Plastics Engineers and Technicians

Engineering Technician Removes Plastic Lenses

Plastics engineers engage in the manufacture, fabrication, and end use of existing materials, as well as in the development of new materials, processes, and equipment. The term, plastics engineering, encompasses a wide variety of applications and manufacturing processes. Depending on the processes involved, plastics engineers develop everything from the initial part design to the processes and automation required to produce and finish the production parts.

Plastics technicians are skilled professionals who help engineers, scientists, research groups, and manufacturers design, develop, manufacture, and market plastics products. Plastics technicians may work in research and development or manufacturing. In these settings, they function at a level between the engineer or scientist in charge of a job, and the production or laboratory workers who carry out most of the tasks. Other plastics technicians handle mold and tool making, materials and machinery, sales and services, and related technical tasks. Plastics are a $427 billion industry in the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Application Engineers, Fabricators, Laminating Technicians, Plastics Manufacturing Technicians, Process Engineers, Research Engineers
Duties Develop, process, and test plastics to create a range of products (engineers); operate, and tend molding, coremaking, casting, forging, rolling, extruding, and other machines (technicians)
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Nationwide
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
  • Apprenticeship
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Physics
Experience On-the-job training
Personality Traits
  • Hands On
  • Problem-Solving
  • Scientific
  • Math
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
  • Scientific
Certification or Licensing None
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Decline
Career Ladder
  • Senior Plastics Engineer
  • Plastics Engineer
  • Plastics Technician