Employment of drafters is projected to decline 3 percent from 2014 to 2024. Employment growth will vary by specialty.
Computer-aided design (CAD) and building information modeling (BIM) technologies allow engineers and architects to perform many tasks that used to be done by drafters, which may curb demand for all drafters. However, CAD and BIM software both require someone to build and maintain large databases, and drafters experienced with this software will be needed to work with these databases.
Employment of mechanical drafters is projected to decline 7 percent from 2014 to 2024. Although some mechanical drafters will be needed to aid in designing machines, vehicles, and medical equipment, increased use of CAD by related engineers will reduce the need for these workers compared with what would have been required without the use of these technologies by engineers.
Employment of architectural and civil drafters is projected to decline 3 percent from 2014 to 2024. Although construction projects will likely result in some demand for architectural and civil drafters, other related occupations, such as architects and engineers, are using CAD and BIM more frequently. This will reduce the need for these types of drafters, compared with what would have been required without the use of these technologies by architects and engineers.
Employment of electrical and electronics drafters is projected to grow 5 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Electrical and electronics drafters will continue to be needed to work on the electrical system designs in buildings, cars, and devices that have electrical systems.
Overall competition for jobs is expected to be strong.
Specifically, architectural and civil drafters may experience more competition for jobs than mechanical or electrical drafters due to the relatively high number of students graduating in those drafting specialties. Typically, the number of graduates in architectural and civil programs greatly exceeds the number of available positions.
Demand for particular drafting specialties varies across the country because jobs depend on the needs of local industries. Job prospects for mechanical drafters should be best in large manufacturing hubs.
Because many drafting jobs are in construction and manufacturing, job opportunities for drafters will be sensitive to fluctuations in the overall economy.
Candidates proficient in CAD and BIM are likely to have better job opportunities.
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Total, all occupations
Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program