An architectural design drafter, sometimes called an architectural draftsman, creates drawings and blueprints of a building or landscape design. Architects provide the specifications and details of the design through sketches and lists of measurements, and the architectural design drafter creates a clear visual of it on paper. It may be done manually using drawing pens, rulers and blueprint paper, or by using a computer aided design (CAD) program, where the design is drawn on a computer and printed out using a special printer.
To become an architectural design drafter, you need to have excellent drawing skills. This may be developed during high school, and enhanced afterwards by taking a two-year diploma degree in drafting. You need not finish a four-year course, but that may be an advantage for later employment opportunities. But if you want to start an early career in architectural drafting, then a diploma course will do. Further studies may be pursued later on when you have gained more experience in the drafting field. An architectural design drafter should also have good communication skills, so he can pass interviews, and can work effectively with architects, engineers and other construction workers.
You may also take certification exam given by the American Design Drafting Association, although it is not mandatory. It gives a draftsman an edge in terms of finding employment and freelance projects. It will also help a draftsman develop a network of contacts in the field of architectural design drafting. The association also provides access to trainings that may be very useful and beneficial for architectural design draftsmen, especially on the recent development in that field.
To find work as an architectural design drafter, you need to prepare your resume and a portfolio of your drawings. If you had some part time job as a draftsman, then you may include that experience in your resume. Include a sample of your work and. List down your prospective employers and find out their fields of specialization in the construction industry to know if there is a fit.
Initially, an architectural design drafter undergoes training on the job and is closely supervised. While experience is gained, supervision is lessened, until such time that the draftsman can work on his own. You may also choose and focus on an area of specialization – whether they are high-rise buildings, residential projects, and landscape or industrial complexes. Another way an area of specialization is identified is whether the construction project uses steel materials or timber. An architectural design drafter also has an option to work full time with a company, or as a part time freelancer with different companies. You need to prioritize more effectively if you are a freelancer, since you will be doing more than one project at a time. For a full time architectural design drafting job, you may also be doing different projects at the same time, but only with a single company that most probably specializes on one field, so drafting may be easier especially if the projects are of similar nature.