Additive manufacturing is one of the fastest growing industries today and is expected to grow by nearly 17 percent year over year. With this in mind you may be asking yourself, what kind of careers are available within the additive manufacturing industry?
With the industry still being young, there are a multitude of roles that a prospective job seeker can find themselves in to help push additive manufacturing forward while making a nice salary as well.
Here are 5 essential 3D printing jobs to look into:
(Additive manufacturing salary data comes from Glassdoor).
3D Printer Technician / Operator
Salary range: $36,000 - $92,000
Many companies have started adopting additive manufacturing into their production process. Like traditional factory machines such as CNCs, cut saws, and mills, 3D printers need maintenance and care as well. Having the ability to service these high tech machines or execute on the parts being sent to the 3D printers is an invaluable part of the production process. 3D printer technicians responsibilities might also include the post processing of the printed parts such as polishing and final assembly.
3D Printing Instructor
Salary range $42,000 - $80,000
This is one of the most important responsibilities to have within the field of additive manufacturing. It is also arguably the toughest job in terms of knowledge needed due to how deep additive manufacturing knowledge goes. Preparing the next generation of engineers and designers by teaching the history, language, applications, and foundational skills to navigate the additive manufacturing world opens the doors for students. They can take what they learn and apply it across various industries and continue to forward the field of additives.
3D Printing Manager
Salary range: $53,000 - $92,000
Being a 3D printing manager requires a great deal of logistical skill. They are responsible for managing nearly all the 3D printing assets within a print lab or makerspace. From keeping track of material usage, to reviewing the files that are sent to the print operators for actual manufacturing, they are integral at keeping the shop running smoothly.
3D print managers can expect to be working very closely with various departments in an organisation along with heading their own team doing the printing. On the bright side however, there are software solutions that do make their job significantly easier such as work order management software.
3D Modeller and CAD Designer
Salary range: $54,000 - $127,000
All 3D printers rely on 3D models to produce a part and thus need experts who can take ideas and bring them to life. These 3D models can be created via CAD software like SolidWorks or Rhino. Modelling software like Blender or Z-Brush are also extremely valuable skills to have if you chose to go into this high demand occupation.
Since additive manufacturing has applications across so many industries, companies are naturally looking for 3D Modellers and CAD Designers to bring their ideas to life so that it can reach the market. From creating prototypes to production grade prints, having the position of CAD designer also has the most applicability across industries.
3D Printing Software Developer
Salary range: $110,000 - $169,000
3D printing software developers are one of the most impactful at actively moving the field of 3D printing forward. As of today, most 3D printers either operate individually or within a very loose network. Software is slowly allowing 3D printing to become more connected to the factory floor but accessibility is an ongoing work in progress.
By going into this position, you can expect to be responsible for creating user-friendly interfaces and software that enables greater printer functionality. With cloud based 3D printing becoming more prominent, you can also expect to be involved in the creation of web pages or even building cross platform applications.