Plastics technicians work for the manufacturers of plastic products, materials, and resins. Major plastics employers in the United States include DuPont, General Motors, and Owens Corning. Some of the top thermoforming companies are in Illinois, including Tenneco and Solo Cup Company, to name just a few of them. Michigan has some of the top injection molding companies, including Lear Corporation. Large plastics companies are located all across the country.
Plastics technicians may find jobs through personnel managers who maintain contact with schools that have ongoing plastics programs. Recruiting agents visit graduating technicians to acquaint them with current opportunities. Experts in various fields are regularly invited to lecture at technical schools and colleges. Their advice and information can provide good ideas about finding entry-level employment. Plastics technicians also find jobs through employment Web sites and social media sites such as LinkedIn, as well as through job postings on professional associations' Web sites.
Experienced and well-trained plastics technicians have excellent opportunities for advancement. Some manufacturers conduct in-plant training programs, and many provide incentives for technicians to continue their education at accredited schools. An employee with sales or customer service potential is trained in various manufacturing aspects before joining the sales or service division. Those with advanced education may become involved in supervisory or management capacities, quality control, purchasing, or cost estimating. Plastics technicians who are especially creative may work hand in hand with customers as designers of products and molds, or, with advanced training, as plastics engineers.
Tips for Entry
Join the Technology Student Association and enter a competition, for more information, visit https://tsaweb.org/competitions-programs/tsa.
Keep up with developments in the plastics industry by reading publications such as Plastics Magazine (https://www.plasticsindustry.org/resources/plastics-magazine) and the news section of the Plastics Industry Association's Web site (https://www.plasticsindustry.org/news/press-releases).
Get a part-time or summer job at a plastics company to learn more about this type of work and to see if it's a good fit for your interests and skills. Ask your school's career services office for help with researching job opportunities in plastics technology.