Is there still a need for drafters?


I'm 40 and just went back to my local community college this past semester.  The plan was to get  my associates in architecture, then go on to the University of Utah for my masters.    I've always loved architecture ... 85% of the books I own are on architecture.  The pictures I've taken of random people's houses outnumber the pictures I've taken of my kids by at least five to one. The problem is I had no idea how intense the program at the university was.  I heard rumors, which were confirmed by my meeting with the Universitys' advisor, that you basically don't leave the building for the first two years.  They have cubicles and cots for the students to sleep in.   If I knew for sure I'd have a job waiting at the other end, then I wouldn't hesitate, but I'm a little late in the game to be taking  a chance like that.   

One other thing I'd like to throw out there (why? I don't know?) ... what made me decide to get this degree in the first pace is I asked myself "if I could make money doing something I love", it would be to take old warehouses and convert them to lofts.  Or build a really cool house, and I'm pretty confident that I could design a really kick ass house.  

Anywho, back to Earth ... I'm really enjoying my autocad class, and if I can't BE an architect, I'd love to work WITH architects. So, my question is, is there a future in drafting?  Do you have any advice that might give me an advantage when it comes to finding a job?    I know there's not a lot of money in it, but I'd rather take less pay and be doing something I enjoy.


Nov 12, 12 10:58 pm

autocad? learn revit

Nov 12, 12 11:24 pm

yes, the position you're looking for/describing is architectural technologist, which isn't necessarily the same thing as a draftsperson.  You're job isn't to draft per se, its to do whatever needs doing in the office.  In some firms technologists can have fairly senior positions, although mostly the ceiling is lower than for people who graduated with architecture degrees and are hired as designers.  In smaller firms you might have projects of your own once you get enough experience.

You don't necessarily need any university to do it - check your community college, or a vocational college of good repute.  Sometimes the programs can be less than 3 years with several "co-op" periods during schooling.  About 99% of everything important you'll do will probably learned on the job, anyways.

Nov 12, 12 11:44 pm

Draftsperson, architectural technologist, or what ever you want to call 'em...yeah, there is definitely still a role for such people.  There are still lots of people who work in arch offices as production people and I imagine this will remain true as long as there still are arch offices.

In fact, probably more young people would be better off setting their sights on a draftsperson career track instead of architect because this would save them quite a bit on education debt.


Nov 13, 12 9:02 am


There will always be a roll for drafts people, but FRaC is right... while AutoCad is an essential skill, Revit, or BIM (building information modeling) is the sorta waaaaave of the future, actually, its already here for some offices.

I would not be discouraged, if this is something you really think you want to do, i think there can be jobs for you.  But LEARN REVIT!  Become an EXPERT in revit.  Over the next few years more and more offices will be switching to BIM systems in place of the old Auotcad model. I can tell you from personal experience that a huge number (maybe the majority?) of working architects do not know revit.  There will definitely be a demand for Revit/BIM experts in architecture and engineering offices. 

Last thing id say, if you want to really focus on the production side (which can still be a creative pursuit) dont limit yourself to just drafting production.  The production side of an architecture office includes a huge array of programs and you should strive to be an expert in all of them to set yourself a part!  Im talking AutoCad and Revit as well as Rhino/3d Studio Max and other 3d modeling and rendering programs, and basically the entire Adobe suite (photoshop, indesign, illustrator are the key ones)

Nov 13, 12 9:41 am

Thanks! I am now back on a track!!!  Revit it is, and any other 3d program classes this school has to offer!

You guys are awesome : )

Nov 13, 12 10:41 am
wurdan freo

Most states don't require an architect's stamp to build a house. You can probably do that on your own. Need money or money partners and someone who knows how to build a house or manage contractors. That in my opinion is quite a jump from being a draftsman or arch techno whatever.

My point is, if you want to build a house, getting a drafting degree to work in an architecture firm may not be the best way to get there. 

Nov 13, 12 12:59 pm

"But LEARN REVIT!  Become an EXPERT in revit."

Although it's a good skill to have, I'd caution against becoming an "expert" in any one software.  Technology can evolve quickly and today's expert can become yesterday's has been.  It is still more important (on a fundamentals level of the profession) to be able to literally hand draft because that is still the foundation upon which architecture is built.  Knowledge of software can come and go.  It has before, and it will again.


Nov 13, 12 2:37 pm

The fundamental concept of building integrated modeling is not going anywhere... Revit might change, but the basic concept will remain... the people who learned the very first autocad were not left in the dust when autocad 2.0 came... in fact, they were much better off because they understood the fundamental concepts of production via such a medium...

Nov 13, 12 4:26 pm

he only drawback is that you can be pigeon holed as a "BIM WIT" like I am and find it very hard to progress on the IDP/Architecture path - after 4 years

Nov 13, 12 5:42 pm

Yes, but instead of drafting, you are doing data entry.

Nov 13, 12 6:24 pm

xenakis... do what everyone else does with idp... lie...



ok jk...


Nov 13, 12 7:35 pm

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