A draftsman's job is to interpret his clients' ideas to produce an accurate design or blueprint. Nowadays this work is almost always done using a computer-aided design program (CAD). There are several routes available to someone who wishes to train as a draftsman, depending upon location and personal choice. Draftsmen are sought after by employers and can command very good salaries. However, strong competition in drafting means the better qualified you are, the more career choices you will have.
Research all you can about becoming a draftsman. Map out a career plan to include the necessary courses, degree and experience you will need to acquire.
Build on your basic math by studying geometry, algebra and trigonometry. At this point, being a skilled artist is not so important as the ability to mentally visualise a two-dimensional shape as a three-dimensional object. You will also need to develop excellent computer, problem-solving and creative-thinking skills.
Choose a diploma or associate's program in drafting. This will usually be a two-year course. You can study at a local technical or community college or a university, or you can take a home-based course. Ensure the course you choose is accredited. If studying at home, you will need a high-specification computer, as CAD programs are demanding in memory and processing power. You will also be learning how to produce actual drawings, so will need access to a draftsman's table and specialised design tools such as rulers, compasses and French curves. You will continue to develop advanced math skills and will learn the complex formulae required to create designs.
Decide which field you are interested in. During your diploma course, you will cover many areas of specialisation, such as mechanical, engineering, architecture, civil engineering, electronic or industrial design. A mechanical draftsman will prepare designs for manufactured goods or vehicles. An architectural draftsman will produce floor plans for buildings and may go on to become an architect. A person specialising in civil engineering will design roads, railways and infrastructure. An electronic draftsman will prepare layouts for electrical installations. There are many other fields of specialisation available. Almost every man-made item, from rockets to room interiors, has been designed at a draftsman level.
Pursue a master's degree in your chosen speciality. Your previous accredited course may count toward your master's degree. You will probably be able to combine your studying with working, so it is worthwhile to apply for jobs with this in mind.
As you move along your career path, try to take many short courses relevant to your chosen speciality.
Tips and warnings
- As you move along your career path, try to take many short courses relevant to your chosen speciality.