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Steel Detailer

Steel detailers are specialized technicians who make detailed shop or fabrication drawings that steel fabricators or welders use to manufacture girders, beams, columns, stairways and other steel components of buildings and structures.

Also Known As

CAD Technician/Technologist, Structural Engineering Technician/Technologist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Drafting Technicians (2253.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Drafting Technologists and Technicians (C153) 
  • 2011 NOC: Drafting technologists and technicians (2253) 
  • 2016 NOC: Drafting technologists and technicians (2253) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Drafting Technicians
2006 NOC : 2253.2

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group


Interest in compiling data on dimensions, locations, elevations, cross-sections, projections and other details to verify completeness and accuracy of final drawings


Interest in assisting technologists and engineers to prepare engineering drawings, diagrams and layouts


Interest in precision working to operate computer-assisted drafting equipment and conventional drafting stations, and to use measuring instruments

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Updated Mar 31, 2020

Steel detailers interpret fabrication requirements for structural steel components based on:

  • Engineering drawings and specifications
  • Industry and government codes
  • Instructions from engineers and architects

Detailers make the shop drawings and related instructions that steel fabricators use to manufacture components.

Senior steel detailers also may be involved in shop and site work, quality control and project supervision.

In Alberta, this is a designated occupation with levels ranging from 1 to 3. See Educational Requirements for more details.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Steel detailers usually work in offices but, because their occupation relies heavily on shared data files and networking, they may be located anywhere in the world.

Detailers generally work standard office hours but overtime may be required to meet deadlines.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Steel detailers need:

  • Precision and accuracy
  • Attention to detail
  • Computer and math skills
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • The ability to visualize spatial relationships
  • The ability to translate abstract concepts into reality
  • The ability to work alone and with others

They should enjoy taking a methodical approach to their work, analyzing data, and finding innovative solutions to problems. They should also be comfortable using precision equipment and instruments.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Drafting technologists and technicians
NOC code: 2253

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 54 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Oct 28, 2021 and May 24, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Prepare engineering designs and drawings
Complete documentation packages and drawing sets
Develop and prepare design sketches
Examine drawings for conformity and errors
Estimate costs and materials
Read and interpret blueprints
Personal Suitability: Organized
Personal Suitability: Team player
Type of Drafting: Shop drawings
Computer and Technology Knowledge: AutoCAD
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Minimum Education Designated Occupation

Steel detailers must be:

  • Proficient in practical math and physics
  • Familiar with drafting and industry standard Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) applications including 3D CAD
  • Skilled in the use of computers including standard office software and file management applications
  • Skilled in networking related to file transfer and sharing

Required knowledge and skills may be acquired through work experience and supplemented by CAD training offered through an Alberta post-secondary school or the Alberta Chapter of the National Institute of Steel Detailing (NISD)

Steel detailer is a designated occupation in Alberta. This means that certification is not required but trainees can apply to Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training for a Level 1, 2, or 3 Alberta Occupational Certificate. Apprenticeship and Industry Training does not offer a training program for this occupation.

Applications for certification must include a Registrar’s Letter from the Alberta Chapter of NISD confirming that the individual identified satisfies the training, job skills, competencies and the standards of performance that are approved for a desired level:

  • Level 1: A period of 1,800 hours (typically completed over 1 year) of formal and on-the-job training
  • Level 2: Completion of Level 1 and a period of 1,800 hours (typically completed over 1 year) of formal and on-the-job training
  • Level 3: Completion of Level 2 and a period of 3,600 hours (typically completed over 2 years) of formal and on-the-job training

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Designated Occupations

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Steel Detailer

Steel detailers are specialized technicians who make detailed shop or fabrication drawings that steel fabricators or welders use to manufacture girders, beams, columns, stairways and other steel components of buildings and structures. For more information, see the Trades and Occupations section of Alberta’s Tradesecrets website.


In Alberta, government-legislated certification is available for steel detailers.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Steel Detailer.

Additional Information

Certified tradespeople who want to build their business skills may obtain an Achievement in Business Competencies (Blue Seal) Certificate from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Steel detailers may be employed by steel fabrication, engineering or drafting companies.

Structural steel work is largely dependent on new commercial and industrial construction. Detailers may work on projects anywhere in the world as they do not have to be physically located at a project site. While this increases employment opportunities, it may also pose global challenges such as differences in salary and higher job competition.

Experienced steel detailers can move into estimating, quality control or management positions. Or, they may be self-employed and operate their own steel detail drafting and design business.

Steel detailers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2253: Drafting technologists and technicians. In Alberta, 78% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is 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 (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 2253: Drafting technologists and technicians occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.6% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 136 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Steel detailers can earn from $40,000 to $80,000 a year at the basic level and senior steel detailers can earn up to $100,000 (2019 estimates).

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Drafting technologists and technicians

2016 NOC : 2253
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2253 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $18.00 $39.00 $26.75 $25.00
Overall $24.04 $54.96 $35.72 $36.06
Top $28.72 $90.00 $48.64 $48.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information
Public Administration
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website:

National Institute of Steel Detailing website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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