Mechanical Drafters: Salary Overview
Mechanical drafters convert the designs made by engineers into technical drawings using software.
They usually prepare layouts that show the details of mechanical tools and devices as well as other machinery, including medical equipment.
The layouts created by mechanical drafters indicate dimensions, fastening methods, and other requirements for how to assemble the products.
They create these layouts using CAD systems.
The resulted schematics can be viewed, printed, or programmed directly into building information modeling systems.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for mechanical drafters was $57,060 in May 2019 which means that half the workers in this profession earned less than this amount while half earned more.
Salaries vary depending on a variety of factors such as experience level, education, the industry of employment, employer, and region.
The lowest 10 percent of mechanical drafters reported an average annual wage that was below $36,350 while the top 10 percent earned more than $92,010 per year, as of May 2019.
Mechanical Drafter Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mechanical drafters held approximately 58,000 jobs in the United States in 2018.
Most mechanical drafters work for companies that provide engineering services or in the manufacturing field.
The report published by BLS shows that the average annual wage for mechanical engineers who worked for companies that provide architectural, engineering, and related services was $60,360 as of May 2019.
The average annual wage reported by mechanical drafters who worked for fabricated metal product manufacturers was $54,490.
Mechanical drafters who worked for machinery manufacturers reportedly earned $56,640 a year, on average, while those who worked in the field of employment services earned $64,160 per year, on average.
Those who worked for building equipment contractors reportedly earned $66,700 a year on average.
The top-paying industry of mechanical drafters was the field of aerospace products and parts manufacturing, where the average annual wage for this profession was $85,210.
The second-highest average salary was reported by mechanical drafters who worked for petroleum and coal products manufacturers, an industry where the average annual wage for this occupation was $76,630 a year.
Salaries for this profession also vary based on other factors, such as experience and education level.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top-paying state for mechanical drafters was Washington with $80,220 per year.
The second-highest average annual salary was reported by mechanical drafters in Alaska, a state where this profession was reportedly remunerated with $73,370 a year, on average.
Other top-paying states were Maryland, California, and Connecticut.
Mechanical drafters in South Dakota and Idaho, on the other hand, earned less than $50,000 a year on average.
Mechanical Drafter Salary by Experience Level and Education
Mechanical drafters typically need some post-secondary training in order to be able to enter this profession.
Some hold an associate’s degree while others have a certificate or a diploma.
As an entry-level drafter, your salary will most likely be close to the minimum for this profession but your earnings will most-likely increase after earning a few years of experience.
Certification is not mandatory for this profession but earning a certificate offered by the American Design Drafting Association may demonstrate your skills to a potential employer and can increase your earning prospects.
The Association offers certification for drafters in a variety of subspecialties, including mechanical drafting.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment for mechanical drafters is projected to decline 7 percent from 2018 to 2028.
This decline is partially caused by the fact that new CAD and BIM technologies allow engineers to perform the tasks that were previously assigned to mechanical drafters.
Competition for jobs in this field is expected to be strong and having strong CAD and BIM skills may improve your employment and earning prospects.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Mechanical Drafters. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.