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Plastic Product Designer: Job Description and Requirements

Plastic product designers require significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and career outlook to see if this is the right career for you.

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Plastic product designers develop products that are created from plastics including toys, food containers and car parts. They use computer-aided design systems to design molds for plastic products.

Essential Information

Plastic product designers - a kind of materials engineer - work for various types of companies that are involved in the production of plastic products, such as plastic manufacturers and plastic design and mold companies. Positions often require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or a similar field.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Licensing uncommon, sometimes necessary
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 1% for materials engineers
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $91,310 for materials engineers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Plastic product designers, also known as plastic design engineers, design plastic items, such as toys, car parts, disposable food containers and keyboards. They also design and develop plastic parts, molds and molding processes. Plastic product designers analyze and interpret data and create new product designs. They examine the chemical compositions of plastics and choose appropriate compositions to use for various purposes.

Plastic product designers use design software, such as computer-aided design (CAD) systems, to analyze and design molds for creating plastic products. There are numerous types of modeling software in the industry, and different employers might require their designers to be skilled in using different systems.

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Requirements

Some employers require several years of work experience in the same field, such as in manufacturing or product development. Knowledge of manufacturing processes of plastics as well as characteristics and materials of plastics is also necessary. Some positions require that applicants hold a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, polymer engineering or a similar field.

Plastic product designers must be able to work on teams and communicate effectively. Efficient oral and written communication skills are essential.

Educational Requirements

Aspiring plastic product designers can enroll in a bachelor's degree program specifically in plastics engineering. Core courses likely will cover polymer structures, mold engineering techniques, mechanics and plastics processing. Students also will complete general education requirements and learn about business communications, technical writing and lab safety techniques.

Salary and Employment Outlook

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't have salary data or employment growth predictions for plastic product designers, it does provide that information for the broader field of materials engineers. Materials engineers earned a median salary of $91,310 as of May 2015, while the BLS predicted these workers could see employment growth of one percent between 2014 and 2024.

Plastic product designers are required to have a bachelor's degree in plastics engineering or a closely related field. They may also be required to obtain licensure if they sell services to the public directly.

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