If you have an eye for detail and a meticulous nature about your personality, you may enjoy a career as a drafter. Drafters provide the technical drawings that form the foundation of so many projects, from electronics prototypes to major civil projects. You will be responsible for providing the basis that all other work on that project going forward will be based.
Drafters make use of specialist design software to create technical drawings from the plans and designs of other professionals, such as engineers and architects. The software in question is usually CAD, which stands for Computer Aided Design, and is a special kind of software built to work to precise tolerances and output.
Drafters typically work standard business hours—around forty hours a week through the workweek. You may be required to work longer hours in situations where deadlines are involved, but these are uncommon, and unsociable work hours outside of this kind of unplanned overtime are basically unheard of. There is also not a great deal of travelling involved in this line of work, which further reduces the chances of you being required to work outside of normal office hours. Generally speaking, being a drafter is a very reliable job in terms of the hours you work.
An interviewer may have questions that are specific to the industry you are applying to work in, but some interview questions you are likely to encounter regardless of the specifics of the job you are applying for, and it pays to have put some thought into your answers. Here are some questions you should expect to hear from your interviewer:
Your resume should include the following information when applying for a role as a drafter:
Regarding your cover letter, you should look to expand on the things you have included in your resume, such as any valuable experience you have acquired. Talk a little about why you are interested in working for the company in question and be sure to include why you think you are a good fit for them.
Given the widespread need for drafters, the job outlook is relatively secure in that there are thousands of new job openings, something that is expected to continue for years to come despite a slight decline in other parts of the world. As for progression, there are no roles to be promoted to, as such, but there are many lucrative careers that experience and qualifications as a drafter would help you transition to, such as aerospace engineering, industrial designers, surveyors, and more.
The average salary for a drafter in Canada is currently a little over $43,000 a year based on an hourly rate of around $22. The average is around the lower end of the range in Canada, which starts at $39,000 for entry-level positions and tops out at $60,000 for experienced drafters. Unfortunately, the higher end of the scale is relatively uncommon, with the majority of drafters earning $50,000 or under.
Top paying areas for drafters in Canada include: British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.
Drafters have a number of responsibilities that, for the most part, can be traced back to their primary role—creating technical drafts from less coherent information that the relevant professionals can use to continue the project. Here are some of the responsibilities and duties they will have as part of that role:
Drafters almost exclusively work in an office environment on a computer. The majority of the work they do involves using the CADD software they use to make their drafts, so you will likely spend almost all your time there. This makes it important to think about things like ergonomics when working to avoid long-term health problems. Overtime is not uncommon but will likely not be a common occurrence unless you are working for an especially busy company.
A drafter will need a range of skills to be good at their job, and while lacking any of the skills we mention below does not mean you cannot make a good drafter, it does make life easier if you have them.
Drafters will typically need to have a degree in a relevant field before they can get employed. It should be noted that, while there are plenty of industries to choose from once you have become an experienced engineer, your initial qualifications may limit your choices. This is because the most common degrees chosen by drafters are not Drafting Technology or CAD and Architectural Drawing (which are both an option), but things like Architecture or Mechanical Engineering. These alternatives are fine, of course, but they may restrict your entry-level options. For example, a drafter who has a degree in civil engineering may struggle to get a job as an aerospace drafter. The level of education needed is an associate degree at the minimum, though a bachelor’s degree is a very popular option and will see you being more qualified than candidates who have an associate degree or less.
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about drafter jobs.
There are very few opportunities to get into an entry-level position as a drafter without at least an associate’s degree in a related field, though a bachelor’s degree would give you a better chance. The obvious choices for the subject are CAD and Architecture or, of course, Drafting Technology. However, degrees in Architecture and Mechanical Engineering are also popular in this career.
There is certainly no shortage of job sites available that will show you the latest drafter jobs available throughout Canada. Indeed, Randstad regularly has positions listed on our job seeker section, as well as a host of related positions, such as engineering and architecture.
After you have had a good look through the jobs we have listed (you can find them over on our job seeker page, simply sign up with Randstad to make your application. It will only take a matter of minutes to create an account and sign in; from there, you just apply for the position that has piqued your interest.
Finding new drafter listings can be difficult. Fortunately, in our interconnected world, there are many ways to go about it. There are still job boards, of course, but you can also check your own personal networks. Failing that, the social media accounts of companies you are interested in or people who work for them are also a good place to start. If you want to be among the first to know when we have new jobs listed, sign up for our newsletter.
A drafter takes the drawings, diagrams, plans, and sometimes just rough sketches from designers and engineers and produces a detailed technical drawing that can be used by others to construct the subject of the drawing, whether it be a civil engineering project, architecture, or even a vehicle or electrical system.
Being a drafter is a good career move for the right person, as they will get a lot of satisfaction from the work they do. That being said, the relatively low salaries and lack of progression opportunities make it less appealing. However, experience as a drafter provides an opportunity to springboard into other more lucrative careers.
The range of salaries paid to drafters starts at around $39,000 and tops out at roughly $60,000. That being said, the average drafter earns around $43,000 per year on an hourly wage of approximately $22. This means that the majority of drafters are in the lower range.