills and Abilities
A primary element of success in architectural and civil drafting is communication. Individuals interested in pursuing a career in this area should have the ability to both write and speak clearly in order to convey ideas accurately and effectively. Written and oral comprehension are also vital to successfully interpret client needs. Logic and reasoning, attention to detail and strong mathematical abilities are also required to succeed in this field.
Architectural and Civil Drafters Duties
While a large part of the work done in architectural and civil drafting involves creating detailed construction plans, the everyday duties of the job are quite varied. On a day-to-day basis, these individuals are responsible for project site data collection, cost/benefit analysis, and supervision of engineering and technical personnel. Another vital duty is to keep technically up-to-date and applying that knowledge to existing and future projects. Other important duties include:
- Creating maps, prototypes and physical models
- Analyzing technical documents, building codes and by-laws
- Conducting and supervising field surveys
- Mathematical calculations
Architectural and Civil Drafters Tools and Technology
In order to complete daily duties successfully, Architectural and Civil drafters need to be skilled the use of a number of tools and a variety of technologies. Basic tools required in these fields include desktop and notebook computers, compasses, curves, scales and scanners to create and reproduce plans and designs. However, to be truly successful, professionals in this industry are also required to be knowledgeable in the following technologies:
- Computer aided design (CAD) software
- Data base and query software
- Software for graphics and imaging
- Map creation software
- Document management and word processing programs
- OCR and scanning software
Education and Training for Architectural and Civil Drafters
Generally speaking, individuals interested in employment as Architectural or Civil Drafters need only an Associate’s degree to enter the field. Because there are usually no work experience requirements and little training once you’ve acquired a position, expect your coursework to be hands-on and specific to these instructional areas:
- Architectural Drafting CAD/CADD
- Civil Engineering CAD/CADD
- Architectural sciences and technology
- Drafting and design technology
- Architectural and building sciences
Most of these programs can be completed in 1-2 years of study with many programs also offering job placement services and internships.
Architectural and Civil Drafters Salary
Salaries for Architectural and Civil Drafters vary by location, but across the United States in recent years one could expect to earn between $16 and $36 per hour. This hourly wage equates to an annual income of $32,000 to $75,000. Expect to enter the field at the lower salary.
Architectural and Civil Drafters Jobs by Geography
Demand for employees in this career field differs across the United States. Research indicates that the highest demand for Architectural and Civil drafters in the future will be in Indiana, Montana, Maryland, North Dakota and Washington. However, the highest annual wages in the field exist in Rhode Island, California, Connecticut, Washington and New Jersey.