What Your Job as a Drafter Will Be Like after Architecture School

People who are drafters in essence function like an architect’s assistant. Their main job is working with computer programs to help architects with their designs. If you want to become a drafter, you can do some by completing anything from a short certificate program to an associate’s degree program in architectural drafting. Many employees prefer graduates with a 2-year degree as opposed to a certificate diploma. You could attend a community college or technical institute in order to earn your degree and find a job in this career path. You will be the most prepared for school if you have previously taken classes in science, computer technology, design, math, and computer graphics.
Your Responsibilities
Drafters’ main responsibility is to take designs from architects and engineers and turn them into technical plans and drawings. There are actually many types of drafters, including people who work in civil, electrical, and mechanical design. If you go to architecture school, however, you will most likely end up working as an architectural drafter. In this position, you will specialize with CADD (computer aided drafting and design software). Engineers or architects might hand you a rough sketch or certain specifications for a project, and you will have to turn them into visual images using technological software. You will help design projects using the engineering and drafting skills you learned in school, add details to plans by utilizing your knowledge of business techniques, and prepare different versions of designs for review. You might also specify dimensions and materials for buildings, and you will be supervised by architects and engineers. Because of their work with computers, drafters are sometimes referred to as CADD operators. When you work with computer systems, you might view the designs directly on the computer with architects, print them, or program them into BIM (building information modeling) systems. These 3-D renderings of drawings allow architects, construction managers, and engineers to get a better visual of the final structure and see how different elements work together in the building. As an architectural drafter, you might specialize in a type of building (such as residential or commercial) or a type of material (such as steel, concrete, or wood).
Work Environment
More drafters work for architectural or engineering services than any other industry. Smaller percentages work in the manufacturing and construction industries. If you become a drafter, most of your time will be spent in an office working at a computer as you input designs and make adjustments. You will likely also spend time in meetings with other drafters as well as architects and engineers to discuss various projects. However, you might also spend time visiting construction sites if you have to monitor progress or check in on different elements of the construction process. You will most likely work full time at a fairly regular schedule. Because some architects work overtime as deadlines approach, you may be asked to put in extra hours as well in order to help them meet their goals.
Sources:

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/drafters.htm#tab-4

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/architects.htm#tab-3

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