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AutoCAD drafters combine their sense of creativity with their sharp technical skills to create technical drawings of building plans, blueprints, and more. It can be a very interesting field to work in (and tends to pay well), but is it the right career for you? Here’s what you need to know about the average salary for drafters, how to become a drafter, and the software you’ll use on the job.
As an AutoCAD drafter, you’ll use AutoCAD and other industry software to create drawings and technical models of building designs, plans, and blueprints. These drawings are then used by construction teams, architects, engineers, and other professionals to take the work from paper to real life. Drafters can also work in manufacturing and industrial roles, creating designs and schematics for machinery and products.
In the past, drafters would create building designs and drawings by hand, focusing more on the creative aspects of the work. However, today, drafters focus on computer-aided design, and are skilled with computers and technology.
Read more: What is AutoCAD?
As a drafter, you’ll be responsible for a variety of duties. Depending on where you work and your experience in the field, your tasks will likely include things such as
AutoCAD drafters who are skilled with the software and knowledgeable in design and engineering needs can make a great starting salary! The median salary for a drafter in 2021 was $60,290 per year. The lowest 10% of drafters earned around $37,000 per year, while the highest 10% earned more than $92,000.
How much you can earn as a drafter can depend on your employer, the state you live in, your experience, and other factors.
If you’re making close to the median drafter salary, your monthly pay – before taxes – is likely to be around $5,000. Your take home pay can vary depending on the different deductions from your paycheck, like state and federal taxes, healthcare benefits, etc.
The average salary you can earn in the field can change depending on where you live. Some states have higher average salaries based on cost of living or the demand for skilled workers in the field.
One effective way to increase how much you can potentially make as an AutoCAD drafter is to become certified. Certification can validate your skills to your current or potential employers and can qualify you for more advanced roles or specialties within the field.
There are several entry-level certifications you can sit for, as well as specialized certifications in architectural, electrical, and mechanical drafting.
Entry level certifications include
Advanced certifications include
To qualify to sit for these certification exams, you’ll need to have some experience working with AutoCAD software. The minimum requirement for more entry-level certifications is about 150 hours of relevant experience using the software. For more advanced certification, you’ll need anywhere from 400 to 1,200 hours of AutoCAD software experience.
Yes! Becoming an AutoCAD drafter is a good career for someone who is interested in design and technology. Drafters can also work in a few different industries, giving you some options when it comes to finding a job in the field. The most common industries drafters work in include
However, having AutoCAD skills can also be helpful in other careers such as interior design, project management, engineering, and urban planning and development.
Since computer-aided design skills are needed in a variety of jobs and industries, there are plenty of opportunities to put your AutoCAD skills to use. Besides the standard roles in which drafting is essential, you can use your skills to find jobs in interior design, product design, graphic design, or fashion design.
If you’re applying to drafting jobs, having foundational AutoCAD skills is essential to qualifying for entry-level roles. It’s unlikely that you’d be hired without them! If you’re looking to pursue careers outside of traditional drafting jobs, understanding computer-aided design can be beneficial and help you stand apart from other applicants.
Because AutoCAD is so widely used for drafting, learning how to use the software is absolutely worth it. If you’re interested in working in architecture, engineering, manufacturing, product design, or even construction, knowing how to use the software is a basic requirement for many jobs you’ll find in these fields.
You can learn how to use AutoCAD software in several ways, including through online tutorials and videos. However, the software can be complex and may be difficult to learn completely on your own. That’s where formal training programs can help. Through structured AutoCAD classes, you can build your skills with the software step-by-step and develop a stronger foundational understanding of using it for drafting designs.
Like any new skill, learning CAD can be difficult at first. CAD stands for computer-aided design software and it can be complicated and confusing to navigate if you don’t have any previous experience with it. But if you’re motivated to learn and are willing to put in the time and effort to really understand it, it can be worth it. Besides learning how to use software like AutoCAD, it will also be important to regularly practice what you learn.
You can learn how to use CAD in as little as a few months! Most training programs will focus on the foundational skills needed to use AutoCAD effectively and, depending on how you learn, you could finish an online program relatively quickly.
Starting a career in AutoCAD drafting involves a few steps.
While many drafting jobs will require an associate degree, there may be other roles that use computer-aided design that don’t, so make sure you check out the education requirements and job responsibilities of each opening before applying.
Whether you want to advance in your current job or start an entirely new career, learning how to use AutoCAD software can be beneficial! With Ashworth’s online AutoCAD Training Program, you can build your CAD skills in as little as 4 months. You’ll also be prepared to sit for the Autodesk AutoCAD Certified User Certification Exam, the cost of which is covered by your program tuition!
Have more questions about the program, how Ashworth College works, or are ready to get started today? Reach out to our Admissions Team at 1-800-957-5412 today!