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Design & planning

3D printing technician

3D printing technicians manufacture products, including biomedical implants, car parts, aerospace components and fashion accessories.

Annual Salary

£19,000 to £38,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 42 a week

You could work: between 8am and 6pm; on a rota

Future employment

There will be 0.8% more 3D printing technician jobs in 2026.

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you may:

  • create estimates and quotes for parts and materials
  • set up machines and schedule print jobs
  • create digital models and prototypes based on customer requirements
  • operate 3D scanning and printing machinery
  • clean, sand, polish or apply finishes to products
  • inspect products to check quality
  • pack items for delivery and update paperwork
  • service and repair equipment

Working environment

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

You could work at a manufacturing plant, in a factory or at a research facility.

Your working environment may be noisy.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or a degree in a relevant subject like:

  • 3D design
  • product design
  • engineering
  • materials science

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information

You could take a course in creative design, model making or engineering. This could help you to find a job with a manufacturing or 3D printing company. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Computer Aided Design
  • Level 3 Award in 3D Computer Aided Design
  • Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Technology
  • T Level in Design and Development for Engineering and Manufacturing

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and computing
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level
For more information

Apprenticeships relevant to this role include:

  • Lean manufacturing operative intermediate apprenticeship
  • Digital engineering advanced apprenticeship
  • Engineering technician - product design and development advanced apprenticeship

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
For more information

You may be able to start as an assistant in a 3D print workshop and take training on the job to become a technician. Skills and qualifications in manufacturing, model making, printing, technology or design will be useful.

More information

Career tips

Learn more about the basics of 3D printing.

Further information

You can get details about working in 3D printing and design engineering from the British Printing Industries Federation and Neon.

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You could move into research, investigating new materials for use in 3D printing and how to make them commercially workable. You could also train to work in 3D printing software and hardware development.

You might work for a company that specialises in printing particular items, for example custom-made prosthetics, construction prototypes, or models of archaeological remains and historical buildings.

There are also opportunities in print equipment sales and training.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to analyse quality or performance
  • knowledge of maths
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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