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Architects and Draftsmen: How Do They Differ?

Career News November 7, 2012

Although architects and draftsmen often do similar tasks, draftsmen perform a broader role and they can make a contribution that finds applicability in different specialties. Architects requires more college education and primarily involved in construction projects.

While both architects and draftsmen contribute to construction projects and often together, these two professions are very different in terms of responsibilities, skills and educational backgrounds. In this article, I will discuss how they differ in the nature of work they perform and their educational requirements along with salary expectation.

What Architectures Do

Architecture design and build structures in the form of complexes, schools, office buildings and homes for private and public use serving both outdoor and indoor purposes. Apart from overall aesthetics, architectures need to pay attention to aspects of safety, functionality and economy of the structures they’ve design. Architectures remain committed to the construction projects they have worked on from the initial planning right up to the completion of the project.

To help with their design and drafting, architectures employ computer aided tools such as CADD along with other software. Their construction drawings are made with the assistance of building information modeling (BIM), ensuring that such drawings adhere to ordinances like fire regulations, building codes and zoning laws. Architectures have to ensure handicapped people are able to access the structures they’ve designed and helped create.

What Draftsmen Do

As already pointed out earlier, draftsmen do some similar things as architectures and often work together with them. Akin to architectures, draftsmen make drawings by using CADD, but apart from design and construction, draftsmen find applicability in many other fields. Mechanical designs and circuitry drawings needs draftsmen.

Procedures, dimensions and materials and technical detailing represent a draftsman’s CADD drawings.  In creating their drawings, draftsmen employ technical handbooks, calculators and tables, apart from CADD.

Draftsmen do different tasks depending on their area of specialization. For instance, new construction projects requires the hiring of architectural drafters to make drawings. Such drafters have specialized areas of interest and skills. For instance, a draftsman could specialize in either commercial or residential buildings. Or he might be an expert in the type of building materials used such as reinforced concrete, steel or wood. There are civil drafters who specialize in making drawings for projects relating to civil engineering. These are projects devised to control floods, sewage disposal projects or bridge and highway construction projects. Architectures, electronics and aeronautics are three common fields in which draftsmen are needed.

Educational Requirements

Architectures require a minimum qualification of a bachelor degree. A five-year degree course trains potential architectures in areas such as technology, math, construction methods, history of architecture and CADD. Such degree courses provide students work experience through internships. Architectures working in the United States must satisfy licensure requirements that call for completion of an Architect Registration Examination apart from the bachelor degree and internship. Licenses are renewed periodically based on continuing education that could take the form of workshops, conferences and classes.

Recruiters prefer draftsmen with college education. Drafting can be learned via certificate, diploma and degree courses in technical colleges, institutes and even in military service.

Wage Levels

As of May 2012, architectures earned an average annual salary of $78,880, with high-end income earners drawing $122,640. Draftsmen’s salaries depend on their specialty. For instance, architectural drafters drew an average annual salary of $47,710 in May 2012, while electrical drafters averaged $54,800 (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

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