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Drafters Job Outlook

Overall, employment of all drafters is expected to grow 6 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. However, growth will vary by specialty.

Work from construction projects will likely continue to create demand for architectural and civil drafters, and because this work should be kept in the United States, employment is expected to grow by 3 percent, slower than average growth. Because new technology reduces costs, architectural and civil drafters who can master new software programs, such as BIM and PDM, also should find opportunities in various industries

Employment of mechanical drafters is expected to experience about as fast as average growth, and electronic and electrical drafters is expected to experience slower than average growth from 2010 to 2020. Most of these workers are employed in declining or slow-growing manufacturing industries, offering few opportunities for growth from industry expansion. Demand for mechanical and electrical and electronic drafters is expected to be notably high in engineering and drafting service firms because of more complex problems associated with new products and manufacturing processes.

CADD systems that are easier to use and more powerful than current systems will allow other technical professionals to perform many tasks previously done only by drafters. This development should curb demand for all specialties. Also, some drafting work may be sent to other countries at lower wages.

Job Prospects

New software, such as PDM and BIM, will require drafters to work in collaboration with other professionals on projects, whether constructing a new building or manufacturing a new product. This new software, however, requires that someone build and maintain large databases. Workers with knowledge of drafting and of the software will be needed to oversee these databases.

Many drafting jobs are in construction and manufacturing, so they are subject to the ups and downs of those industries.  Demand for particular drafting specialties varies across the country because jobs depend on the needs of local industries.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition