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What Is an Architectural Technician?
Are you someone that on first sight of a well-designed building tends to get excited about the design of the building? Or, do you wish that you had been involved in the project in some way? Are you someone that has always dreamed of helping the architects with their designs? Or, would you like to aid construction crews with their understanding of blueprints in order to reach the desired outcome of the project? If so, then you could be a perfect candidate for a career as an architectural technician.
As an architectural technician (also known as an architectual drafter), you would best benefit from having an associates or a similar two-year post-secondary degree in drafting or CAD. Having the artistic skills to help in creating drawings using geometric construction is considered a big plus for job seekers. Having the skills to modify or help prepare architectural designs is also a basic skill for this position.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who work as architectual technicians would probably work in an environment as described below:
"Drafters usually work in comfortable offices. They may sit at adjustable drawing boards or drafting tables when doing manual drawings, although most drafters work at computer terminals much of the time. Because they spend long periods in front of computers doing detailed work, drafters may be susceptible to eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems. Most drafters work a standard 40-hour week; only a small number work part time." 
Typically, it is the architectural technician's job to assist the architects in many ways. There are several positions that those who hold a two year drafting degree can perform including aeronautical drafting, civil drafting, electrical drafting, electronics drafting, mechanical drafting, and process piping or pipeline drafting.
The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) can administer a examination that will help you become certified for this profession. Although the certification is not required for each and every entry level position, it is considered a plus for those who do the hiring. It will demonstrate your ability to perform the most basic tasks and show that you have a grasp on industry standards within this field.
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The Pay and Educational Prospects
If you desire to become an architectural technician, you can expect your average salary to level off somewhere around $67,000 according to Simply Hired. But, they also warn that this estimate should be based on your location, experience, and other factors.
As an architectural technician, your job will usually require you to help create the blueprints for the architects. You will need to be someone who has been trained thoroughly on how to make designs for the architects using a computer software program called CAD.
CAD, or computer-aided design, is a program that is used for drafting or drawing structures in 2D or 3D. It can be used to come up with a virtual model of the building or structural project the firm is working on. Having the skills it takes to work within a CAD program is one that can be profitable and rewarding.
According to an article titled "Introduction to an Online Architecture Education" by Beau Johnson, a contributor to ArchitectureSchools.com, online learning can enhance the prospects of an aspiring architectural technician but is not enough. This writer actually states that it may be better for those who have some educational background in architecture to take classes online. But, it may not be beneficial at all for any brand new students looking to gain an associates degree in architecture.
It may be better to go to a traditional brick and mortar school when it comes to really learning all you need to know about your chosen field of study. To paraphrase the author of the article, architecture is a 'rigorous field' meaning that you may not be able to train yourself, which is the staple of online college life. Johnson also states that there are safety codes and many legal topics to learn about. He says overall you can get an associates, which can be a nice place to begin your architectural career, but you may want to go to a traditional school to earn your bachelors.
Before you begin your search for a school you can check out The American Institute of Architects. This organization is located in Washington, DC and is a great resource for those who have recently graduated and are looking to be certified. This association will provide you at your fingertips several places where you can obtain continuing educational studies. They actually publish literature relative to this line of work along with convention details for those who want to network.
The AIA assures you that you will possess the skills for an entry-level position within the drafting industry. You will be able to live the life of your dreams as a professional in the architectural field. In fact, it may be best to start out at a local community college when you are working on your associates in architect. That way, you know that you have been taught the basics in this profession before actually moving your college career online.
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Online Architectural Degrees
After many days of searching for schools that offered an associates degree in architectural technology, I was not able to find any. There does not seem to be any school that makes the claim to offer the required classes 100% over the Internet or online. Many schools have coursework that would be equivalent to an associates in architectural technology, but most are not available over the web.
Nevertheless, in my findings, I conclude that those schools that have the coursework for an associates degrees in architectural technology are likely to be very near to you. They may not be as close as your home computer. However, the classes might be offered the local community college in your town, which can help you with your architectural technician education foundation.
Due to the very strenuous coursework that is involved in the field of architecture, it might be best to earn your degree in the traditional way by enrolling in classes offered physically at a local school. This might be the smarter way learn the critical techniques for those who are interested in becoming an architectural technician or drafter.
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-  "Drafters". Bureau of Labor Statistics. June 30, 2009 <http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos111.htm>