Drafters prepare working plans and detail drawings of products or structures from the rough sketches, specifications, and calculations of engineers, architects, and designers. These drawings are used in engineering or manufacturing processes to reproduce exactly the product or structure desired, according to the specified dimensions. The drafter uses knowledge of various machines, engineering practices, mathematics, and building materials, along with other physical sciences and extensive computer skills, to complete the drawings. There are approximately 196,460 drafters working in the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) CAD Operators
Duties Prepare working plans and detailed drawings of products or structures using specialized computer software
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
  • Some Postsecondary Training
School Subjects
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Technical/Shop
Experience Any experience with computer-aided design and drafting systems will be useful
Personality Traits
  • Artistic
  • Realistic
  • Technical
  • Computer
  • Drawing/Design
  • Math
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Little Change or More Slowly than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Senior or Chief Drafter
  • Drafter
  • Junior Drafter or Drafting Technician

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