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Career and Education Opportunities for Architectural Drafters in Santa Clara, California

For those living in the Santa Clara, California area, there are many career and education opportunities for architectural drafters. There are currently 18,100 working architectural drafters in California; this should shrink 2% to about 17,700 working architectural drafters in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for architectural drafters are expected to grow by about 9.1%. In general, architectural drafters prepare detailed drawings of architectural designs and plans for buildings and structures according to specifications provided by architect.

A person working as an architectural drafter can expect to earn about $25 hourly or $52,200 per year on average in California and about $21 per hour or $44,490 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Drafting, people working as architectural drafters in California earn more. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Drafting nationally. People working as architectural drafters can fill a number of jobs, such as: steel detailer, cadd operator , and plumbing designer.

There are thirty-five schools of higher education in the Santa Clara area, including six within twenty-five miles of Santa Clara where you can get a degree to start your career as an architectural drafter. Given that the most common education level for architectural drafters is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, you can expect to spend about two years studying to be an architectural drafter if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Architectural Drafter

In general, architectural drafters prepare detailed drawings of architectural designs and plans for buildings and structures according to specifications provided by architect.

Architectural drafters operate computer-aided drafting (CAD) equipment or conventional drafting stations to produce designs, working drawings, charts, forms and records. They also obtain and assemble data to finish architectural designs, visiting job sites to compile measurements as needed. Equally important, architectural drafters have to analyze building codes, by-laws, space and site requirements, and other technical documents and reports to establish their effect on architectural designs. They are often called upon to direct structural, electrical and mechanical designs and decide on a method of presentation to graphically represent building plans. Finally, architectural drafters draw rough and detailed scale plans for foundations, buildings and structures, on the basis of preliminary concepts, sketches, engineering calculations, specification sheets and other data.

Every day, architectural drafters are expected to be able to visualize how things come together and can be organized. They need to think through problems and come up with general rules. It is also important that they see details at a very fine level of focus.

It is important for architectural drafters to lay out and plan interior room arrangements for commercial buildings using computer-assisted drafting (CAD) equipment and software. They are often called upon to develop freehand drawings and lettering to accompany drawings. They also check dimensions of materials to be used and assign numbers to records of materials. They are sometimes expected to ready colored drawings of landscape and interior designs for presentation to client. Somewhat less frequently, architectural drafters are also expected to represent architect on construction site, ensuring builder adherence to layout specifications and advising on layout corrections, under architect's supervision.

They also have to be able to build landscape, architectural and display models And finally, they sometimes have to ready cost estimates, contracts, bidding documents and technical summaries for specific projects under an architect's supervision.

Like many other jobs, architectural drafters must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Santa Clara include:

  • CAD/CAM Specialist. Prepare detailed working diagrams of machinery and mechanical devices, including dimensions, and other engineering information.
  • Civil Draftsman. Prepare drawings and topographical and relief maps used in civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, pipelines, flood control projects, and water and sewerage control systems.
  • Equipment Engineering Technician. Apply electrical theory and related knowledge to test and modify developmental or operational electrical machinery and electrical control equipment and circuitry in industrial or commercial plants and laboratories. Usually work under direction of engineering staff.
  • Mechanical Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, and other mechanically functioning equipment. Oversee installation, operation, and repair of such equipment as centralized heat, gas, and steam systems.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Architectural Drafter Training

Western Career College-San Jose - San Jose, CA

Western Career College-San Jose, 6201 San Ignacio, San Jose, CA 95119. Western Career College-San Jose is a small college located in San Jose, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 691 students and an admission rate of 100%. Western Career College-San Jose has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD which graduated twenty and four students respectively in 2008.

De Anza College - Cupertino, CA

De Anza College, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014. De Anza College is a large college located in Cupertino, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,677 students. De Anza College has a less than one year and a two to four year program in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated twenty-three and zero students respectively in 2008.

Gavilan College - Gilroy, CA

Gavilan College, 5055 Santa Teresa Blvd, Gilroy, CA 95020. Gavilan College is a medium sized college located in Gilroy, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,159 students. Gavilan College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated one, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

West Valley College - Saratoga, CA

West Valley College, 14000 Fruitvale Ave, Saratoga, CA 95070-5698. West Valley College is a large college located in Saratoga, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,585 students. West Valley College has 2 areas of study related to Architectural Drafter. They are:

  • Architectural Technology/Technician, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated six, two, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Drafting and Design Technology/Technician, less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated sixteen, one, two, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Evergreen Valley College - San Jose, CA

Evergreen Valley College, 3095 Yerba Buena Rd, San Jose, CA 95135-1598. Evergreen Valley College is a large college located in San Jose, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,621 students. Evergreen Valley College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated eleven, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Cabrillo College - Aptos, CA

Cabrillo College, 6500 Soquel Dr, Aptos, CA 95003. Cabrillo College is a large college located in Aptos, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,822 students. Cabrillo College has 3 areas of study related to Architectural Drafter. They are:

  • Drafting and Design Technology/Technician, less than one year which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD, less than one year.
  • Civil Drafting and Civil Engineering CAD/CADD, less than one year which graduated 2 students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Planning and Scheduling Professional: The PSP certification is to recognize specialists who meet a demanding set of planning and scheduling criteria by a rigorous examination, experience, education and ethical qualificaion.

For more information, see the AACE International (Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering through total cost management) website.

Certified Transfer Station Technical Associate: This certification was developed to address the increased interest in transfer stations and provide transfer station managers and others the opportunity to learn more about transfer station design and operation.

For more information, see the Solid Waste Association of North America website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Santa Clara, California

Santa Clara, California
Santa Clara, California photo by Coolcaesar

Santa Clara is located in Santa Clara County, California. It has a population of over 110,200, which has grown by 7.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Santa Clara, 158, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Santa Clara cost $196,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, forty-three new homes were constructed in Santa Clara, down from eighty-five the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Santa Clara are computer and electronic products, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is computer and electronic products, professional, scientific, and technical services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 42.4% of Santa Clara residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 16.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Santa Clara is 10.9%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Santa Clara residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Peace Lutheran Church, Good News Community Church and Universal Church of the Master are some of the churches located in Santa Clara. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Muslim Estimate.

Santa Clara is home to the Santa Clara Unified School District Office and the Santa Clara Municipal Golf Course as well as Westwood Acres Park and Washington Park. Shopping centers in the area include Moonlite Shopping Center, Fairway Glen Shopping Center and Youth Shopping Center.