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Career and Education Opportunities for Architectural Drafters in Alexandria, Virginia

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for architectural drafters in the Alexandria, Virginia area. The national trend for architectural drafters 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.

A person working as an architectural drafter can expect to earn about $20 per hour or $43,280 per year on average in Virginia and about $21 per hour or $44,490 per year 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 Virginia and not quite as good as general Drafting category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: steel detailer, cadd drafter , and plumbing drafter.

The Alexandria area is home to eighty-four schools of higher education, including nine within twenty-five miles of Alexandria 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. 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 Alexandria 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.
  • 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

Montgomery College - Rockville, MD

Montgomery College, 40 W. Gude Drive, Suite 220, Rockville, MD 20850. Montgomery College is a large college located in Rockville, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,452 students. Montgomery College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD which graduated twenty-eight and thirty-nine students respectively in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Springfield - Springfield, VA

ITT Technical Institute-Springfield, 7300 Boston Blvd, Springfield, VA 22153. ITT Technical Institute-Springfield is a small school located in Springfield, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 744 students and an admission rate of 51%. ITT Technical Institute-Springfield has an associate's degree program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician which graduated nineteen students in 2008.

Anne Arundel Community College - Arnold, MD

Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Pky, Arnold, MD 21012-1895. Anne Arundel Community College is a large college located in Arnold, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,149 students. Anne Arundel Community College has 2 areas of study related to Architectural Drafter. They are:

  • Drafting and Design Technology/Technician, one to two year which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD, associate's degree which graduated 34 students in 2008.

Prince George's Community College - Largo, MD

Prince George's Community College, 301 Largo Rd, Largo, MD 20774-2199. Prince George's Community College is a large college located in Largo, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,005 students. Prince George's Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated zero and one students respectively in 2008.

College of Southern Maryland - La Plata, MD

College of Southern Maryland, 8730 Mitchell Rd, La Plata, MD 20646-0910. College of Southern Maryland is a medium sized college located in La Plata, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,240 students. College of Southern Maryland has 2 areas of study related to Architectural Drafter. They are:

  • Drafting and Design Technology/Technician, one to two year.
  • CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician, one to two year which graduated 10 students in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Chantilly - Chantilly, VA

ITT Technical Institute-Chantilly, 14420 Albemarle Point Pl, Ste100, Chantilly, VA 20151. ITT Technical Institute-Chantilly is a small school located in Chantilly, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 521 students and an admission rate of 44%. ITT Technical Institute-Chantilly has an associate's degree program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician which graduated twenty-four students in 2008.

Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale, VA

Northern Virginia Community College, 4001 Wakefield Chapel Rd, Annandale, VA 22003-3796. Northern Virginia Community College is a large college located in Annandale, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,870 students. Northern Virginia Community College has 3 areas of study related to Architectural Drafter. They are:

  • Architectural Technology/Technician, associate's degree which graduated 23 students in 2008.
  • CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician, one to two year.
  • Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD, one to two year which graduated 12 students in 2008.

Westwood College-Annandale - Annandale, VA

Westwood College-Annandale, 7619 Little River Turnpike, 5th Floor, Annandale, VA 22003. Westwood College-Annandale is a small college located in Annandale, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 362 students. Westwood College-Annandale has an associate's degree program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD which graduated six students in 2008.

Westwood College-Arlington Ballston - Arlington, VA

Westwood College-Arlington Ballston, 4300 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 200, Arlington, VA 22203. Westwood College-Arlington Ballston is a small college located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 293 students. Westwood College-Arlington Ballston has an associate's degree program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD which graduated three 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: Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia photo by SchuminWeb

Alexandria is situated in Alexandria City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 143,885, which has grown by 12.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Alexandria, 124, is far greater than the national average.

The three big industries for women in Alexandria are professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 54.3% of Alexandria residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Alexandria is 4.6%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.

Church of Resurrection Episcopal, Agudas Achim Synagogue and Alexandria Bible Church are some of the churches located in Alexandria.

Alexandria is home to the Circle Terrace Hospital and the Kate Waller Barrett Branch as well as Marina Park and Founders Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hamlet Shopping Center, Landmark Shopping Center and Arlandria Shopping Center. Visitors to Alexandria can choose from Comfort Inn-Landmark, Best Western Old Colony Inn and Hilton Inn for temporary stays in the area.