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Where in the U.S. are drafting jobs needed?

Drafting has a -3 percent outlook within the next 5 years. Job numbers are declining. #cad #drafting #computer-aided-drafting


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Todd’s Answer

Brandon,

Once upon a time, there were teams of drafters that supported engineers. The engineers never learned how to draft since the teams of drafters cared for that so that the engineer could concentrate on design, calculations, and planning. During the last few decades, more and more engineering is being done IN THE CADD PROGRAMS. This means that the new wave of engineers become proficient in CADD and do their design work within programs like AutoCAD.

Nevertheless, there's still a lot of work available for a good CADD person and especially if you are learning one of the new 3D or BIM CADD programs such as Advance Steel, Revit, or Tekla. To be truly useful as a drafter, you need to be at least willing to learn how to do basic design. A drafter that can only draft what they are told to do is no where near as useful as a drafter that knows enough about their field of work to do basic design. For example, a drafter that's willing to learn the rules pertaining to laying out receptacles in a place of residence as explained in the NEC (National Electrical Code) can take much of the grunt work off of an engineer who can then concentrate on bigger fish.

Such a drafter can, in fact, be on a path leading to becoming an engineer themselves. By getting the design experience and on-the-job training that comes from close association with engineers, they would be well equipped to fast-track an EE (electrical engineering) degree. As far as your question of "where in the US" these jobs are. Well, they're everywhere if you meant geographically. In terms of where they are in the fields of business, they would be where building and construction is high. As modern buildings get more sophisticated and smarter, design will continue to need skilled drafters that know how to use the new flock of CADD design suites.

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Sarah’s Answer

Hi Brandon,

These days drafting is usually handled digitally in programs like AutoCAD for more traditional drawing based drafting or Fusion360 for more 3D design.

If you're interested in the 3D design branch, there are a ton of other pieces of software out there (which you can use to create objects to possibly 3D print if there is a makerspace in your area). TinkerCAD (great for beginners) or SolidWorks (which is what a lot of professionals use) both come to mind. If these turn out to be interesting to you, you could start looking into mechanical engineering as a profession. Many mechanical engineers design parts using this kind of software.

If you're more interested in the traditional drawing aspect of drafting, architecture could be a good profession to look into. I have less knowledge in this area, but it seems like a great way to use those same skills.

Both of those professions (mechanical engineers and architects) will likely stick around for a while.

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