Plastics play a large role in our world today. On a day to day basis, we deal with plastics in materials we choose, products we use and processes we go through to make things we need like food. Since it is so, it can be understood that there is a big demand in the industry of plastics.
Interesting is the following video in which Dr. Chris Rogers (Director of Mechanical Engineering at Tufts University) explains the education theory that’s at the basis of LEGOS at the Keller Center (Princeton’s Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering):
If you are interested in being a part of this industry, you can aspire to be a plastics engineer. A plastics engineer is in charge of a wide variety of tasks from the designing of plastic products up to its manufacturing.
Plastics engineers are responsible for designing new products and improving existing ones, as well as for creating new applications for plastics. They design, process, develop and then manufacture the products, making sure that they are of the best quality they can be in. They also test and examine their products and conduct research to further knowledge of polymers.
Students are given the option to choose from several certificate programs or undergraduate and graduate degrees in the field of plastics and very interesting is a career in the field of Aerospace and Aeronautic Engineering, a challenging profession, wouldn’t you think?
Plastics Engineering Certificate
Education that is geared toward plastics production and tooling is typically provided by certificate programs. Courses in these certificate programs may include plastics processing, product design, injecting molding and extrusion, among others. Depending on the program, a computer-aided design may be emphasized as well as occupational safety. These courses offer updated knowledge and skills in the field of plastics with the duration of only less than a year, which makes it practical for engineers who want to learn about what is new in the field.
Plastics Engineering Associate’s Degree
An associate’s degree may be offered as a professional degree or may also allow transfer to a bachelor’s degree program. These associate’s degree in plastics engineering may include courses in mathematics, physics, and chemistry related to plastics design, processing, and manufacturing. Software applications, as well as technical tools used in product development, are taught in these courses.
Plastics Engineering Bachelor’s Degree
Some schools offer specialized engineering bachelor degree programs that concentrate on plastics design and manufacturing. These courses teach students how to work with polymer plastics, rubbers, paints, adhesives and coatings which they will be using regularly once they work as bona fide plastics engineers. A plastics engineering bachelor’s degree can usually be completed in four years. A bachelor’s degree in plastics engineering will already allow you to work in an entry-level position. Read also this interview with Matt Reedy (USAA Innovation Boss) about engineering and technology.
Plastics Engineering Master’s Degree
There are available plastics studies in manufacturing and materials engineering programs to add to master’s programs in plastic engineering. This master’s degree offers advanced topics in plastics designing and processing, as well as production management, which is vital knowledge for plastics engineers to have. A master’s degree in plastics engineering is usually required of plastics engineers who are aiming for higher positions in their companies. They are also expected to attend seminars or workshops that would help keep them abreast of the new developments in the industry. So check out also this interview with Andrew Trickett, Virtual Reality start-up enthusiast at MergeVR, who has a lot to say about his ambition and goals.
Plastics Engineering Schools and Colleges
Here are some schools offering courses in Plastics Engineering:
- University of Massachusetts Lowell
- University of Akron
- Pennsylvania State University – Erie-Behrend College
- University of Southern Mississippi