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Schools with Plastics Technology Programs: How to Choose

Professionals who work in plastics technology or plastics engineering technology operate plastics manufacturing equipment, troubleshoot production problems and engineer new types of plastic devices. While not all jobs in the field require formal training, employers may prefer to hire those who have earned a degree or certificate in the subject. Read on to learn about your program and school options in plastics technology.

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Plastics technology programs can be found at community colleges, technical schools and universities, typically at the undergraduate level. It is important to consider the appropriate program level to suit your career goals when choosing a program.

Schools with Plastics Engineering Technology Programs

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition
(2015-2016)*
Penn State Erie-Behrend Erie, PA 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's $14,610 (In-state Undergraduate); $22,344 (Out-of-state Undergraduate)
Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's $10,970 (In-state Undergraduate); $17,562 (Out-of-state Undergraduate)
Hennepin Technical College Brooklyn Park, MN 2-year, Public Certificate, Diploma, Associate's $5,159 (Undergraduate)
Pittsburg State University Pittsburgh, KS 4-year, Public Bachelor's $6,508 (In-state Undergraduate); $16,978 (Out-of-state Undergraduate)
Shawnee State University Portsmouth, OH 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's $7,364 (In-state Undergraduate); $12,761 (Out-of-state Undergraduate)
Western Washington University Bellingham, WA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $8,611 (In-state Undergraduate); $20,963 (Out-of-state Undergraduate)
UMass-Lowell Lowell, MA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, Graduate Certificate $13,427 (In-state Undergraduate); $29,125 (Out-of-state Undergraduate); $1,637 (In-state Graduate); $6,425 (Out-of-state Graduate)
Pennsylvania College of Technology Williamsport, PA 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's $15,810 (In-state Undergraduate); $22,470 (Out-of-state Undergraduate)
Northwest State Community College Archbold, OH 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $3,989 (In-state Undergraduate); $7,757 (Out-of-state Undergraduate)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

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School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking for a plastics technology or plastics engineering technology program:

  • Look into whether the course you are considering will meet with your career goals because graduates of plastics technology certificate programs often go on to work as drafters or plastics plant equipment operators while plastics technology associate degree programs might prepare students for careers as plastics machine mechanics, manufacturing technicians or quality control technicians.
  • Assess the labs and equipment you will have access to because, while many schools have plastic manufacturing equipment available on campus, others require students to travel to other locations for hands-on training.
  • Review the program options to see which schools offer internships or hands-on training, which may be an asset when seeking employment.
  • Some schools offer assistance to graduates seeking employment, such as interview and resume preparation assistance, which may provide graduates with an advantage in finding employment.

Certificate in Plastics Technology

Certificate programs usually require students to complete 16 credit hours. Studies include applied math and chemistry, as well as hand tool processes.

Associate of Applied Science in Plastics Technology

Associate degree programs in plastics technology generally require students to complete various chemistry, trigonometry and physics courses, as well as core plastics courses. Some programs have high-tech labs with equipment that has been donated by businesses and organizations where students can gain hands-on work experience. Programs may incorporate an internship into the curriculum.

Bachelor of Science in Plastics Engineering Technology

Students may be required to earn an associate degree in plastics technology before completing a bachelor's degree program. Some programs provide students with access to the same type of equipment that is used in professional settings. Students are often required to complete a senior project, and some programs require an internship as well.

There are many schools that offer plastics engineering programs as certificates or associate's or bachelor's degrees. Students should consider their long-term career goals and select a program that will equip them to enter the workforce and achieve their personal goals.

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