Design Drafting Technology (D T)

Designers translate the ideas and rough sketches of engineers and architects into drawings to communicate specific details to other engineers, architects, drafters, and technicians. Drawings are used as a basis for further research and design, for manufacturing and construction, and for documenting the engineer's concept. Designers use computers, manual drafting tools, engineering practices, reference materials, and a knowledge of materials and processes, to create complete drawings.

Students selecting this degree program will develop proficiency in board drafting and computer-aided drafting. Students are able to prepare drawings for manufacturing and fabrication. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Drafting and design standards will be taught and reinforced as students prepare drawings in both 2D and 3D using AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, Solidworks, Keycreator, and Mastercam applications software. They will also utilize Autodesk 3D Civil and Autodesk Revit for the construction industry.

Throughout this course of study, students will be required to use sketches, notes, technical literature and personal research to complete assignments.

Areas of employment

As a designer, you may work for:

  • Aircraft companies
  • Architectural firms
  • Construction companies
  • Design companies
  • Electronic component manufacturers
  • Engineering firms
  • Governmental agencies
  • Graphics companies
  • Machine shops
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Marine industries
  • Nuclear industries
  • Van and recreational vehicle repair shops

When can new students enroll?

New students may enroll at the beginning of any quarter. Classes are offered during the day and evening to accommodate students' schedules.


Complete an application to Green River College, complete the COMPASS assessment, and meet with an advisor.

A background in mathematics will be helpful, but courses are available for the student who needs to review or develop the necessary skills in mathematics, reading, English, and study skills.

How long does the program take?

It depends on you. If you attend Green River full time, the Associate in Applied Science degree can be completed in six quarters. Night classes are also available. Students often find work in their fifth or sixth quarter, and are placed in a Co-op experience where they can receive college credit, work experience, and earn a salary.

Special fees

Drafting and CADD courses have lab fees. See current class schedule for fee amounts.

A successful designer is the type of person who:

  • Has the ability to concentrate, conceptualize, organize, and remember details
  • Enjoys solving problems, being neat, and paying attention to details
  • Has good eye-hand coordination, an ability to visualize, and an interest in mathematics and science; and
  • Works well with others in a team

Special program notes

Here’s what Green River’s Design Drafting Technology program offers you:

  • A hands-on learning experience
  • Credit through high school articulation agreements
  • Possible credit for prior work experience
  • Participation in Cooperative Education
  • Work-oriented skills required by employers

Students should check with an advisor regarding cost of equipment, time for completion, cooperative education, and articulation agreements.

The facilities for the program include a manual drafting lab with 25 work stations, and two computer-aided drafting labs with a total of 45 work stations.

The faculty is composed of two full-time instructors, both with industry experience, and five instructors who work full time in industry and teach part time. This team brings many years of diverse industry experience to the classroom for the benefit of the Green River design student.

What is included in the program?

The Associate in Applied Science degree is divided into three areas: approximately 770 hours of training in required drafting courses; approximately 300 hours of training in required general education courses; and approximately 660 hours of training in specialized related courses.

The specialized related courses permit students to develop their own areas of emphasis in mechanical, architectural, civil or structural drafting. For a more general background, the student may complete courses from each area.

Does the program transfer to four-year schools?

In general, the design drafting classes do not transfer to four-year institutions. However, some design drafting classes have been accepted for transfer in the past. All transferability is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Please see an advisor.

Employment outlook/Salary Range

Design drafting is a large and fast-growing occupation; the future of the field is wide open. Computers will assist drafting procedures, but they will not replace the design drafter who has a comprehensive drafting education.

There is an excellent employment outlook. Historically, more than 90% of Green River’s Design Drafting Technology program graduates have been hired in design or design-related positions. –Based on the Design Drafting graduate’s record.

Salary range

In Washington, the average entry level wage for architectural and civil drafters is $16.63 per hour ($2,882 per month), while for electrical and electronics drafters, the average entry level wage is $22.78 per hour ($3,948 per month), and for mechanical drafters, the average entry level wage is $22.21 per hour ($3,849 per month).

A drafting technician II with two-years of experience earns $15.66 to $20.40 per hour working for the State of Washington.

Wages for drafters vary by the area of specialization.

Drafters who work full time usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include health insurance, a retirement plan, and paid vacations.

Note: Wages for Washington State have been adjusted to reflect projections for 2011. National wage figures are based on 2010 data and have not been adjusted.