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Career and Education Opportunities for Architectural Drafters in Vancouver, Washington

There are many career and education opportunities for architectural drafters in the Vancouver, Washington area. About 3,360 people are currently employed as architectural drafters in Washington. By 2016, this is expected to grow 32% to 4,450 people employed. 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. Architectural drafters generally prepare detailed drawings of architectural designs and plans for buildings and structures according to specifications provided by architect.

The income of an architectural drafter is about $20 hourly or $42,960 yearly on average in Washington. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $21 hourly or $44,490 per year on average. 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. People working as architectural drafters can fill a number of jobs, such as: drafting technician, truss designer, and commercial drafter.

The Vancouver area is home to forty-eight schools of higher education, including five within twenty-five miles of Vancouver 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, 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 Vancouver 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

Mt Hood Community College - Gresham, OR

Mt Hood Community College, 26000 SE Stark St, Gresham, OR 97030. Mt Hood Community College is a medium sized college located in Gresham, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,251 students. Mt Hood Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD.

Portland Community College - Portland, OR

Portland Community College, 12000 SW 49th Avenue, Portland, OR 97219-7132. Portland Community College is a large college located in Portland, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,657 students. Portland Community College has 2 areas of study related to Architectural Drafter. They are:

  • Drafting and Design Technology/Technician, less than one year which graduated 12 students in 2008.
  • Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD, associate's degree which graduated 14 students in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Portland - Portland, OR

ITT Technical Institute-Portland, 9500 NE Cascades Parkway, Portland, OR 97220. ITT Technical Institute-Portland is a small school located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 816 students and an admission rate of 50%. ITT Technical Institute-Portland has an associate's degree program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician which graduated twenty-five students in 2008.

Clackamas Community College - Oregon City, OR

Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Ave, Oregon City, OR 97045-8980. Clackamas Community College is a medium sized college located in Oregon City, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,701 students. Clackamas Community College has 3 areas of study related to Architectural Drafter. They are:

  • Drafting and Design Technology/Technician, associate's degree which graduated 11 students in 2008.
  • CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician, associate's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD, associate's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.

Clark College - Vancouver, WA

Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, WA 98663-3598. Clark College is a large college located in Vancouver, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,378 students. Clark College has a one to two year program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician which graduated four 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: Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver, Washington photo by Matthiasb

Vancouver is located in Clark County, Washington. It has a population of over 163,186, which has grown by 13.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Vancouver, 98, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Vancouver are priced at $95,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred eighty new homes were built in Vancouver, down from four hundred twenty the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Vancouver are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 21.7% of Vancouver residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

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

The percentage of Vancouver residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 27.9%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Vancouver is home to the Vancouver Square and the Vancouver Plaza as well as Leverich Park and Wintler Park. Shopping malls in the area include Arbours Shopping Center, Millport Shopping Center and Vancouver Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Vancouver can choose from Comfort Suites Vancouver, Homewood Suites Portland-Vancouver and Best Western Hotel and Suites Vacouver Mall Dr for temporary stays in the area.