Textile Technologist

Textile technologists have scientific knowledge of the structure and properties of raw and finished textiles and of the conversion of fibres or filaments to all types of fabrics, such as spinning, weaving, knitting; the manufacture of non-woven materials, dying, printing and finishing. They also need an understanding of the problems involved in the production of textile fabrics.

Raw materials of textile manufacturing pass through many hands before they become finished fabrics. These may include natural fibres such as wool and cotton or synthetic fibres such as nylon or polyester. However, regardless of the raw material used, most textiles are produced by spinning the fibre into yarn, weaving or knitting yarn into fabric and dyeing and finishing the fabric. As a result most employees in the textile industry are directly involved in production, either working with their hands or operating machinery.

Important to the textile industry, but not directly involved in production, are textile designers and textile technologists who have special talents and post-school training in order to perform effectively on technical, supervisory and administrative levels.

Professional textile technologists have a broad range of specialist areas to choose from, including: knitted shade netting, pantyhose or woven denim fabrics or curtaining, as well as carpeting and non-woven fabrics used for road or dam construction.

In industry, textile technologists are engaged in quality control of products or processes, or they are involved in supervising the production of textiles. They are also concerned with organisational and personnel problems associated with running factories. Textile technologists also assist with technical advice in organisations concerned with the supplying or purchasing of many products used by the textile industry or in technical sales where the technologist advises customers on the best use of suitable products.

Textile technologists may also specialise in research in order to develop new or improved processes or materials. Laboratory technologists do physical, chemical or microscopic analyses on textiles, pigments and cleansing agents such as soap and detergents.

Personal Requirements

  • technical skills
  • artistic ability, including a sense of form, colour and design
  • keen to do research and develop new products
  • practical understanding of Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics
  • not colour-blind
  • not allergic to dust or other fine particles
  • able to work well with others

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Degree: BSc (Hons) graduate with Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics or Agriculture as subjects, may enrol for an MSc degree in Textile Science at NMMU.

Diploma: N.Dip: Textile Technology - CPUT, DUT. Students can choose between the Dry Processing and the Wet Processing courses, both taking 3 years to complete. N.Dip / BTech: Textile Design & Technology - DUT, TUT

A degree or diploma in science, with a subject such as Chemistry, can also be used in the textile industry.


  • textile industry for example spinning mills
  • manufacturers of textile machinery and auxiliaries
  • manufacturers of textile floor coverings, pantyhose, surgical dressings
  • weaving and knitwear plants
  • dye houses and finishing plants
  • SA National Defence Force, Armscor
  • municipalities
  • Wool Association, Cotton Association, etc.
  • testing / research institutes e.g. SABS and CSIR
  • self-employment is rare, but can sometimes be found in small production areas where high fashion handicaps massive productions like the printing of T-shirts and embroidery. In all cases however, capital will be needed.

Further Information

The Manager: Textile Division
Private Bag X191
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 428-7911

The Head: Textile Technology
Durban University of Technology
P O Box 953
Durban, 4000
Tel: (031) 204-2111

Textile Federation
40 Seventh Avenue
Edenvale, 1609
Tel: (011) 454-2342

Getting Started

  • develop an interest in the composition and weave pattern of all fabrics
  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work in a textile producing company
  • arrange to speak to textile technologist about this type of career and ask to observe them at work

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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