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Career and Education Opportunities for Architectural Drafters in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Architectural drafter career and educational opportunities abound in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There are currently 2,190 working architectural drafters in Michigan; this should grow 3% to about 2,270 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%. Architectural drafters generally prepare detailed drawings of architectural designs and plans for buildings and structures according to specifications provided by architect.

Architectural drafters earn approximately $21 per hour or $45,180 annually on average in Michigan. Nationally they average about $21 hourly or $44,490 per year. Earnings for architectural drafters are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Drafting in Michigan and not quite as good as general Drafting category earnings nationally. People working as architectural drafters can fill a number of jobs, such as: cadd operator , oil and gas drafter, and drafting technician.

There are four schools within twenty-five miles of Grand Rapids where you can study to be an architectural drafter, among nineteen schools of higher education total in the Grand Rapids area. Architectural drafters usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so it will take about two years to learn 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 Grand Rapids 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Architectural Drafter Training

Muskegon Community College - Muskegon, MI

Muskegon Community College, 221 S Quarterline Rd, Muskegon, MI 49442-1432. Muskegon Community College is a small college located in Muskegon, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,747 students. Muskegon Community 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.

Baker College of Muskegon - Muskegon, MI

Baker College of Muskegon, 1903 Marquette Ave, Muskegon, MI 49442. Baker College of Muskegon is a medium sized college located in Muskegon, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,214 students. Baker College of Muskegon has an associate's degree program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD which graduated six students in 2008.

Montcalm Community College - Sidney, MI

Montcalm Community College, 2800 College Dr, Sidney, MI 48885-9723. Montcalm Community College is a small college located in Sidney, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,119 students. Montcalm Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated three and two students respectively in 2008.

Grand Rapids Community College - Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids Community College, 143 Bostwick Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3295. Grand Rapids Community College is a large college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,403 students. Grand Rapids Community College has an associate's degree program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD which graduated sixteen students in 2008.


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: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan photo by Grguy2011

Grand Rapids is located in Kent County, Michigan. It has a population of over 193,396, which has shrunk by 2.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Grand Rapids, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Grand Rapids cost $98,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, forty-three new homes were built in Grand Rapids, down from ninety-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Grand Rapids are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 23.8% of Grand Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Grand Rapids is 15.4%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Grand Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Church of Jesus Christ, Immanuel Church and Trinity Church are among the churches located in Grand Rapids. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America.

Grand Rapids is home to the Kent Country Club and the Walker Juvenile Court as well as Comstock Riverside Park and Richmond Park. Visitors to Grand Rapids can choose from Hampton Inn Grand Rapids, Hampton Inn Grand Rapids/North- Mi and Hampton Inn Fax for temporary stays in the area.