How Do I Become a Structural Drafter?

Technical drawings used in the construction of bridges, buildings, and other structures are created structural drafters. To work as a structural drafter, you’ll need strong artistic and analytical thinking skills, as well as mathematical and computer skills. An Associate of Applied Science degree is required for this position, as well as specific training in computer-aided drafting and design. Employment opportunities as a structural drafter can be found in a variety of industries, including engineering, manufacturing, and architecture. Construction drawings are typically prepared from technical specifications, sketches, and mathematical calculations these professionals.

To work as a structural drafter, you must have excellent analytical thinking skills in order to produce detailed construction drawings based on complex mathematical calculations. To create well-drawn plans from rough sketches and notes, you should also have some artistic ability. To calculate and draw the exact dimensions of various structural components, excellent mathematical ability is required. These professionals rely heavily on a variety of computer software applications, so a basic understanding of computers is required. You must also be able to communicate effectively and work both independently and as part of a team.

A structural drafter typically needs an associate’s degree in applied science, though some employers may prefer a bachelor’s degree in engineering design and structural drafting. Instruction in the use of computer-aided drafting and design equipment should be included in any college education. Advanced mathematics and architectural terminology courses will also be beneficial in this field. Professional certification in this field, while not required, can often give you a significant hiring advantage over other job seekers. The American Design Drafting Association offers a globally recognized professional certification that demonstrates to potential employers that your knowledge and skills are current with current technology and practices.

Structural drafters are employed in a variety of fields, including engineering and architecture. They create construction drawings for bridges, buildings, railroads, and manufacturing and processing plants, among other things. Many of these experts work for educational or research institutions, while others work for consulting firms. Various government agencies, such as transportation and public works departments, may also have openings.

You’ll spend the majority of your time as a structural drafter creating detailed drawings of existing and proposed structures. Many of these drawings will almost certainly be created with computer-aided drafting software. Meetings with other professionals, such as engineers or construction contractors, will take up some time. You will also create flow charts, calculate materials, and prepare cost estimates in addition to producing construction drawings. You might be asked to analyze or simulate potential design flaws as well.