AutoCAD Drafter

autocad drafter trainingDrafters design technical schematics for products & structures.

Drafters use software such as Autodesk's AutoCAD to prepare 2D and 3D technical drawings. These drawings are used as blueprints to construct products and structures, such as buildings, machinery, toys, microchips, plumbing & electrical systems, vehicles and a host of other manufactured goods. Drafting professionals hold a range of job titles, including engineer, drafter, estimator, designer, modeler, architect and illustrator.

The best AutoCAD drafters combine "right-brain" attributes, such as creativity & spatial relationships, with "left-brain" traits, like mathematics & analytical thinking, to produce designs that are captivating, functional and innovative. Whether your CADD (computer-aided drafting & design) career path lies in civil engineering, architecture or even entertainment (CADD software such as Autodesk's Maya can render stunning 3D animation and special effects), AutoCAD gives you the power to bring your ideas to life.

AutoCAD is the most popular CADD software with the highest overall job-market demand. There are also specialized versions of AutoCAD and other Autodesk products designed for drafters in specific job-roles and industries. Here are the most widely used Autodesk products and the drafting specialists that use them:

Autodesk Product Drafting Specialists
AutoCAD Designers, Architects, Engineers
AutoCAD Civil 3D Civil Engineers, Drafters, Designers
AutoCAD Architecture Architects, Contractors, Building Managers
AutoCAD Electrical Electrical Controls & Systems Designers
AutoCAD LT 2D Artists, Designers, Document Creators
3ds Max Game Developers, Graphic Designers, 3D Animators
Inventor Product Manufacturers, Inventors, Prototype Designers
Maya 3D Animators, Effects Specialists, Game Designers
Revit Architects, Construction Managers, Structural Engineers
BIM 360 Building Information Modelers, Construction PMs
Alias Automotive Designers, Industrial & Product Designers

Drafting and design schools offer campus & online degree programs, courses and certificates in the latest AutoCAD drafting skills & technologies. Compare AutoCAD drafter training programs in the U.S. and online.

a.k.a. CAD Drafter | AutoCAD Designer | AutoCAD Operator | AutoCAD Engineer | AutoCAD Architect | CADD Technician

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AutoCAD Drafter Skills & Responsibilities

Typical day-to-day activities and in-demand skill sets for AutoCAD drafters include the following. AutoCAD drafters:

  • Are fluent in one or more Autodesk CADD (computer-aided drafting & design) programs.
  • Create technical schematics and blueprints for the construction of structures and products.
  • Provide measurements, dimensions and notes on the materials needed to complete the project.
  • Coordinate with other employees to obtain technical details, optimize designs, and resolve issues.
  • Modify and revise designs to correct operating deficiencies and limit production problems.
  • Write additional instructions & comments and position them into technical drawings and blueprints.
  • Need strong communication skills to deal with both technical & non-technical employees/clients.
  • The best AutoCAD drafters are creative thinkers with an ingrained curiosity for how things work.


Drafter Salary

  • Drafter average annual wage: $58,000

AutoCAD Drafter Salary $58,000


Salaries for drafters and related positions by experience, specialty, industry & AutoCAD certification:

  • AutoCAD Designer: $51,000
  • AutoCAD Certified Associate: $52,000
  • Drafter: $58,000
  • AutoCAD Mechanical Designer: $62,000
  • AutoCAD Civil 3D Drafter: $63,000
  • AutoCAD Landscape Designer: $64,000
  • Autodesk Revit Drafter: $64,000
  • AutoCAD Structural Designer: $64,000
  • Autodesk Maya Animator: $65,000
  • AutoCAD Electrical Engineer: $70,000
  • AutoCAD Electrical Controls Engineer: $70,000
  • AutoCAD Piping Designer: $74,000
  • AutoCAD Instructor: $76,000
  • AutoCAD Product Design Engineer: $79,000
  • AutoCAD HVAC Mechanical Engineer: $80,000
  • AutoCAD Certified Professional: $52,000
  • Building Information Manager (BIM): $81,000
  • Autodesk Revit Specialist: $82,000
  • AutoCAD Project Manager: $84,000
  • Senior Civil Engineer: $99,000
  • Lead Electrical Engineer: $127,000

For drafting jobs paying hourly, wages typically range from $18 to over $30 per hour.



Drafter Education Requirements

Hiring managers for drafter positions prefer applicants with training in a recent version of AutoCAD or a specialized Autodesk drafting program, such as Revit Architecture, AutoCAD Civil 3D or 3ds Max. Depending on the type of position you wish to acquire and your preferred learning style, you can learn AutoCAD drafting in a two-year program at a technical or trade school, as part of an associate or bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, or through a post-secondary diploma or certificate program. The AutoCAD subject matter works well with online training programs. Prospective employers may also want to see a portfolio of your completed AutoCAD projects. Most AutoCAD training programs, such as those listed below, will review your coursework and help you assemble a professional portfolio and resume. Relevant work experience and drafting certifications will aid candidates in securing a position.

Specific coursework and in-demand skill sets to look for in an AutoCAD drafting education program include hands-on training in AutoCAD technologies, AutoCAD user interface (UI) training, mechanical drawing, knowledge of drafting standards & terminologies, mathematics, science, art and engineering. For industry-specific AutoCAD training programs, Architecture, Building Information Modeling (BIM) & Civic Engineering are currently in the highest demand; that said we recommend you choose the CADD specialty you're most passionate about, as there will always be new job opportunities and hot specialties, but your passion for the subject matter can give you the edge in getting hired as well as more happiness on the job.

Research and compare AutoCAD drafting training programs in the U.S. and online.


AutoCAD Drafter Training, Certificates & Degree Programs

Browse the top-rated undergrad & graduate degrees, professional certificates, online courses and self-paced training programs matching the AutoCAD Drafter education requirements and career path.

Admissions advisors can provide more info about AutoCAD programs and curriculum, admissions & start dates, online learning details, career opportunities, tuition costs, personalized financial aid & scholarship options.
Got targeted learning goals? Many schools offer individual courses from campus and online degree programs.

Drafting with AutoCAD Diploma

  • Self-Paced Online Training in AutoCAD Drafting
  • Intro to Computer-Aided Drafting and Design
  • Create Structural, Civil & Electrical Schematics
  • Master AutoCAD's User Interface & Shortcuts
  • Learn Sketching and Geometric Construction
  • Use Coordinates to Draw and Render 3D Objects
  • Architectural, Mechanical, Civil & Metric Scales
  • Regionally and Nationally Accredited School

Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design: 3D Modeling

  • Learn the Tools and Techniques to Pursue Jobs in Computer Animation & Multimedia Design
  • 3D Animation and Modeling using Autodesk Products such as Maya and Mudbox
  • Fine Art Foundations inc. Color & Typography
  • Graphic Design using Adobe's Creative Suite
  • Design & Render Photorealistic Digital Effects

Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology: Mechatronics

  • Advanced Training in Electronics, Robotics, Mechanical and Computer Engineering
  • Learn Drafting and 3D Modeling using Programs like AutoCAD, Pro/E, SolidWorks & Creo
  • Build out your Degree with Marketable Courses such as Hydraulics and Pneumatics, BIM, Advanced Mathematics & Computer Programming
  • Accelerated Bachelor's can be Finished in 2.5 Years
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Drafter Certifications

Marketable certifications for AutoCAD drafters include the following credentials from Autodesk, and the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA).

Most Autodesk certifications are offered at two skill levels: User and Professional. Users are the entry level and typically have about 150 hours of real-world experience with the software, while the more advanced Professionals possess 400+ hours of practical experience and the ability to solve complex workflow and design challenges. Autodesk certification exams may be available as part of your training or degree program, or directly through Certiport, Autodesk's dedicated exam provider.

Autodesk Certifications:

  • AutoCAD User
  • AutoCAD Professional
  • AutoCAD Civil 3D Professional
  • Revit Architecture Professional
  • Revit MEP (Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing) Professional
  • Revit Building Systems Professional
  • Revit Structures Professional
  • Inventor User
  • Inventor Professional
  • 3ds Max User
  • 3ds Max Professional
  • Maya User
  • Maya Professional
  • Fusion 360 User

ADDA Certifications:

  • ADDA Certified Apprentice Drafter - Architectural
  • ADDA Certified Apprentice Drafter - Mechanical
  • ADDA Certified Drafter - Architectural
  • ADDA Certified Drafter - Mechanical
  • ADDA Certified Design Drafter - Civil
  • ADDA Certified Digital Designer - Digital Imaging
  • ADDA Certified Digital Designer - Visual Communication

Compare AutoCAD training and certification programs online and in your area.


Drafter Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for drafters will stay flat from 2018 through 2028, meaning there will be minimal to no change in the number of drafting jobs. However, CADD professionals entering the field with the right AutoCAD training and career specializations will still have a great deal of job opportunities.

Civil engineering and Building Information Modeling (BIM) are among the hottest drafting specialties, projected to grow much faster than the overall drafting field. Increased construction activity stemming from U.S. population growth and the need to shore up America’s infrastructure will spur demand for AutoCAD drafters who are trained and certified in Civil Drafting, BIM and interior design. Product Data Management (PDM) software - programs that track and control data related to a specific product and its lifecycle, including CAD schematics - is another emerging drafting domain that's stirring up workforce buzz and demand.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook


Drafting Jobs

Your AutoCAD education and experience may qualify you for numerous roles including the following. Browse & apply to:

  • CAD Operator jobs link-icon
  • Civil Engineer jobs link-icon
  • AutoCAD Drafter jobs link-icon
  • AutoCAD Designer jobs link-icon
  • Building Information Manager jobs link-icon
  • Architectural Drafter jobs link-icon
  • Engineer Machine Designer jobs link-icon

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