Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is a drafter?
- What is a computer-aided drafter?
- Where do computer-aided drafters work?
- What is the current job outlook for drafters?
- What else should I know?
- I have more questions about drafting and design at CTC. Where can I find answers?
What is a drafter? [top]
Drafters produce detailed drawings with exact dimensions and specifications. Drafters must translate ideas into drawings, and therefore, they are an integral link between an idea and it's finished product.
Almost all drafters now use CAD (Computer-Aided Drafting) to make layouts, working plans, assembly drawings and maps from notes and sketches. They put the plans and designs of architects, engineers or designers in written form. To show the use or purpose of an object, drafters draw several views of each part in detail. These views enable workers to see the object's application in an assembly and where it fits in the overall design. In many fields today, drafters are responsible for creating 3D computer models and renderings of their designs.
What is a computer-aided drafter? [top]
Computer-aided designs (CAD) drafters use computers and specialized software to draw designs in almost all manufacturing and design industries today. They may work on components in specialized industries to the broadest of applications in city planning and mapping. The drafters typically use software specialized for their particular industry and create drawings, computer renderings, computer models and sometimes videos of particular designs. These designs may be printed on large-scale plotters, large renderings, movies, videos and even 3D printers today.
Where do computer-aided drafters work? [top]
Drafters work in construction, petroleum, transportation, automobile, manufacturing, machinery, aircraft and shipbuilding industries. They work for government agencies, contractors, utilities, consulting engineers, architects and in electronics and defense programs. To produce any product today, manufactures need detailed drawings created by today's drafters. To supply these plans, drafters work in industries that make everything from toys to spacecraft.
Drafters usually work 40 hours per week during normal daytime hours and usually work in pleasant, heated and air conditioned areas. In some companies, there may be a number of drafters working in a large office. In others, there may be only one drafter who works alone.
Advancement for drafters is often based on their productive ability and management capability. Entry level drafters may advance to more senior level drafters or head-of drafting and designs departments. Many drafters work closely with engineers, architects and other designers. Some drafters may advance to supervisory or administrative positions and, with additional education, may become architects or engineers.
What is the job outlook for drafters? [top]
According to the U.S. Department of Labor (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/drafters.htm):
Overall, employment of all drafters is expected to grow six percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. However, growth will vary by specialty.
Work from construction projects will likely continue to create demand for architectural and civil drafters, and because this work should be kept in the United States, employment is expected to grow by three percent. Because new technology reduces costs, architectural and civil drafters who can master new software programs, such as BIM and PDM, also should find opportunities in various industries.
Employment of mechanical drafters is expected to experience about an average growth and electronic and electrical drafters are expected to experience slower than average growth from 2010 to 2020. Demand for mechanical and electrical and electronic drafters is expected to be notably high in engineering and drafting service firms because of more complex problems associated with new products and manufacturing processes.
What else should I know? [top]
No special licensing or certification is required for computer-aided design (CAD) technicians. Membership in a professional group can help them keep up with the changing technology.
Helpful qualities for CAD technicians include an ability to adapt to new ideas and an ever-changing technology, creativity, an ability to pay attention to detail, concentration and patience, extreme accuracy and the ability to work with others or as a team.
THE GOOD SIDE
Some CAD technicians may like working in a progressive field, earn good pay and benefits, the opportunity to be creative and good advancement opportunities.
I have more questions about drafting and design at CTC. Where can I find answers? [top]
Contact the Computer-Aided Drafting and Design office at 254-526-1233. Email Ron Pergl, department chairperson, at Ron.Pergl@ctcd.edu or stop by Bldg. 101, Room 9A. We will be happy to answer your questions.