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Career and Education Opportunities for Civil Draftsmen in Charleston, West Virginia

If you want to be a civil draftsman, the Charleston, West Virginia area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. The national trend for civil draftsmen sees this job pool growing by about 9.1% over the next eight years. In general, civil draftsmen 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.

A person working as a civil draftsman can expect to earn about $18 hourly or $38,170 annually on average in West Virginia and about $21 hourly or $44,490 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Drafting, people working as civil draftsmen in West Virginia earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Drafting nationally. Jobs in this field include: steel detailer, drafting technician, and plumbing designer.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Charleston area, including five within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can get a degree to start your career as a civil draftsman. Given that the most common education level for civil draftsmen is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, it will take about two years to learn to be a civil draftsman if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Civil Draftsman

In general, civil draftsmen 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 draftsmen produce drawings using computer-assisted drafting systems (CAD) or drafting machines, or by hand using compasses, dividers, protractors, triangles and other drafting devices. They also draft plans and detailed drawings for structures and construction projects such as highways, sewage disposal systems, and dikes, working from sketches or notes. Equally important, civil draftsmen have to decide on the order of work and method of presentation. They are often called upon to finish and duplicate drawings and documentation packages, in line with required mediums and requirements for reproduction using blueprinting or other duplicating methods. They are expected to inspect rough sketches and other engineering data received from civil engineers to insure that they conform to layout concepts. Finally, civil draftsmen explain drawings to production or construction teams and furnish adjustments as needed.

Every day, civil draftsmen are expected to be able to read and understand documents and reports. They need to see details at a very fine level of focus. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for civil draftsmen to decide on quality, cost, strength and quantity of required materials, and enter figures on materials lists. They are often called upon to locate and identify symbols located on topographical surveys to denote geological and geophysical formations or oil field installations. They also calculate weights and stress factors and their implications for technical aspects of designs. They are sometimes expected to supervise or conduct field surveys, inspections or technical investigations to obtain data used to revise construction drawings. Somewhat less frequently, civil draftsmen are also expected to produce drawings using computer-assisted drafting systems (CAD) or drafting machines, or by hand using compasses, dividers, protractors, triangles and other drafting devices.

And finally, they sometimes have to inspect rough sketches and other engineering data received from civil engineers to insure that they conform to layout concepts.

Like many other jobs, civil draftsmen must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Charleston include:

  • Architectural Drafter. Prepare detailed drawings of architectural designs and plans for buildings and structures according to specifications provided by architect.
  • CAD/CAM Specialist. Prepare detailed working diagrams of machinery and mechanical devices, including dimensions, and other engineering information.
  • 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.
  • 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: Civil Draftsman Training

Putnam Career and Technical Center - Eleanor, WV

Putnam Career and Technical Center, 101 Roosevelt Boulevard, Eleanor, WV 25070-0640. Putnam Career and Technical Center is a small school located in Eleanor, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 110 students. Putnam Career and Technical Center has a one to two year program in Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD.

Community and Technical College at West Virginia University Institute of Technology - Montgomery, WV

Community and Technical College at West Virginia University Institute of Technology, 405 Fayette Pike, Montgomery, WV 25136. Community and Technical College at West Virginia University Institute of Technology is a small university located in Montgomery, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 743 students. Community and Technical College at West Virginia University Institute of Technology has an associate's degree program in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician which graduated four students in 2008.

Carver Career Center - Charleston, WV

Carver Career Center, 4799 Midland Dr, Charleston, WV 25306-6397. Carver Career Center is a small school located in Charleston, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 391 students. Carver Career Center has a less than one year program in Drafting and Design Technology/Technician.

Ben Franklin Career Center - Dunbar, WV

Ben Franklin Career Center, 500 28th St, Dunbar, WV 25064. Ben Franklin Career Center is a small school located in Dunbar, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 390 students. Ben Franklin Career Center has a one to two year program in CAD/CADD Drafting and/or Design Technology/Technician which graduated five students in 2008.

West Virginia State Community and Technical College - Institute, WV

West Virginia State Community and Technical College, 103 Cole Complex, Institute, WV 25112-1000. West Virginia State Community and Technical College is a small college located in Institute, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,741 students. West Virginia State Community and Technical College has 2 areas of study related to Civil Draftsman. They are:

  • Drafting and Design Technology/Technician, associate's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Architectural Drafting and Architectural CAD/CADD, associate's degree which graduated 3 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: Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia photo by Malepheasant

Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.