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Career and Education Opportunities for Architectural Drafters in Chattanooga, Tennessee

If you want to be an architectural drafter, the Chattanooga, Tennessee area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 2,240 jobs for architectural drafters in Tennessee and this is projected to shrink 5% to about 2,130 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for architectural drafters, which sees this job pool growing by about 9.1% over the next eight years. 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 $22 hourly or $47,190 annually on average in Tennessee. Nationally they average about $21 hourly or $44,490 yearly. Earnings for architectural drafters are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Drafting in Tennessee and not quite as good as general Drafting category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: architectural designer, commercial drafter, and structural drafter.

There are twenty schools of higher education in the Chattanooga area, including six within twenty-five miles of Chattanooga where you can get a degree to start your career as an architectural drafter. Architectural drafters usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so you can expect to spend about two years training to become 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 Chattanooga 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.
  • 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

Dalton State College - Dalton, GA

Dalton State College, 650 College Drive, Dalton, GA 30720-3797. Dalton State College is a small college located in Dalton, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 4,892 students. Dalton State College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated two and four students respectively in 2008.

Chattanooga State Technical Community College - Chattanooga, TN

Chattanooga State Technical Community College, 4501 Amnicola Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37406-1097. Chattanooga State Technical Community College is a medium sized college located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,488 students. Chattanooga State Technical Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated three and zero students respectively in 2008.

Virginia College-School of Business and Health - Chattanooga, TN

Virginia College-School of Business and Health, 721 Eastgate Loop Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37411. Virginia College-School of Business and Health is a small college located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 562 students and an admission rate of 91%. Virginia College-School of Business and Health has an associate's degree program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician.

ITT Technical Institute-Chattanooga - Chattanooga, TN

ITT Technical Institute-Chattanooga, 5600 Brainerd Rd Ste G1, Chattanooga, TN 37411. ITT Technical Institute-Chattanooga is a small school located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 125 students and an admission rate of 40%. ITT Technical Institute-Chattanooga has an associate's degree program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician.

Northwestern Technical College - Rock Spring, GA

Northwestern Technical College, 265 Bicentennial Trail, Rock Spring, GA 30739. Northwestern Technical College is a small college located in Rock Spring, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,335 students. Northwestern Technical College has 3 areas of study related to Architectural Drafter. They are:

  • Drafting and Design Technology/Technician, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated four and seven students respectively in 2008.
  • CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician, less than one year which graduated 12 students in 2008.
  • Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD, less than one year which graduated 9 students in 2008.

Southern Adventist University - Collegedale, TN

Southern Adventist University, 4881 Taylor Cir, Collegedale, TN 37315-0370. Southern Adventist University is a small university located in Collegedale, Tennessee. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,731 students and an admission rate of 70%. Southern Adventist University has an associate's degree program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD which graduated two 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: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga, Tennessee photo by Avala

Chattanooga is situated in Hamilton County, Tennessee. It has a population of over 170,880, which has grown by 9.9% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chattanooga, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Chattanooga are priced at $141,100 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-two new homes were built in Chattanooga, down from four hundred forty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Chattanooga are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 21.5% of Chattanooga residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chattanooga is 9.5%, which is less than Tennessee's average of 10.2%.

The percentage of Chattanooga residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.2%, is more than both the national and state average. Stuart Heights Baptist Church, Kings Point Church and Stanley United Methodist Church are some of the churches located in Chattanooga. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Non-Charismatic Churches Independent.

Chattanooga is home to the Creeks Bend Golf Club and the Concord Golf Course as well as Warner Park and Ross Landing City Park. Shopping malls in the area include Northgate Mall, Northgate Crossing Shopping Center and Lee Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Chattanooga can choose from Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Crystal Air Sport Motel and Hampton Inn Chattanooga I-75 North for temporary stays in the area.