More about Drafting and Architecture

Designing the world we live in

The buildings we live and work in not only reflect the style of their occupants, but the efforts of those who envisioned the project then saw it through to completion. Aside from exhibiting the designer's style, they must follow all necessary regulations and provide the highest levels of safety.

For that reason it's important for architects and designers to get the best education. A great way to start is by requesting brochures to find out if a course fits your learning needs. For example, is it structured or does it gives you options such as focusing on a particular interest? Talk to recent grads, working professionals and current students to gain some insight into schools you're interested in.

How long will it take?

Some design programs can be completed at community colleges or technical schools and last only a few years. Drafters may complete their training at technical institutes in two years. For more advanced occupations, it can take four or more years of schooling.

Becoming an architect takes a minimum of five years, plus three years as an intern before writing an exam to become registered. Where the architecture degree is obtained can have a big impact on whether a student is eligible to become licensed after graduation, so it's important to know what each state requires.

Schooling options for becoming an architect

  • Five year professional program (bachelor of architecture)
  • Four year pre-professional program plus two year master of architecture program
  • Any undergraduate degree plus three or more years master of architecture program

Programs typically offered at drafting and architecture schools:

Architecture - Training to become an architect is comprehensive and can include everything from learning about zoning and building codes to taking courses in art history, engineering and physics. A combination of artistic abilities and practical application is the key to a successful career.

Skills every architect should have:

  • Listening and communication - architects must understand what a client wants and what builders and others need, in order to execute the project.
  • Drawing - sketching (by hand or on computer) is an essential skill.
  • Technical ability - good architects know almost everything about mechanical, electrical and structural elements.
  • Problem solving - trouble should be quickly identified and solved.
  • Cooperation - teams often include designers, engineers, builders and architects.

Drafting - The job of many drafters is preparing technical plans and drawings used to build structures. This can include technical details such as dimension specifications, as well as visual guidelines. Students learn architectural presentation drawing, model building and computer design on programs such as CADD (Computer Aided Design and Drafting). Above all, students should have excellent drawing skills and be able to complete detailed, accurate work. If it's a specialty in electronics, drafting students learn to accurately portray circuits and other electronic components.

Graphic design - Associate degrees and certificates can earn graduates an entry level job doing layout and design for anything from promotional materials and packaging to working with newspapers and magazines or internet websites. For many jobs a bachelor's degree is necessary. Technical schools prepare students for jobs as assistants and for positions requiring only technical skill. With this career a portfolio of work is the most important factor in getting a job. Students are trained in design principles, computer design and commercial graphics production.

Related occupations

  • Landscape architecture
  • Industrial design
  • Civil engineering
  • Urban Planning