Thinking about becoming an architectural or civil drafter? People in this occupation assist architects and civil engineers with their jobs and often need less education, therefore their overall earning potential is more limited. However, you can maximize your salary by strategically choosing where to live and in what industry to work.
The average salary for an architectural drafter is $24.30 an hour, or $55,550 a year. The lowest 10% of earners only bring home $15.31 per hour, or $31,840 annually. On the other hand, high earners in the profession (above the 90th percentile) make $35.60 an hour, or $74,040 a year. Your income will in part be affected by what industry in which you end up working. There are a lot more choices than you might think. The highest-paying industry for architectural drafters is aerospace products and parts manufacturing, where you could earn more than $74,670 a year. Other industries in which you will make higher-than-average income are scientific research and development services, natural gas distribution, activities related to real estate, and the federal executive branch of the government. The downside of this information is that none of these industries employ very many drafters. If you go into this career you are much more likely to work for an architectural or engineering service (no surprise there). You are also likely, although somewhat less so, to work for the local government, for an architectural and structural metals manufacturer, or in residential or nonresidential building construction. Of all these, you’ll make the most money (an average of $56,560 annually) if you work for your local government.
Where you live and work as an architectural drafter will affect your wages as well. It will also affect the ease with which you find work and how many other drafters you meet in your town. The states that, overall, employ the most drafters are California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania. The cities that employ the most are all highly populated cities in general – cities such as New York, Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Santa Ana, Dallas, Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, and Philadelphia. However, calculating a list based on location quotient is something different altogether. Location quotient refers to the number of people employed in a profession (like drafting) out of every 1,000 jobs. A high location quotient could mean that there are a lot of jobs available or that, alternatively, there is an over-saturation of architectural and civil drafters in the region. The states with the highest location quotients are Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Hawaii, and Alaska. The cities that make this list are College Station, Texas; Billings, Montana; Bremerton, Washington; Panama City, Florida; Beaumont, Texas; Brunswick, Georgia; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Francisco, California; Cheyenne, Washington; and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. There are also certain cities and states where your earning potential will be much higher. The highest-paying states are Alaska ($65,590), Rhode Island, California, Connecticut, and Washington. The highest-paying cities are Anchorage, Alaska ($70,860); Kingston, New York; Tacoma, Washington; Oakland, California; San Francisco, California; San Jose, California; Charlotte, South Carolina; Seattle, Washington; Washington, D.C.; and Barnstable Town, Massachusetts.