As a result of a recent JDT survey and subsequent published article it was concluded that just under 16% of lab tech jobs are now in CAD CAM. This is a rapid paradigm shift in the likes that we have never seen before. Just a decade ago there was likely just one CAD CAM technician in most medium-sized labs and possibly a couple in larger labs. That said, where will this go from here? Do we now have adequate number of CAD CAM techs to fill short and medium-term demand? If not, how will we get so many more trained?
For starters, there is definitely a lack of quality trained CAD CAM technicians in the US market. I would suggest that the 16% CAD CAM techs today will swell to 25% in just five years. In addition to the growth in demand for skilled designers, we will also need more CAM and mill operators as well as more reliance on IT and tech support within each lab. The growth in demand will come from new developments such as digital dentures and partials, surgical guides, and digital orthodontics. In addition, the advancement of digital materials will also lead to many more restorations being manufactured through CAD CAM technology.
Where are all these CAD CAM technicians going to come from? Larger labs and milling centers have training programs for staff. Medium and smaller labs will need to be more reliant on companies like CAP that offer intro and advanced CAD CAM programs for the industry and customers. For strategic planning in your lab I would recommend staying ahead of the demand and have more staff trained or partially trained so you can bring in new products as they become available. This will reduce the barrier of entry and keep you on top of product offerings.
Thanks for reading,