How to Become a Drafting Technician


Career Path Guide

Your first step towards becoming a drafting technician, will be to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for it:


• You enjoy using design software or specialized design instruments

• You enjoy preparing technical drawings, plans or 3D models

• You are able to read, analyze, and interpret engineering, architectural or design concepts

• You are able to visualize three-dimensional objects from two-dimensional drawings

• You enjoy working closely with others on projects


Below we've outlined what you'll need to get started in this profession, and some of the things you'll need to succeed when you get there. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Drafting Technician

You'll likely need a 2-year associate’s degree or diploma in a field related to drafting (such as Residential Drafting, Building Design or Technical Drawing) from a technical or community college.


If you want to work in a specific area of drafting, you should focus your education in one specialized type of drafting, such as mechanical or electrical drafting.


Choosing a program that will offer instruction in design fundamentals, sketching, and CADD (computer-aided design and drafting) software is crucial for becoming a drafting technician, regardless of what field you choose to specialize in.





General Job Description

A drafting technician, also known as a Draftsperson, is responsible for interpreting the concepts of engineers, architects, planners and designers in a variety of industries.


They interpret the concepts of these professionals by using computer-aided design programs, as well as manual drafting techniques to prepare the following types of 2D or 3D plans and drawings:


• Engineering plans

• Architectural plans

• Flow diagrams

• Schematics

• Layouts

• Specifications

• Maps

• Detailed working drawings 

• 3D displays



Typical Job Duties

• Use computer aided design programs, scientific calculators and manual drafting techniques

• Use surface modeling to draw a flat representation of a product

• Create a 3D display of a structure or component

• Work closely with engineers, architects and technologists

• Maintain current knowledge of drafting techniques and technology

• Help prepare cost estimates on projects

• Produce assembly instructions and maintenance manuals for installation, service and repair technicians



Who Employs Drafting Technicians?

Drafting technicians are employed on a part-time, full-time or contractual basis by different types of organizations, including:


• Architectural firms

• Building fabricators and other manufacturing and assembly companies

• Electronic manufacturing companies

• Engineering consulting firms

• Land survey and geomatic companies

• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government departments

• Petrochemical, food processing, pulp and paper and energy companies

• Private machine design firms



Industries in Which Drafting Technicians Work

The work of drafting technicians has a variety of applications, across many different industries. Below are some examples of how the work of drafting technicians is applied.


Aerospace Engineering: Drafting technicians in the aerospace engineering industry may work to produce technical drawings of aerospace vehicles and systems.


Architecture: Drafting technicians in architecture are often employed to prepare drawings of commercial and residential buildings.


Civil Engineering: In the field of civil engineering, drafting technicians typically work to prepare drawings and maps for construction projects such as the development highways, pipelines and sewage systems.


Electrical Engineering: Drafting technicians working in the field of electrical engineering are responsible for preparing circuit board, wiring and layout diagrams.


Geomatics Engineering: Within the field of geomatics engineering, drafting technicians must prepare plans for well sites, pipelines and real property reports.


Mechanical Engineering: Drafting technicians working in the field of mechanical engineering are typically responsible for preparing drawings of machinery and mechanical devices.


Urban, Regional or Park Planning: Within the field of planning, drafting technicians must draw plans for urban or rural communities or parks.





Salary Level in This Profession

The salary level of drafting technicians can vary depending on their personal qualifications, their level of aptitude, the size and type of their employer, and many other factors.


Drafting Technician Salary Canada: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Drafting Technologists and Technicians occupational group earn an average of between $68,099 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (June 21, 2019).


Drafting Technician Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Drafters occupational group is $49,630 per year.



Career Advancement in This Profession

Career advancement for drafting technicians depends largely on their ability to demonstrate self-motivation, initiative, aptitude and competence. It is also dependent on available opportunities within their current organization, as well as the availability of external opportunities.


Experienced drafting technicians who demonstrate the above-mentioned qualities can choose to specialize in a certain area of drafting (such as architectural) or become team or section leaders, project managers, site managers, or work as contract freelancers. With further education and training, a drafting technician can also choose to become a design engineer.



Skills Needed to Be Successful

To be effective in a career as a drafting technician, you'll need to posses a certain set of skills. These skills will allow you to perform your job duties with competence, and are likely listed required skills on job postings.


• Knowledge of engineering, architectural, urban or other design principles

• Good hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity

• Artistic ability

• Able to communicate design ideas and solutions clearly and concisely orally and in writing

• Able to visualize three-dimensional objects from two-dimensional drawings

• Able to visualize the relationships between parts in machinery and systems

• Familiarity with use of measuring tools (laser meters, rulers, levels)



Helpful Personal Characteristics to Have

In order to enjoy performing the duties of a drafting technician, you need to have certain personality traits. These personality traits will help keep you interested in your job, and will help you maintain a positive attitude towards your work.


• Self-motivation and initiative

• Enjoy being part of a team

• Enjoy supporting the work of engineers, designers and architects

• Enjoy taking a methodical approach to work activities

• Enjoy working with design software and/or equipment and instruments

• Emotional and intellectual stamina

• The ability to meet tight deadlines



Current Job Opportunities in This Field

Our job board below has drafting technician postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, when available:




Similar Career Profiles in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to drafting technician, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Civil Engineering Technologist

Design Engineer


Architectural Illustrator

Architectural Technologist




Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a drafting technician.


Occupations in Alberta:Drafting Technician.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 11, 2019.

Architecture & Engineering:Drafters.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 11, 2019.

Trades:Architectural Drafting Technician.” (n.d.). University of the Fraser Valley website. Retrieved November 11, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Drafting Technician

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a drafting technician can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Fields of Study in Our System

The following are fields of study in our system that are relevant for this line of work:


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