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Career and Education Opportunities for Architectural Drafters in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for architectural drafters. About 3,030 people are currently employed as architectural drafters in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 3% to about 3,120 people employed. 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%. Architectural drafters generally 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 $20 hourly or $42,840 annually on average in Illinois and about $21 hourly or $44,490 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for architectural drafters are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Drafting in Illinois and not quite as good as general Drafting category earnings nationally. Architectural drafters work in a variety of jobs, including: project manager, detailer, and computer aided drafter.

There are twenty-three schools within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be an architectural drafter, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. Architectural drafters usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so 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 Chicago 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.
  • Civil Engineering Technician. Apply theory and principles of civil engineering in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of structures and facilities under the direction of engineering staff or physical scientists.
  • 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

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has 2 areas of study related to Architectural Drafter. They are:

  • CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated one and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated two and two students respectively in 2008.

Westwood College-Chicago Loop - Chicago, IL

Westwood College-Chicago Loop, 17 N State St-Ste 300, Chicago, IL 60602. Westwood College-Chicago Loop is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 685 students and an admission rate of 62%. Westwood College-Chicago Loop has an associate's degree program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD which graduated eleven students in 2008.

College of Lake County - Grayslake, IL

College of Lake County, 19351 W Washington St., Grayslake, IL 60030-1198. College of Lake County is a large college located in Grayslake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,359 students. College of Lake County has 2 areas of study related to Architectural Drafter. They are:

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

Westwood College-O'Hare Airport - Chicago, IL

Westwood College-O'Hare Airport, 8501 W. Higgins Road Suite 100, Chicago, IL 60634. Westwood College-O'Hare Airport is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 676 students and an admission rate of 48%. Westwood College-O'Hare Airport has an associate's degree program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD.

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest - Gary, IN

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest, 1440 E 35th Ave, Gary, IN 46409-1499. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest is a medium sized college located in Gary, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,701 students. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated four and ten students respectively in 2008.

Westwood College-Dupage - Woodridge, IL

Westwood College-Dupage, 7155 Janes Avenue, Woodridge, IL 60517. Westwood College-Dupage is a small college located in Woodridge, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 659 students and an admission rate of 37%. Westwood College-Dupage has an associate's degree program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD which graduated four students in 2008.

Purdue University-Calumet Campus - Hammond, IN

Purdue University-Calumet Campus, 2200 169th St, Hammond, IN 46323-2094. Purdue University-Calumet Campus is a medium sized university located in Hammond, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 9,325 students and an admission rate of 74%. Purdue University-Calumet Campus has an associate's degree program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD which graduated ten students in 2008.

McHenry County College - Crystal Lake, IL

McHenry County College, 8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012-2761. McHenry County College is a medium sized college located in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,374 students. McHenry County College has a less than one year program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician which graduated five students in 2008.

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College, 30 E Lake St, Chicago, IL 60601-2449. City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College is a medium sized college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,342 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD which graduated one and two students respectively in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD which graduated twenty-three and four students respectively in 2008.

Westwood College-River Oaks - Calumet City, IL

Westwood College-River Oaks, 80 River Oaks Ctr-Ste 111, Calumet City, IL 60409. Westwood College-River Oaks is a small college located in Calumet City, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 629 students and an admission rate of 37%. Westwood College-River Oaks has an associate's degree program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD.

Oakton Community College - Des Plaines, IL

Oakton Community College, 1600 E Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016-1268. Oakton Community College is a large college located in Des Plaines, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,552 students. Oakton Community College has 2 areas of study related to Architectural Drafter. They are:

  • CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician, less than one year which graduated 5 students in 2008.
  • Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD, less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree which graduated three, two, and four students respectively in 2008.

City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College, 4300 N Narragansett, Chicago, IL 60634-1500. City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College is a large college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,677 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD which graduated eleven and five students respectively in 2008.

Zarem Golde ORT Technical Institute - Skokie, IL

Zarem Golde ORT Technical Institute, 5440 Fargo Avenue, Skokie, IL 60077. Zarem Golde ORT Technical Institute is a small school located in Skokie, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 289 students and an admission rate of 94%. Zarem Golde ORT Technical Institute has a less than one year program in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated sixteen students in 2008.

Moraine Valley Community College - Palos Hills, IL

Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, IL 60465-0937. Moraine Valley Community College is a large college located in Palos Hills, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,477 students. Moraine Valley Community College has a less than one year program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician which graduated nine students in 2008.

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has 2 areas of study related to Architectural Drafter. They are:

  • CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician, associate's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD, less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree which graduated two, thirty, and six students respectively in 2008.

Prairie State College - Chicago Heights, IL

Prairie State College, 202 South Halsted Street, Chicago Heights, IL 60411-8226. Prairie State College is a medium sized college located in Chicago Heights, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,368 students. Prairie State College has a less than one year program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician which graduated two students in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Mount Prospect - Mount Prospect, IL

ITT Technical Institute-Mount Prospect, 1401 Feehanville Road, Mount Prospect, IL 60056-9823. ITT Technical Institute-Mount Prospect is a small school located in Mount Prospect, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 534 students and an admission rate of 40%. ITT Technical Institute-Mount Prospect has an associate's degree program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician which graduated twenty-nine students in 2008.

Robert Morris College - Chicago, IL

Robert Morris College, 401 S State Street, Chicago, IL 60605. Robert Morris College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,555 students and an admission rate of 79%. Robert Morris College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated twenty-two and seventeen students respectively in 2008.

Morton College - Cicero, IL

Morton College, 3801 S Central Ave, Cicero, IL 60804-4398. Morton College is a small college located in Cicero, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,959 students. Morton College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician which graduated two and four students respectively in 2008.

South Suburban College - South Holland, IL

South Suburban College, 15800 South State Street, South Holland, IL 60473-1200. South Suburban College is a medium sized college located in South Holland, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,105 students. South Suburban College has 2 areas of study related to Architectural Drafter. They are:

  • CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated one and two students respectively in 2008.
  • Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD, associate's degree.

ITT Technnical Institute-Orland Park - Orland Park, IL

ITT Technnical Institute-Orland Park, 11551 184th Place, Orland Park, IL 60467. ITT Technnical Institute-Orland Park is a small school located in Orland Park, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 525 students and an admission rate of 34%. ITT Technnical Institute-Orland Park has an associate's degree program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician which graduated twenty-five students in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Burr Ridge - Burr Ridge, IL

ITT Technical Institute-Burr Ridge, 7040 High Grove Blvd, Burr Ridge, IL 60527. ITT Technical Institute-Burr Ridge is a small school located in Burr Ridge, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 357 students and an admission rate of 40%. ITT Technical Institute-Burr Ridge has an associate's degree program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician.

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: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.