Employers prefer applicants who have completed training in drafting, typically an associate’s degree from a technical institute or community college. Drafters who specialize in architecture may need a higher degree, such as a bachelor’s degree.
Training differs somewhat within the drafting specialties, but the basics, such as mathematics, are similar. To prepare for this training, high school courses in mathematics, science, computer technology, design, computer graphics, and, where available, drafting, are useful.
Technical institutes offer focused technical training in topics such as design fundamentals, sketching, and CADD software. They award certificates or diplomas, and programs vary considerably in length and in the types of courses offered. Many technical institutes also offer associate’s degree programs.
Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes but typically include more classes in drafting theory and often require general education classes. Courses taken at community colleges are more likely to be accepted for credit at colleges or universities.
After completing an associate’s degree program, graduates may get jobs as drafters or continue their education in a related field at a four-year university. Most four-year programs do not offer training in drafting, but they do offer classes in engineering, architecture, and mathematics that are useful for obtaining a job as a drafter.
Technical training in the military also can be applied in civilian drafting jobs. Some additional training may be necessary, depending on the technical area or military specialty.