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Employment Outlook

Employment of drafters is expected to grow by 6 percent between 2006 and 2016 however industrial growth and increasingly complex design problems associated with new products and manufacturing processes could increase the demand for drafting services. Drafters are beginning to break out of the traditional drafting role. Today’s CAD operators Drafters work closely with sales, manufacturing, purchasing, technical support and training. Although growth is expected to be greatest for mechanical, architectural, and civil drafters, demand for particular drafting specialties varies throughout the country because employment usually is contingent on the needs of local industry. Most job openings are expected to arise from the need to replace drafters who transfer to other occupations, leave the labor force, or retire.

Opportunities should be best for individuals with at least 2 years of postsecondary training in a drafting program that provides strong technical skills and considerable experience with CADD systems. CADD has increased the complexity of drafting applications while enhancing the productivity of drafters. It also has enhanced the nature of drafting by creating more possibilities for design and drafting. As technology continues to advance, employers will look for drafters with a strong background in fundamental drafting principles, a high level of technical sophistication, and the ability to apply their knowledge to a broader range of responsibilities.

Drafters’ earnings vary by specialty, location, and level of responsibility. Median annual earnings of architectural and civil drafters were $41,960 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $33,550 and $52,220. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,010, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $63,310. Median annual earnings of mechanical drafters were $43,700 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $34,680 and $55,130. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,230, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $67,860. Median annual earnings for mechanical drafters in architectural, engineering, and related services were $44,120.Median annual earnings of electrical and electronics drafters were $46,830 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $36,660 and $60,160. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,290, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $74,490. In architectural, engineering, and related services, median annual earnings for electrical and electronics drafters were $44,140.
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