Updated June 2021
If you're naturally interested in architecture, the building process, and creative design, you may be considering a career as a draftsperson for an architecture or design firm.
What exactly does an architectural draftsperson do? Where do they work and what kind of training do you need to get started in this field?
There's the university pathway, which could include an undergraduate degree in architecture or interior design. Or there's the college diploma route, which prepares students to serve as architectural technicians who assist architects, engineers, and designers on building projects.
In this post, we'll break down the typical responsibilities of an architectural draftsperson/technician.
We'll also outline possible career paths after college -- and a few other things to know if you're considering training in this field.
What does an Architectural Draftsperson Do?
If you take a look at job postings, you'll notice several different titles used to describe the role of architectural draftsperson. These include:
- Architectural technician
- Architectural assistant
- CAD technician
- Junior designer/design assistant
- Architectural drafting technician
- Architectural technologist
Essentially, all of these titles describe the same kind of design professional: someone who is trained to develop the technical drawings and specifications for building projects.
After the architect or senior designer develops the idea for a project, the architectural draftsperson works out the technical details. Their duties often include tasks like:
- Preparing accurate (up to code) 2D and 3D architectural drawings using a computer-aided design (CAD) program, complete with cross-sections and elevations
- Preparing estimates of labour and materials costs
- Coordinating with clients and supervising builders to ensure projects stay on budget
- Proposing creative solutions to technical design challenges
- Reading and interpreting blueprints
- Visiting a building site to take measurements for a renovation or new project
- Monitoring building progress to ensure the design concept is correctly carried out
- Completing administrative tasks at the office
- Applying for permits
Career Paths in Architectural Drafting
After gaining experience, architectural technicians can run client consultations independently, determine the scope of the project and what the client is looking for, and propose some initial design ideas.
There is room for entrepreneurship in this career as well. Some technicians freelance, working for several architecture/design firms and setting their own pay rates and schedules.
If you choose a career in architectural drafting, you may end up specializing in one particular area, such as high-end residential design, commercial developments, or municipal structures (hospitals, schools, etc.)
Or you could work for a firm that develops projects in more than one area and diversify your experience and skillset.
Architectural drafters are employed by construction companies and engineering, architecture, and design firms.
See where this graduate got hired: Meet Dorian: My Experience in Herzing's Building Design Program
Check out another success story: Meet Albino: How I Re-started My Building Design Career in Canada
What Will You Learn in Architectural Technician Training?
Architectural drafting is primarily about developing schematics, drawings, blueprints, and other kinds of design plans.
For that reason, training programs focus strongly on computer software and technical drafting skills.
If you pursue architectural technician training, you can expect your coursework to cover:
- Project management software
- AutoCAD 2D
- AutoCAD 3D
- Revit—Building Information Modelling
- Design principles
- Sketching and drawing
- The Ontario Building Code
- How to put together permit applications
You will be challenged to develop both creative and technical skills with this program—thinking outside the box while adhering to a strict set of design rules and specifications.
Students need strong problem-solving skills to excel in this training and career path, as well as a genuine love for art and design.
Want to Learn More?
If you still have questions about becoming an architectural drafter, we strongly recommend speaking with an admissions advisor. An advisor will walk you through courses, career options, and the skills you'll need to be successful in this field.
Start by exploring Herzing's 12-month Building Design Technician program. This diploma program teaches practical skills in architectural drafting, building codes, and CAD software, and includes a work placement.
Click for a complete overview of training and chat live with an advisor.