Draughtsman, or draftsmen, produce mechanical, technical and architectural drawings as well as maps. This is a highly technical career requiring excellent math skills and attention to detail. This type of work was done for many years with pen and pencil using instruments such as protractors and compasses. It is now done primarily with computers, with the draftsman using a computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) system. Draftsmen work in a variety of industries using their knowledge of building materials, engineering practices, mathematics and physical sciences to produce drawings.
An associate's degree or technical certification is required for employment as a draftsman. Many vocational schools offer two-year associate degree programs. Armed Forces training can be applied to drafting jobs, however some further training may be required depending on the military speciality or technical area. There are differences in training for specialities within the field. A certification program established by the American Design Drafting Association can aid in employment and advancement.
Draftsmen prepare drawings with detailed schematics to aid construction workers and equipment producers. Using CADD, draftsmen can store, print or directly program drawings into the automated systems. This also allows the draftsmen to easily prepare variations of their designs.
Beginning draftsmen may advance through education and work-related experience to become intermediate draftsmen, which will allow them to perform more difficult work. They eventually may become senior draftsmen, designers and supervisors. With continuing education and attainment of the appropriate degrees, they may become architects or engineers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment growth is expected to be slower than average from 2008 to 2018. Employment growth will vary by speciality, with architectural and civil drafting expected to show the fastest growth. Electronic and electrical drafters and mechanical draftsmen are expected to have little change in employment, since most of these workers are in declining manufacturing industries. CADD systems may be used by other professionals and will allow them to perform tasks without the aid of draftsmen.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, draftsmen's earnings vary by speciality, location and level of responsibility. The median annual wages of architectural and civil drafters were £28,918 in May 2008. The middle 50 per cent earned from £22,938 to £36,231. The lowest 10 per cent earned less than £18,343, and the highest 10 per cent earned more than £43,621. Median annual wages for architectural and civil drafters in architectural, engineering and related services were £28,853.
The median annual wages of mechanical drafters were £30,316 in May 2008. The middle 50 per cent earned from £23,718 to £38,356. The lowest 10 per cent earned less than £19,103, and the highest 10 per cent earned more than £46,371. Median annual wages for mechanical drafters in architectural, engineering and related services were £30,959.
Median annual wages of electrical and electronic drafters were £33,358 in May 2008. The middle 50 per cent earned from £26,136 to £42,510. The lowest 10 per cent earned less than £20,832, and the highest 10 per cent earned more than £51,863. In architectural, engineering and related services, median annual wages for electrical and electronic drafters were £31,141.