Careers in STEM: Additive Manufacturing
If you’re studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), think about joining the world of additive manufacturing after graduation. The industry is growing fast—about 34% per year over the past three years—and is aggressively seeking new talent. No matter which level of education you complete, there’s a place for you.
Here are a few routes to explore, but remember—you can always create your own path.
Where You’ll Work: In-House Division or Specialty Shop
Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D-printing, happens primarily in two environments:
- Inside of a company that has its own additive manufacturing division
- Additive manufacturing companies like ProtoCAM that offer their specialized services to customers
Any of the positions below is possible in either type of company. There’s also the option of being self-employed, which we’ll talk about in the “entrepreneur” section.
Designers create new ideas for additive manufactured products. They also work with people who have product ideas, and help them create digital design files. These files are used by additive manufacturing machines to produce the finished products. Great designers are able to conceptualize new products and discover improvements to existing products.
Engineers specialize in the technical decisions of additive manufacturing. They make critical choices about materials and design so that manufactured parts perform as expected. This often means making trade-offs, such as strength versus weight. Great engineers are able to push the limits of what’s possible and achieve new levels of product performance.
Additive Manufacturing Technician
Additive manufacturing technicians build finished products. Often, multiple technicians will work on a product, with each person handling a particular stage of the process. Technicians also calibrate, maintain, and repair machines and equipment. A great technician is able to manage manufacturing processes for the highest level of performance, precision, and consistency.
Entrepreneurs work on their own or with a team in order to provide additive manufacturing services. Sometimes this means creating and selling products. Other times, it means providing services that other additive manufacturers need, such as design, engineering, or mechanical work. A great entrepreneur provides something extremely valuable to their customers. What that “something” is, specifically, is the entrepreneur’s job to discover.
Talk to ProtoCAM to learn more
If you’re interested in a career in additive manufacturing, send us a message or call us anytime. No matter your age or your level of education, we’re always interested to talk with people who are passionate about the industry. We’ll be happy to answer your questions!