3D Printing Jobs to Consider for a Career Change

You may be surprised as to how your education or current experience could transfer over into well-paid 3D printing jobs.

As the hype train picks up more speed in the 3D printing community, every other aspect is gaining as well. New 3D printer startups are being funded on Kickstarter all the time while companies implement 3D printing into their production chains and new 3D printing and rapid prototyping services continue to rise on daily basis. And to no surprise: 3D printing jobs listings are flooding the boards as a result.

3D printing jobs
Plenty of 3D printing jobs is available online

Entry level and roads to promotion

One of the basic 3D printing jobs out there is the 3D Printer Technician. These industry poster boys (and gals) quite literally just work with the machines. They make 3D prints on commission, manage machines at rapid prototyping outsourcing services or operate them on a production line. Their responsibilities often include servicing and maintenance of the machines too. It’s a proper fit for those passionate about the field without a lot of experience in creating 3D models themselves and a good place to start working self up the ladder.

ZMorph 2.0 SX Multitool 3D Printer
Working with a 3D printer

This pattern of working up the career ladder follows in many places thanks to the different levels of needs met by rapid prototyping and digital fabrication in general. For example, the Product Design Engineer job demands more specific skillset as it’s focused on directing the creation and testing of designs.

3D printing is making its way into a variety of other careers. This means there’s always a chance to move sideways in your career instead of higher too. For example, going from a 3D Printer Technician to that of one making products from very different materials. Prime example being a listing from BioBots that looks for a technician ready to handle medical 3D printing with organic matter and tissues.

3D printed shoes
Source: Silvia Fado

3D printing jobs around the machine

Product Design Engineers and 3D Printer Technicians often work in larger teams. Their team members also deal with 3D printing technology as their jobs are more or less connected with it. These jobs include industrial engineers, software engineers, 3D scanner operators, 3D artists, and post-production personnel.

3D printing jobs
Product design meeting

Depending on the company’s focus, there is a vast array of supporting 3D printing jobs crucial to the overall company’s success but current trends show that knowledge of 3D printing technology, in general, can only help you in getting a more desirable and better-paid job.

Once the production team has finished the design and manufactured the product, it needs to go somewhere. Websites and online stores need to be built and improved with innovative new features. Sales teams have to be formed from communication savvy passionates of 3D printing, finally, the product needs to be reliably shipped. Reaching out to, closing a deal with, and delivering to customers is just as essential as making the product itself. And who knows, maybe you’ll also get to use the company’s machines once in a while.

3D Printing Fairs in US
ZMorph booth at a trade show

Opportunities in the I.P. law segment

Many hobbyist and professionals alike have come across issues of using designs from other creators or designing something too similar to already existing item. This may end in a copyright claim or even threat of a lawsuit, which is a major reason why most hobbyists rely only on sources like Thingiverse and content shared under the Creative Commons licensing. Here too lies a whole new section of 3D printing jobs.

Intellectual Property Law careers have spiked since the kick-off of 3D printing companies. If you have a degree in law, and looking for a thriving and exciting niche, this one is among the hottest right now. Especially when you have knowledge of trademarks, copyrights, patents and licensing, there may be a company interested in you. In 3D printing industry, I.P. attorneys defend the world-changing designs, protect those who harmlessly print open designs, and serve justice for stealing other people’s ideas.

3D printing jobs
I.P. lawyers can make a great career in 3D printing

The job of explaining the new world

Just like when computers were new, the world of 3D printing and digital fabrication needs to be accessible to people who want to learn about it. Job previously done only by makers and communities, is now a strong part of many businesses strategy with Content Marketing and Social Media people mixing business and education by bringing constructive, informative resources about the industry and its possibilities.

3D printing jobs
ZMorph’s official website and blog

But learning is the most important in our younger days, and thankfully there are more and more schools all over the world picking up on how important 3D printing education is. Even though coding classes are still relatively new, rapid prototyping curriculum is already opening the doors for 3D Modeling and Design Instructors. Schools that can’t fit this new class into its day, has made after-school outreach programs in order to make digital fabrication technology available to its students.

3D printing jobs
Marketing team working on a promotional video

Are you ready for a career in 3D printing industry?

According to Payscale and SimplyHired, the average annual income for 3D printing jobs and some related to the field varies from 30,000$ to 70,000$ per year depending on the position, location, and type of the company. Established companies are able to pay more but also start-ups can offer competitive pay with much better promotion opportunities. So it would be fair to say that 3D printing jobs won’t make you rich but very often can provide a much better living than other professions.

3D printing jobs
Source: SimplyHired

Whether you’re a high school graduate, student, or looking for a career change after earning years of experience, there are 3D printing jobs available everywhere and in so many professions. Jobs for the bright-eyed, the creative, and passionate. In engineering, manufacturing, testing, industry-specific applications, design, business development and sales, marketing, education, and much more. Almost everyone can find a place for himself doing what he likes and being a part of the 3D printing revolution.

Jacob A. Anderson

Robotic engineer student and freelance tech writer

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