Your bright future is waiting and there are thousands of doors to knock on. Every one of us has our own talents and passions. If we could, we’d take them anywhere we go and turn them into careers, finding ways to earn a living from them. 

Making a living through using their passion and talent is what many visual artists do, by pursuing careers in drafting and CAD design. If you’re a creative person who likes to express yourself through your gifted artistic hands, a career as a CAD designer or drafter could be the role for you!

Drafting and Design: Why It’s Worth Pursuing

Individuals who make a career in drafting enjoy visual design and technology. These interests come together through the use of computer-aided design (CAD) platforms. With these tools, drafters and CAD designers create and flesh out remarkable products, parts, homes, office buildings, and more, depending on the industry they are in.

1. Various industries need drafting and CAD design.

Drafting and CAD design are a base on which the future is built. You have so many things you can design that help the world drive innovation forward.

Working in drafting and design is always interesting, especially if you love art. You can even jump from one industry to another, doing similar work in different settings. 

Of course, there will be technical skills that you need to learn along the way. The challenge is worth the effort to stretch your horizon and further your drafting and design career, should you choose to make the effort.

To help you figure out which industry is best for you, here are some of the leading industries needing drafters, and what your responsibilities might be in each:  


As a drafter, you would draw housing structures and commercial building plans.

Civil Engineering

A civil drafter creates plans for infrastructure like bridges, highways, and pipelines. 


An automotive designer draws parts and bodies for vehicles needed for private, public, or industrial use.


If you prefer aircraft, then you can design airplanes, jets, helicopters, and other aircraft you can find in the sky.


Just as there are land and air vehicle drafters, marine industries also need drafters for boats, ships, submarines, and other watercraft vehicles.


Electronic drafters draw small electronic parts and components like microchips.


Mechanical drafters create plans for parts that power and operate various products.

2. It takes advantage of the latest technology.

Being trained to use multiple software programs and tools allows you to accomplish tasks easily and effectively. Learning this technology helps you be more flexible, and you can easily jump to different organizations or industries that use the same tools.

Knowing different tools gives you an advantage in the industry. Each one of them has its own use and some may be more appropriate to use than others. Depending on use cases, you might favor one tool over the other. 

Let’s look at common tools out there. We’re sure you’ve heard of these. 


A 3D CAD program that you can access for free. It can easily create 3D models of houses, interiors, bags, accessories, and more.

Surface Studio

An all-in-one PC platform by Microsoft that promotes a touch-heavy interface for architects, engineers, and drafters. 


An augmented reality and 3D visualization platform that allows architects, designers, and engineers to make their presentations more interactive than traditional drawings. It enables designers to navigate 3D scale models virtually wherever they may be.

3. You get paid competitively.

Your creativity will pay off!

A career in drafting can pay you an average of $64,348 a year.1 Design and drafting roles sometimes pay even more, depending on experience and expertise.

In some places, the average pay for drafters and designers is even higher:  

  • Portland – $71,324
  • Seattle – $66,661
  • Sacramento – $72,306
  • Pittsburgh – $71,415
  • Houston – $71,415  

Getting Started on Your Drafting and Design Career

Prepare strategically for a career in drafting and design, especially if you have the visual arts talent or passion needed for the work. 

You will be collaborating with engineers, architects, and developers to determine exact product specifications, requirements, and controls. Prepare yourself ahead of time by knowing exactly what you need if you ever want to work as a CAD designer.

Here’s some tips for career success:

1. Be creative and receptive to feedback. 

Your unique ideas will define how your creations will stand out. 

However, you must also be willing to receive and incorporate feedback from others since design is a team effort. Having great talent in drawing doesn’t mean there won’t be more things to learn. 

Your skills and experience will only grow if you can gracefully manage criticisms and apply them to improve your craft. 

2. Appreciate the structure of things and how they work. 

In this career, you will be designing with a purpose. You need to appreciate details and how things function. 

Actions as simple as reducing or adding decimals to measurements will affect your final product. Get familiar with symbols and detailed directions, since your work will require illustrating processes for others.

3. Be open to learning new tools and software. 

Drafting and design tasks are heavily aided by technology, especially computers, and programs. You may need to learn multiple software programs and tools to easily adapt to an employer’s requirements. 

Even when you get hired, employers may ask you to adjust to the tools they are more comfortable using on their end. Drafters and CAD designers use multiple platforms, and each organization does things a little differently.

Look at the challenging task of learning new tools as a way to improve your knowledge and skills. Find enjoyment in the learning process.

4. Acquire Related Degrees and Enroll in Training.

You may choose to complete a degree related to drafting and design to have a steadier footing when you first enter the industry. Some of the things you will learn in class may include technical drawing layouts, product design, scale and proportion, 2D and 3D modeling, and manufacturing processes.

Consider at least an associate degree, which covers a broad range of drafting and design topics. It also gives hands-on practice on more types of drafting projects, so you can explore your options. 

You may also take certificate courses for specific topics, such as mechanical drafting and computer-aided drafting, to potentially apply for roles sooner or to expand your knowledge.

5. Know How to Get Connected to Your Dream Career.

Research which industries and organizations need drafters. Read testimonials or ask industry professionals for assistance. 

Be Ready to Design Your First Project.

If you ever decide to become a drafter or designer, remember to create with a purpose and produce something that’s uniquely yours. You’ll do great!

More Career Tips: 9 Tech Tools You Should Master to Be the Best Drafter and Designer in 2023


The best way to find employment as a drafter or designer is a staffing firm specializing in these roles. Connecting with a staffing firm like ACS Professional Staffing can help you find the best possible roles for your needs.

ACS is a leader in staffing and workforce solutions, including drafting and design roles. We effectively build sustainable business connections with our clients, candidates, and employees. 

We’ll help you connect with potential employers so you can acquire the role and benefits that you want.

Let’s talk about your plans!


1 “Drafter salary in United States”. . Accessed last March 23, 2023.