Plastics have been produced increasingly over the years. Polymers, or plastics, can be found in almost anything – from compact discs to high-tech space applications. Since the industry keeps growing, so does the number of people working in this field.
In the following video from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, graduates of the school’s Plastics Engineering program talk about pursuing a career in product design, materials science, research and development, molding and designing tools, process simulation, experimental design, manufacturing, and quality sciences:
Roles and Responsibilities of a Plastics Engineer
Plastics engineers are responsible for designing and developing various products and materials that are made with plastics. Along with this, a plastics engineer also creates specifications, manufacturing control plans, and designs pieces and parts.
Product development plays a large part in these responsibilities as he or she is also responsible for developing ways to improve existing products as well. He or she must be able to find new applications for plastics engineering by using the latest techniques and chemical combinations.
In general, plastics engineers work in labs to develop plastics with a team. Developing plastics that answer to a client’s specifications and preferences is what plastics engineers are mostly called to do in terms of client responsibilities. See also how Andrew Trickett, CEO of Virtual Reality start-up MergeVR, talks about his visions and ambitions.
Along with developing plastic products, plastics engineers are also responsible for researching new materials for making new plastic products. Every plastics engineer must be updated regarding new academic research about the latest techniques and polymers developed by other labs. Research skills are vital for plastics engineers to have to help them remain productive and on the leading edge. To learn more about how to become a Plastic Engineer, check out this post.
Testing is also one of these professionals’ responsibilities, especially in the world of Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering. Using their expertise in both the physical and chemical properties and capabilities of various plastics, they carry out various examinations such as strength testing, weather testing, thermal testing at very high and very low temperatures, electric conductivity testing, and chemical testing to determine if the new products are of high quality. If it is otherwise, the plastic engineer will then go back to the developing stages to improve its design.
How to Become a Plastics Engineer
The minimum educational requirement for plastics engineers is a bachelor’s degree from a college or university. However, in certain positions, a higher degree may be required. To keep current with the engineering discipline throughout their career, plastics engineers are sometimes required to pursue a master’s degree or a higher degree, especially if they have been working with the field for a long time.
Plastics engineers are also expected to receive training through workshops, seminars and other academic events in order to keep abreast of what is new in the industry. Although you may only need a bachelor’s degree in an entry-level position, it is best if you acquire higher education to move your career forward. Matt Reedy, Executive Innovation Director at USAA has also some pretty straightforward ideas about innovation and entrepreneurship.
In order to have an edge over new plastics engineering graduates, it is best to look for internship opportunities to gain experience even before graduating with a bachelor’s degree. This can help by being the deciding factor that sets you apart from the rest. It can also help build up your resume when you become a member in professional organizations that are related to engineering as it would give you access to seminars, functions and other resources that may prove useful in advancing your career.