To become an electrical drafter entails being a professional trained in creating technical drawings for the installment, maintenance and repair of wiring systems and electrical equipment for all kinds of buildings. An electrical drafter belongs to a category of professionals called drafters, or computer-aided design (CAD) drafters to denote the use of computer systems, who prepare documents or plans for the creation of a vast variety of products across all sorts of industries. The products range from cooking utensils, calculators and MP3 players to buildings, highways and aircraft components. To become an electrical drafter, you would need to get a certain level of formal education.
Most people go to a community college or technical school to get an associate’s degree. A few educational institutions offer the electrical drafting specialty, which includes courses in subject areas such as engineering, electrical systems and technical drawing. You would also learn how to use computer systems and software to create documents or two-dimensional (2D) or three-dimensional (3D) drawings. A popular drafting software program is AutoCAD, which United States design technology company Autodesk Inc. produces.
Most associate’s degree programs, however, are electrical drafting programs combining another specialty: electronics drafting. This concerns creating plans for the manufacture, installation, maintenance and repair of electronics products. A program like this exists because of the occasional overlap between the two specialties.
Generally, though, electrical drafting programs are exceedingly rare. To become an electrical drafter, you might have a better chance going to an institution of higher learning that offers an associate’s degree in CAD. Not only does such a program contain a course or two that focuses on electrical drafting, but its more generalized scope can prepare you as a well-rounded professional. You may also take courses in areas such as material science and tool design, or even other drafting specialties such as mechanical or civil drafting.
Although it is not entirely necessary to get a bachelor's degree to become an electrical drafter, you may still opt for this instead of an associate's degree. You can also get a bachelor's degree in addition to an associate’s degree. The major advantage of having a bachelor’s degree is the higher level of training and knowledge. Also, it might give you a leg up over candidates with an associate’s degree when applying for a job, and boost your earning potential.
An associate’s degree takes two years to complete, while a bachelor’s takes twice as long. Also, colleges and universities traditionally require general education requirements for completion of the bachelor's degree program. These requirements may include English composition, mathematics, communications, physics, chemistry or physical education.