Date Approved

10-4-2016

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

College of Technology

Committee Member

Dan Fields, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

John Dugger, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Al Bellamy, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Alankrita Pandey, Ph.D.

Abstract

Additive manufacturing is defined as the process of joining materials to make objects from 3D model data, as opposed to subtractive manufacturing methodologies. Additive manufacturing positions are growing at an exponential rate, and the adoption of this disruptive technology is projected to have a significant impact on corporate strategies and culture. The purpose of this study was to identify the types of positions available in the additive manufacturing field and the skills and educational background required. A mixed-methods research design was employed. Two content analyses were conducted. The first was an analysis of 286 position descriptions obtained from five job search engines. The second analyzed the additive manufacturing education and training programs available. For the third part of the study, a questionnaire was made available to 2,000 members of the Additive Manufacturing Users Group and 1,000 attendees of a yearly conference on additive manufacturing hosted by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Descriptive statistical tools were used to analyze the data.

The results showed that additive manufacturing plays a very significant role in the culture, business strategy, and organizational structure of companies. The data collected in this study showed that those trained in the general category of manufacturing and tooling were in the highest demand in the field of additive manufacturing. The specific position of manufacturing engineer was in the highest demand within this field. The education required was a bachelor’s degree in non-specific engineering, with one to five years of experience. Results also showed what education and skills are lacking. For those individuals who are in the materials concentration, an advanced degree is important. The most common skills required are those in applications specific to additive manufacturing, and hands-on experience is also critical.

The results of the study may be used as a baseline in the development of curricula, certifications, and/or training in additive manufacturing. Companies may also use the results of the study in talent development, either in identifying hiring projections or training-needs assessment and development. There is great potential for academia and industry to collaborate in workforce development related to this technology. This study provides focus for these efforts.

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