Skip to content

Press Release

Experts in Demand: Growth in Metal Additive Manufacturing Creates Need for Professionals

(FORT WORTH, Texas) – SME today announced the release of a new report, “Experts in Demand: Growth in Metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) Creates Need for Professionals” at SME’s RAPID + TCT event in Fort Worth. The report highlights the exponential growth in the metal additive manufacturing industry, details the job growth that has resulted and provides a competency model with in-demand job descriptions for metal additive manufacturing positions, along with the knowledge, skills and abilities for the roles/functions that make up the metal additive manufacturing team. The job descriptions and requirements can be used by potential employers to hasten the recruiting process.

The report was built though SME’s community of additive manufacturing leaders and thinkers through experience-based insight and data showing. SME’s Additive Manufacturing Community was created to promote and accelerate adoption of additive manufacturing within the global manufacturing community.

Metal additive manufacturing is not only allowing manufacturers to increase speed to market, it’s also helping them produce stronger and lighter parts, improve efficiency, reduce waste, and create new products and geometries that could not be done before. To maximize this potential, it is critical that the existing workforce is trained in additive manufacturing technologies – whether through degree programs, engineering applications, development experience or experiential additive manufacturing experience in a project-based environment.

The competency model helps with the development of job descriptions as well as curriculums and job-training programs, and is part of the process for ensuring consistency for engineers and technologists pursuing careers in metal additive manufacturing. The next step for SME’s Additive Manufacturing Community is to use the competency model to build a detailed body of knowledge (BOK). The metals additive manufacturing BOK will be built from and expand upon existing work in additive and will serve as a detailed roadmap for training, curriculum and potentially certification.

“Hiring skilled workers is incredibly important to the industry’s continued embrace of the technology,” said Daniel Braley, USN/USMC flight control surfaces and wings technical integrator, Boeing Global Services. “Metal additive manufacturing offers cost effectiveness, lead-time reduction, design freedom, and a solution to part-to-part uniformity and repeatability in an automated process.”

Companies are hiring mechanical and materials engineers with a specialized background in additive manufacturing processes and material science, additive manufacturing application and design engineers that can understand customer needs and leverage the additive manufacturing design and manufacturing space effectively; manufacturing engineers with a new mindset regarding the additive manufacturing deployment and supply-chain logistics.

The overall additive industry grew 21 percent in 2017, as the industry expanded by more than 1.25 billion, creating new products and geometrics that could not be done before. It’s estimated that 1,768 metal additive manufacturing systems were sold in 2017, compared to with 983 systems in 2016, an increase of nearly 80 percent. The automotive, aerospace and biomedical industries are the largest users of metal additive manufacturing.

To learn more or to download the report, visit

About SME

SME connects manufacturing professionals, academia and communities, sharing knowledge and resources to build inspired, educated and prosperous manufacturers and enterprises. With more than 85 years of experience and expertise in events, media, membership, training and development, and also through an education foundation, SME is committed to promoting manufacturing technology, developing a skilled workforce and attracting future generations to advance manufacturing. Learn more at, follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or


If you have questions about the press release or need additional information, please contact SME Public Relations at