How do I Become a Drafter?

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  • Written By: Simone Lawson
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2019
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Drafters are responsible for preparing technical drawings and construction plans that may be used to build a number of objects. Mechanical drafters construct outlines for machinery, and electronics drafters draw circuit board and wiring diagrams, for example. Civil drafters design maps and outlines used in major construction projects, and architectural drafters draw building plans. Requirements to become a drafter generally include a post-secondary degree or certificate in a related field, strong computer skills and drafting software skills; some companies may require candidates to acquire special certifications as well.

Mechanical drafters work to create the best and most efficient machinery. They create detailed drawings to show how to assemble machinery or other mechanical devices, such as the gear shaft in vehicle. To become a drafter in the mechanical field, some type of post-secondary education is generally required, including training certifications from a technical or community college. Courses that help to prepare for a mechanical drafting certificate include mechanical drawing, general machinery or shop classes and mathematics. Employers also consider knowledge of computers and specialized drafting programs to be desirable skills.

Electronics drafters are responsible for creating wiring or circuit drawings, which are used to install and manufacture electronic devices and parts. Most electronics drafters hold a two-year degree from a technical school. To become a drafter in the electronics field, students usually need to take specialized courses in drawing electronic circuits and components.


Civil drafters work with cartographers and surveyors to prepare maps for areas undergoing some type of construction project. These projects may include new highway construction or pipeline and bridge construction. They may also be responsible for creating outlines for sewage systems or flood-control projects. Most civil drafters hold some type of certification from a two-year vocational school. Civil drafters may also need to take specialized courses to learn more about surveying and land use. Civil drafting programs vary depending on the area in which one is attempting to become certified.

Architectural drafters draw depictions of architects’ designs. These drafters may specialize in a particular type of structure, such as commercial or residential buildings, or they may specialize in particular building materials, such as concrete or steel. Some architectural drafters hold four-year degrees in engineering or architecture. Regardless of the drafters educational level, they still will likely have to complete training at a vocational school.

The content of the certification program to become a drafter usually varies depending on the area of concentration. Most drafters will need to take courses to learn how to use Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) systems. CADD systems allow drafters to store electronic designs to be programmed into manufacturing systems.

The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) also offers certification for drafters. A drafter certification test is offered through authorized online sites and provides certification upon completion. The test typically includes questions about drafting concepts, geometric concepts and drafting standards.



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