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Civil Drafter  What They Do

Just the Facts


Prepares drawings and topographical and relief maps used in civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, pipelines, flood control projects, and water and sewerage control systems.

This career is part of the Architecture and Construction cluster Design/Pre-Construction pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Produces drawings using computer-assisted drafting systems (CAD) or drafting machines, or by hand using compasses, dividers, protractors, triangles and other drafting devices.
  • Draws maps, diagrams, and profiles, using cross-sections and surveys, to represent elevations, topographical contours, subsurface formations and structures.
  • Drafts plans and detailed drawings for structures, installations, and construction projects such as highways, sewage disposal systems, and dikes, working from sketches or notes.
  • Determines the order of work and method of presentation, such as orthographic or isometric drawing.
  • Finishes and duplicates drawings and documentation packages, according to required mediums and specifications for reproduction using blueprinting, photography, or other duplicating methods.
  • Reviews rough sketches, drawings, specifications, and other engineering data received from civil engineers to ensure that they conform to design concepts.
  • Supervises and trains other technologists, technicians and drafters.
  • Calculates excavation tonnage and prepares graphs and fill-hauling diagrams for use in earth-moving operations.
  • Determines quality, cost, strength and quantity of required materials, and enter figures on materials lists.
  • Correlates, interprets, and modifies data obtained from topographical surveys, well logs, and geophysical prospecting reports.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Computer-Aided Design Drafter (CAD Drafter) -- Uses computer software to create technical drawings, blueprints and plans that are used to build a variety of items. Some CAD drafters specialize in certain fields, such as architectural drafting, aeronautical drafting or electrical drafting.
  • Directional Survey Drafter --