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Plastics Engineer Job Description, Career as a Plastics Engineer, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: Bachelor’s Degree

Average Salary: $55,000 Annually

Job Outlook: Good

Job Description

A plastics engineer is a rather involved role within the engineering discipline. In this role an individual is often quite involved with product development. They may work independently or as part of an engineering team to accomplish the goals. In a rather simplistic way of putting it, a plastics engineer is the individual who handles the design and development of all materials, molds, and other goods made with plastics. It does however involve a lot of work and great attention to detail.
A plastics engineer is involved in creating specifications or at the very least receiving them from a team so that they are sure of the guidelines they must follow. They work to establish manufacturing control plans by reviewing the specifications, the verification, and the validation reports. All of these help to supply the plastics engineer with the information they need to design their pieces and parts. Not only must they review existing validation reports, but they must also be involved in creating new reports and verifications depending on their findings.
Plastics engineer are involved in establishing the parameters for an optimal molding environment. Not only do they handle the design for the necessary components, but they must work to ensure that the environment for all of these materials is appropriate. They are therefore involved in a great deal of analysis to ensure that all requirements are met. They work on quality control as a rather large part of their job, not just for the environment but for the components as well.
Plastics engineer must work with other team members and outside vendors. Relationship building may be a rather large part of this job because they must work with product development, with Manufacturing, and with Quality. They are often involved with audits and inspections, so having relationships with various areas may be of great help in this role.

Education and Training Requirements

Though the minimum educational requirement for a plastics engineer is usually a bachelor’s degree, it may be more than that depending on the specific position. Those working within this field for awhile will often be required to pursue a master’s degree or higher to keep current with this discipline throughout their career. Initially the bachelor’s degree may be all that is required in an entry level position or when starting out, but higher education will usually be recommended if the individual wishes to move within their career. As a plastics engineer, one can expect to receive training opportunities including workshops and seminars so as to keep current within their occupation. The more education and training that an individual has, the more they can expect to grow within their career.

Getting the Job

Initially the best way to get the job is to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Though it is usually preferred that the degree be within plastics engineering directly, experience may help to make up for that. Once an individual moves throughout their career in plastics engineering, they need to gain experience and most often further their education. They need to be current with their knowledge and with the quality control standards that are set forth within their field. Working within a variety of environments, industries, and individual roles can help an individual to move on within their career. They need to prove themselves in this role so that they can move onto a supervisory role or next step.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

This is a type of engineering for which there is good solid demand. Though engineering continues to be a lucrative job field, plastics engineering enjoys better than average demand. There are a number of job opportunities available at anytime, ranging from entry level to the seasoned veteran in the field. Those who have gained experience may find it seemingly easy to move into another role or find a job with a different company. This is a job for which an individual can do quite well in building a career within. The more environments that a plastics engineer works within, and the more experience they bring to the table, the better likelihood they will have for moving on within their career.

Working Conditions and Environment

This is the type of job where they may split up their time between a variety of environments. Though the design work may be done at a desk or an office, they may also spend a great deal of their time in a laboratory or testing environment. Plastics engineers spend their time in a fair amount of meetings and interacting with other team members to work towards an end goal and establish quality and working standards. They may often have to travel to see different environments or play an active part in audits. Much of this is dependent on their specific employer or environment for which they work within, as that may factor into their travel and responsibilities directly.

Salary and Benefits

Though the typical salary range for a plastics engineer can be anywhere between $45,000 to $65,000, this can vary widely. This is a typical range, though often applies to those with only a bachelor’s degree. For those that have a master’s degree or who have more experience, they may expect to earn more. Geographical location can also play into the range, along with the type of employer that a plastics engineer works for. Most plastics engineers will receive a fairly generous benefits package including health insurance, paid time off, a pension account, and tuition reimbursement.

Where to Go for More Information

Society of Plastics Engineers
13 Church Hill Rd
Newtown, CT 06470

American Association of Engineering Societies
1420 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesEngineering, Science, Technology, and Social Sciences