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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.

  • Avg. Salary $72,157.00
  • Avg. Wage $35.72
  • Minimum Education Designated Occupation
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 8,600
  • In Demand Lower
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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Steel Detailer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Drafting Technicians

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

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 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 More

Updated Feb 13, 2017

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.

Working Conditions
Updated Feb 13, 2017

Steel detailers usually work in offices but, because the occupation relies heavily on shared data files and networking, office location is flexible.

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

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Feb 13, 2017

Steel detailers need the following characteristics:

  • able to work independently
  • able to be precise and accurate, and pay attention to detail  
  • able to visualize spatial relationships
  • able to translate abstract concepts into reality
  • good problem solving skills
  • good written and verbal communication skills.

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

Educational Requirements
Updated Feb 13, 2017

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 personal computers including standard office software and file management applications, and networking related to file transfer and sharing.
  • they may acquire the knowledge and skills they need through work experience 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 One: A period of 1,800 hours (typically completed over 1 year) of formal and on-the-job training 
  • Level Two: Completion of Level One and a period of 1,800 hours (typically completed over 1 year) of formal and on-the-job training 
  • Level Three: Completion of Level Two 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

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Feb 13, 2017

Steel Detailer

Steel detailers are specialized drafters 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.

Working in Alberta

Steel detailers with legislated certification in good standing elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for certification in Alberta. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Recognized Trade Certificates page of the Tradesecrets website.

Contact Details

Any of the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Client Service Offices located throughout Alberta. For a list of office locations and telephone numbers, click on "Contact Us" on the home page of the Tradesecrets website (

Employment & Advancement
Updated Feb 13, 2017

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

The employment outlook for steel detailers is good for the foreseeable future. Structural steel work is largely dependent on new commercial and industrial construction. It is expected that the large projects planned for Alberta for the next decade will sustain a demand for steel detailers.

Steel detailers do not have to be physically located at a project site so they may participate in projects anywhere in the world. This means that employment opportunities are less dependent on local construction activity but may be affected by global salary expectations and availability of skills.

Experienced steel detailers can move into estimating, quality control or management positions. Or, they may operate their own steel detail drafting and design business. Certified Alberta detailers who have the supervisory or management skills required by industry may apply for an Achievement in Business Competencies Blue Seal by contacting Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

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 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.

Over 9,300 Albertans are employed in the Drafting technologists and technicians occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.5% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 140 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As steel detailers form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for steel detailers.  

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Feb 13, 2017

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 (2014 estimates).

Drafting technologists and technicians

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

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.

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.

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 Feb 13, 2017

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website:

National Institute of Steel Detailing website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2015. 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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