Drafters drawings provide visual guidelines; show the technical details of the products and structures; and specify dimensions, materials, and procedures. Drafters fill in technical details using drawings, rough sketches, specifications, codes, and calculations previously made by engineers, surveyors, architects, or scientists. Drafters use technical handbooks, tables, calculators, and computers to complete their work.
Traditionally, drafters sat at drawing boards and used pencils, pens, compasses, protractors, triangles, and other drafting devices to prepare a drawing manually. Most drafters now use CADD systems to prepare drawings. Consequently, some drafters may be referred to as CADD operators. CADD systems employ computers to create and store drawings electronically that can then be viewed, printed, or programmed directly into automated manufacturing systems.
Most drafters work a standard 40-hour week; only a small number work part time. Drafters usually work in comfortable offices furnished to accommodate their tasks. They may sit at adjustable drawing boards or drafting tables when doing manual drawings, although most drafters work at computer terminals much of the time.
Typical Requirements and/or Experience
Employers are most interested in applicants with well-developed drafting and mechanical drawing skills; knowledge of drafting standards, mathematics, science, and engineering technology; and a solid background in CADD techniques. In addition, communication and problem-solving skills are important.
Training and coursework differ somewhat within the drafting specialties. The initial training for each specialty is similar. All incorporate math and communication skills, for example, but coursework relating to the specialty varies. In an electronics drafting program, for example, students learn how to depict electronic components and circuits in drawings. Individuals planning careers in drafting should take courses in mathematics, science, computer technology, design, and computer graphics, as well as any high school drafting courses available. Mechanical ability and visual aptitude are important.
Employers prefer applicants who have completed postsecondary school training in drafting, training that is offered by technical institutes, community colleges, and some 4-year colleges and universities.
Married and unmarried men and women, with or without children are eligible. Persons who are widowed or divorced, also are eligible.
It is the policy of most aviation companies to provide equal employment opportunity to all individuals regardless of their race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. Most aviation companies are strongly committed to this policy, and believe in the concept and spirit of the United States law.
Most aviation companies are committed to assuring that:
All recruiting, hiring, training, promotion, compensation, and other employment related programs are provided fairly to all persons on an equal opportunity basis without regard to race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status or any other characteristic protected by law;
Employment decisions are based on the principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action;
All personnel actions such as compensation, benefits, transfers, training, and participation in social and recreational programs are administered without regard to race, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status or any other characteristic protected by law, and;
Employees and applicants will not be subjected to harassment, intimidation, threats, coercion or discrimination because they have exercised any right protected by law.
Most aviation companies believe in and practice equal opportunity and affirmative action. All employees are responsible for supporting the concept of equal opportunity and affirmative action and assisting the company in meeting its objectives.
Most aviation companies maintain Affirmative Action Plans for minorities, women, disabled persons and veterans.
EEOC has jurisdiction of the prohibitions against employment discrimination codified in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age and disability.
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) enforce the prohibitions against federal employment discrimination codified in the CSRA. The OSC will defer those bases of discrimination under EEOC's jurisdiction to the respective federal agency and its EEO process. The CSRA also prohibits employment discrimination in the federal government based on marital status, political affiliation and conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee, none of which are within EEOC's jurisdiction. Moreover, the law defines ten other prohibited personnel practices in the federal government, all of which fall under the jurisdiction of the OSC and the MSPB. See Prohibited Personnel Practices at http://www.osc.gov/ppp.htm.
Additional information may also be found on the the EEOC web site located at http://www.eeoc.gov/
Opportunities for Advancement
Entry-level or junior drafters usually do routine work under close supervision. After gaining experience, they may become intermediate drafters and progress to more difficult work with less supervision. At the intermediate level, they may need to exercise more judgment and perform calculations when preparing and modifying drawings. Drafters may eventually advance to senior drafter, designer, or supervisor. Many employers pay for continuing education, and, with appropriate college degrees, drafters may go on to become engineering technicians, engineers, or architects.
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Outlook for the Future
Industrial growth and increasingly complex design problems associated with new products and manufacturing processes will increase the demand for drafting services. Further, drafters are beginning to break out of the traditional drafting role and do work traditionally performed by engineers and architects, thus also increasing demand for drafters. The aviation industry has gone through periods of tremendous success and innovation, and periods of intense challenges. Today, aviation plays a critical role in our economy and the future of aviation will depend on business and personal travel, aviation fuel costs, and government subsidy and intervention.
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