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Career and Education Opportunities for Architectural Drafters in Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for architectural drafters. There are currently 3,360 working architectural drafters in Washington; this should grow 32% to about 4,450 working architectural drafters in the state by 2016. This is better than 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 $20 per hour or $42,960 annually on average in Washington. 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 Washington and not quite as good as general Drafting category earnings nationally. Architectural drafters work in a variety of jobs, including: computer aided drafter, draftsman, and architecture drafter.

The Seattle area is home to sixty-five schools of higher education, including thirteen within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree as an architectural drafter. Given that the most common education level 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 Seattle 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

Shoreline Community College - Shoreline, WA

Shoreline Community College, 16101 Greenwood Ave N, Shoreline, WA 98133-5696. Shoreline Community College is a medium sized college located in Shoreline, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,823 students. Shoreline Community College has a one to two year program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician which graduated one student in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Everett - Everett, WA

ITT Technical Institute-Everett, 1615 75th Street Sw, Suite 220, Everett, WA 98203. ITT Technical Institute-Everett is a small school located in Everett, Washington. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 481 students and an admission rate of 45%. ITT Technical Institute-Everett has an associate's degree program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom - Lakewood, WA

Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom, 9401 Farwest Dr SW, Lakewood, WA 98498-1999. Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom is a medium sized college located in Lakewood, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,632 students. Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom has a less than one year program in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated fourteen students in 2008.

Highline Community College - Des Moines, WA

Highline Community College, 2400 S 240th St, Des Moines, WA 98198-9800. Highline Community College is a medium sized college located in Des Moines, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,267 students. Highline Community College has an associate's degree program in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated one student in 2008.

Seattle Community College-North Campus - Seattle, WA

Seattle Community College-North Campus, 9600 College Way North, Seattle, WA 98103-3599. Seattle Community College-North Campus is a medium sized college located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,159 students. Seattle Community College-North Campus has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Civil Drafting and Civil Engineering CAD/CADD which graduated three and four students respectively in 2008.

Everett Community College - Everett, WA

Everett Community College, 2000 Tower Street, Everett, WA 98201. Everett Community College is a medium sized college located in Everett, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,765 students. Everett Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated five and six students respectively in 2008.

Green River Community College - Auburn, WA

Green River Community College, 12401 SE 320th St, Auburn, WA 98092-3622. Green River Community College is a medium sized college located in Auburn, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,544 students. Green River Community College has 2 areas of study related to Architectural Drafter. They are:

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

Tacoma Community College - Tacoma, WA

Tacoma Community College, 6501 S 19th St, Tacoma, WA 98466-6100. Tacoma Community College is a medium sized college located in Tacoma, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,942 students. Tacoma Community College has a less than one year program in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated twelve students in 2008.

Lake Washington Technical College - Kirkland, WA

Lake Washington Technical College, 11605 132nd Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98034-8506. Lake Washington Technical College is a small college located in Kirkland, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,010 students. Lake Washington Technical College has 3 areas of study related to Architectural Drafter. They are:

  • CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated one and ten students respectively in 2008.
  • Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated two and twelve students respectively in 2008.
  • Civil Drafting and Civil Engineering CAD/CADD, associate's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Seattle - Seattle, WA

ITT Technical Institute-Seattle, 12720 Gateway Dr Ste 100, Seattle, WA 98168-2610. ITT Technical Institute-Seattle is a small school located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 541 students and an admission rate of 36%. ITT Technical Institute-Seattle has an associate's degree program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician which graduated twenty-one students in 2008.

Seattle Community College-South Campus - Seattle, WA

Seattle Community College-South Campus, 6000 16th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98106-1499. Seattle Community College-South Campus is a medium sized college located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,319 students. Seattle Community College-South Campus has an associate's degree program in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated one student in 2008.

Olympic College - Bremerton, WA

Olympic College, 1600 Chester Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337-1699. Olympic College is a medium sized college located in Bremerton, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 6,596 students. Olympic College has 2 areas of study related to Architectural Drafter. They are:

  • Drafting and Design Technology/Technician, less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree which graduated eleven, one, and six students respectively in 2008.
  • CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician, less than one year which graduated 52 students in 2008.

Renton Technical College - Renton, WA

Renton Technical College, 3000 NE Fourth St, Renton, WA 98056-4195. Renton Technical College is a small college located in Renton, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,708 students. Renton Technical College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated one, fourteen, and seven 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: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.