Drafting Technician

Drafting technicians prepare engineering and architectural drawings, plans, diagrams and layouts. They may work independently as part of a multidisciplinary team or support the work of technologists, engineers, architects and other professionals.

Also Known As:CAD Technician/Technologist, Engineering Design and Drafting Technician, Structural Engineering Technician/Technologist
NOC Number(s):2253.2
Minimum Education:1 year post-secondary education/training
Employment Outlook:Job openings generated due to employment turnover. Occupational outlook currently unavailable.
Interests:M I O

Duties | Working Conditions | Personal Characteristics | Education | Employment | Salary | Other Information | Related Occupations | Related School Subjects | Related Field of Study


Drafting technicians use computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) applications, scientific calculators and traditional manual drafting techniques to prepare:

  • engineering plans
  • architectural plans
  • flow diagrams and schematics
  • layouts
  • specifications
  • maps
  • detailed working drawings.

They also may be involved in related activities such as:

  • estimating project materials and costs
  • administering construction contracts
  • preparing and interpreting specifications
  • piping design - drawing piping and equipment layout and details.

Drafting technicians may work for companies that specialize in a wide variety of fields, including:

  • aerospace engineering - drawing aerospace vehicles and systems
  • architecture - drawing commercial and residential buildings
  • civil engineering - preparing drawings and maps for highways, pipelines, sewage systems and other construction projects
  • electrical engineering - preparing circuit board, wiring and layout diagrams
  • geomatics engineering - drawing plans for well sites, pipelines and real property reports
  • mechanical engineering - drawing machinery and mechanical devices
  • urban, regional or park planning - drawing plans for urban or rural communities or parks.

Working Conditions

Drafting technicians usually work standard weekday hours in an office environment. They spend a considerable amount of time working with computers.

Personal Characteristics

Drafting technicians need the following characteristics:

  • the ability to pay close attention to detail and be precise and accurate
  • good eye-hand co-ordination and manual dexterity
  • the ability to visualize three-dimensional objects from two-dimensional drawings and visualize the relationships between parts in machinery and systems
  • the ability to communicate design ideas and solutions clearly and concisely orally and in writing
  • aptitude for mathematics and physics
  • good problem solving abilities including clarity in calculations and documentation.

They should enjoy taking a methodical approach to their work, analyzing data and finding innovative solutions to problems, and working with equipment and instruments at tasks that require precision.

Educational Requirements

The minimum educational requirement is a year of related post-secondary education or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

In Alberta, the following post-secondary institutions offer related one year programs:

  • Digital School, a private vocational school in Edmonton, offers 47 week Architectural, Civil, Engineering, Mechanical, Process, Structural and Survey/Geomatics CAD Technician programs. The entrance requirement is a high school diploma or equivalent, and successful completion of an admissions interview. 
  • Medicine Hat College offers a one year Computer Aided Drafting and Design certificate program. The entrance requirement is a high school diploma with English Language Arts 30-1 or 30-2, Pure or Applied Math 30, Science 30 or Physics 20, or an equivalent combination of qualifications.
  • The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary offers a 33 week Process Piping Drafting program through Continuing Education.

Individual courses and short programs in computer-aided drafting are offered by public and private post-secondary institutions throughout Alberta. For information, please check the Continuing Education calendars or websites of local post-secondary institutions. Continuing Education courses may be offered on an as needed basis.

For information about institutions that offer related two year diploma programs, see the Architectural Technologist, Avionics Technician, Civil Engineering TechnologistElectrical Engineering Technologist, Electronics Engineering Technologist, Engineering Design and Drafting Technologist, Geomatics Technologist, Industrial Designer, Mapping TechnologistMechanical Engineering Technologist, and Community and Park Planners occupational profiles.

For current information about programs, admission requirements and mature student admission policies, please check post-secondary calendars or websites.

Employment and Advancement

Drafting technicians are employed by:

  • engineering consulting firms
  • land survey or geomatic companies
  • private machine design firms
  • architectural firms
  • municipal, provincial and federal government departments
  • building fabricators and other manufacturing and assembly companies
  • companies in the petrochemical, food processing, pulp and paper and energy industries
  • electronic manufacturing companies.

Drafting technicians do the same types of work as architectural technologists and engineering design and drafting technologists. However, they work under supervision and require several years of experience before they may assume the same level of responsibility as technologists.

Drafting technicians are part of the larger National Occupational Classification 2253: Drafting Technologists and Technicians. In Alberta, 76 per cent of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Section revised November 2013


According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Drafting Technologists and Technicians occupational group earned on average from $24.74 to $41.13 an hour. The mean wage for this group was $31.91 an hour. (Note: These figures include technologists' salaries which are generally higher than technicians' salaries.)

For more detailed information, see WAGEinfo and  ASET's Annual Salary Surveys.

Other Sources of Information

Post-secondary institution calendars and websites (see Educational Requirements above)

EDinfo website:

Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta - ASET website:

Construction Sector Council website:

Related Occupational Profiles
Architectural Technologist
Civil Engineering Technologist
Engineering Design and Drafting Technologist
Mechanical Design Technologist
Non-Destructive Testing Technician
Steel Detailer

Related High School Subjects
English Language Arts; Mathematics; Media, Design and Communication Arts (Design Studies); and Science

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
Engineering and Science Technologies

Produced December 2012
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For more information on career planning, occupations and educational programs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website at, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

The information contained in this profile was current as of the dates shown. Salaries, employment outlook and educational programs may change. Please check the information before making any career decisions.

Government of Alberta, Human Services