Draughtsman -- more commonly draftsmen or drafters -- prepare blueprints, plans and technical drawings with computer-aided design and drafting. They transform the concepts and ideas of engineers and architects into visual specifications that workers can use to produce items and build structures. The training you need depends on your technical specialty.
Preparing for drafter training can begin as early as high school with courses in math, computers, design, graphics, science and drafting. At this time, you can hone personal qualities that are useful to a successful career. These include interpersonal skills because you’ll work closely with architects, engineers, designers and production personnel. Time-management is critical for adjusting work schedules so you meet deadlines, and you must pay attention to details so that your drawings are technically accurate. Finally, you must think critically, so you can spot flaws in plans and designs, but must be diplomatic enough to reveal these problems so they are solved efficiently.
To become a drafter in most technical specialties demands an associate degree in drafting from a community college or technical school. Pima Community College, in Tucson, Arizona, offers an example of such a degree for computer-aided drafting. It requires general education courses in communications, analysis and humanities before taking core courses in computer-aided drafting and design. Students can focus on mechanics and electronics, with electro-mechanical and machine shop subjects; on construction, with courses in building materials, surveying and landscaping; or on integrated circuits, with subjects in technical physics, and circuit layout design.
If you’re interested in architectural drafting, you may need a bachelor’s degree. Although no four-year drafting degrees exist, you can get the required training with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, engineering or math. You can still begin your first two years of training with an associate degree at a community college. However, make sure that your courses can transfer to a university, where they can count toward the more advanced education.
While not required to obtain a job, certification can enhance your job prospects because it documents that your skills meet industry standards. The American Design Drafting Association offers professional certification that requires passing a 90 minute exam with at least a 75 percent score. No specific experience or education is needed to take the test. The exam does not cover use of software or computers. Instead, it looks at your ability to handle situations typical to drafters. The credential is valid for five years but is renewable with proof of at least three years of drafting employment.
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