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How Do I Become an Architectural Drafter?

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  • Written By: A. Rohlandt
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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To become an architectural drafter you will need to have a high school diploma or General Education Degree (GED). Some employers offer on-the-job training, but it is best to take additional drafting courses or to complete an associate's degree in architectural drafting. Once you have completed formal training you also have the option of becoming certified, which can be done by passing an examination with the appropriate body in your country or region.

Completing high school is essential if you want to become an architectural drafter. Subjects that can be useful include mathematics, science, and practical subjects, including the use of blueprints. If the high school you attend offers technical drawing, this can also give you an advantage if you want to enter the architectural field.

Once you have completed high school or earned your GED, you should consider enrolling in drafting courses to help you become an architectural drafter. Certificate or diploma courses in architectural drafting can take anywhere from six to 18 months to complete, and you may also have the option of enrolling for a two-year associates degree if you prefer to further your education. These courses can be completed at a college or technical institute. Drafting training should include courses on computer-aided design and drafting software (CADD), and subjects like mathematics, architectural design, and technology used in the building industry.

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Becoming certified is optional if you want to become an architectural drafter, but experts generally recommend taking the examination. It is a good way to show potential employers that your knowledge and skills are up to industry standards. The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) does not require formal training in order to complete the Certified Drafter's (CD) certification, but you should be able to demonstrate the needed skills and knowledge. ADDA also recommends having at least two years on-the-job training or between 800 and 1,200 hours of practical experience or study in the field before you apply, but this is not essential.

Once you have passed the certification exam, you will be certified for a period of three years, and you will need to apply for renewal before your certification expires. The renewal process usually involves filling out the application and paying the renewal fee. You will also be expected to list any additional education or work-related experience since your last certification and to send proof of any courses you've completed.

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