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Career and Education Opportunities for Architectural Drafters in Billings, Montana

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for architectural drafters in the Billings, Montana area. Currently, 470 people work as architectural drafters in Montana. This is expected to grow by 12% to 530 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for architectural drafters, which sees this job pool growing by about 9.1% over the next eight years. In general, architectural drafters prepare detailed drawings of architectural designs and plans for buildings and structures according to specifications provided by architect.

Income for architectural drafters is about $17 per hour or $36,100 annually on average in Montana. Nationally, their income is about $21 hourly or $44,490 per year. Incomes for architectural drafters are not quite as good as in the overall category of Drafting in Montana, and not quite as good as the overall Drafting category nationally. People working as architectural drafters can fill a number of jobs, such as: plumbing drafter, detailer, and plumbing designer.

The Billings area is home to four schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Billings where you can get a degree as an architectural drafter. The most common level of education for architectural drafters is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. 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 Billings include:

  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Architectural Drafter Training

Montana State University-Billings-College of Technology - Billings, MT

Montana State University-Billings-College of Technology, 3803 Central Ave, Billings, MT 59102-9856. Montana State University-Billings-College of Technology is a small university located in Billings, Montana. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,157 students. Montana State University-Billings-College of Technology has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated one and eighteen students respectively 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: Billings, Montana

Billings, Montana
Billings, Montana photo by Pruhter

Billings is situated in Yellowstone County, Montana. It has a population of over 103,994, which has grown by 15.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Billings, 88, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Billings are valued at $132,200 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred nineteen new homes were built in Billings, down from six hundred four the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Billings are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 16 minutes. More than 28.5% of Billings residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Billings is 4.4%, which is less than Montana's average of 5.8%.

The percentage of Billings residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 48.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Billings is home to the Twin Pines Ranch and the Hilands Golf Club as well as Cobb Field and Pioneer Park. Visitors to Billings can choose from Western Executive Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Big 5 Motel for temporary stays in the area.