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Occupational Profile

Plastics Processing Technician

Plastics processing technicians set up, monitor, troubleshoot and optimize plastics processing equipment (including injection molding, rotational molding and extrusion equipment).

  • Avg. Salary $87,518.00
  • Avg. Wage $42.21
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook Down
  • Employed 1,700
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Production Worker

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

36%
36%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Plastics Processing Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing Technicians
NOC code: 2233.2
OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to conduct work measurement and other studies and to set machine and equipment controls

METHODICAL

Interest in compiling operational or experimental data; and in collecting and analyzing data and samples in support of quality assurance and industrial health and safety programs

innovative

Interest in assisting engineers to develop manufacturing and processing procedures and variables, and to oversee production and inspect processes

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 19, 2016

In injection molding, molten plastic material is injected into a steel mold to form individual three-dimensional products such as industrial components, domestic goods or medical parts. Softened plastic quickly cools and hardens in the mold. Then the mold opens, the part is ejected and the process is repeated to produce another part.

In rotational molding, powdered plastic is placed inside a mold and the mold is rotated, heated and cooled to form large, sometimes complex, parts.

In extrusion processes, softened plastic is forced through a metal die to produce continuous products (for example, plastic pipe, film and sheet goods, wire and cable covering) or to pre-mix plastic to modify its properties.  

In blow molding, melted plastic is formed into a parison (a tube-like piece of plastic with a hole in one end). A pressurized gas, usually compressed air, is used to expand the hot parison, pressing it against a mold cavity. The pressure is held until the plastic cools forming a hollow container.

Duties and responsibilities vary depending on the process involved but, in general, plastics processing technicians:

  • monitor the operation of automated equipment and record product measurement and output rates
  • adjust process conditions to correct part defects, meet product specifications and production requirements, and optimize productivity
  • maintain and interpret quality control systems
  • set up equipment and troubleshoot problems
  • safely start up and shut down automated equipment
  • properly install, maintain, handle and store molds and dies.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Plastics processing technicians work in manufacturing plants that often operate 24 hours a day. They work shifts that may include nights, weekends and holidays. Working in an industrial environment often requires wearing safety gear such as eye and ear protection and steel-toed boots to reduce the risk of injury.

Plastics processing technicians routinely handle items that weight up to 20 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Plastics processing technicians need the following characteristics:

  • manual dexterity
  • the ability to stand for long periods of time
  • the ability to perform repetitive tasks and pay attention to details
  • mechanical ability
  • the problem solving skills required to correct processing and equipment related problems
  • the communication and interpersonal skills required to work effectively in a team environment.

They should enjoy performing tasks requiring precision, taking a methodical approach to their work and assisting engineers.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Plastics processing technicians need:

  • basic math skills
  • a working knowledge of the processing characteristics of common plastics materials
  • the knowledge and skills required to set up and maintain automated processing equipment
  • related safety training. 

In Alberta, most plastics processing technicians are trained on the job. Employers may require applicants to have one or more of the following qualifications:

  • experience working in manufacturing or production environments
  • experience working with small tools, forklifts or pallet jacks
  • related post-secondary education or training (for example, a minimum of one semester in materials engineering or manufacturing technology, or completion of the first and second periods of millwright or related apprenticeship training)
  • a Fourth Class Power Engineering Certificate.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Certified Technician

Under general supervision, certified technicians undertake the routine application of industry recognized codes, standards, procedures and practices. They use established engineering, geoscience or applied science principles and methods of problem solving. Duties may typically include testing, troubleshooting, inspecting, calibrating, drafting, maintaining, modelling, compiling, estimating, surveying, ensuring quality control, supervising in the field and working in sales.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act (PDF) and ASET Regulation (PDF), you must be a registered member of the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET) to use the title Certified Technician (C.Tech.). You do not have to be registered if you do not call yourself a Certified Technician.

Education

Registration requires:

  • graduation from an applied science, information technology or engineering technology program
  • at least 2 years of acceptable technical experience
  • 3 professional references
  • submission of a competency report, demonstrating at least 3 C.Tech. competencies
  • successful completion of ASET's Professional Practice Exam
  • demonstration of proficiency in English.

For detailed official information, contact the regulatory organization below.

Working in Alberta

Technicians who are certified by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for certification in Alberta if certified technicians in the 2 jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory? and the Alberta regulatory organization below.

To learn about the certification process for internationally educated technicians, see Mechanical Engineering Technician Certification Process (PDF) on AlbertaCanada.com.

Contact Details

The Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET)
1600 - 9888 Jasper Ave.
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 5C6
Phone: 780-425-0626
Toll-free in Alberta: 1-800-272-5619
Fax: 780-424-5053
Email: asetadmin@aset.ab.ca
Website: www.aset.ab.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Plastics processing technicians are employed by large and small plastics manufacturing firms.

Experienced plastics processing technicians may advance to supervisory positions or move into related positions in quality control and testing, equipment maintenance, or costing and production estimating. Further education may be required to advance to management positions.

Plastics processing technicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2233: Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians. In Alberta, 76% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 1,700 Albertans are employed in the Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.2% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 20 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As plastics processing technicians form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for plastics processing technicians. 

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians
NOC code: 2233

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $16.00 $72.33 $36.69 $28.00
Overall $20.00 $78.34 $42.21 $38.24
Top $25.00 $87.04 $50.51 $44.23

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Oil & Gas Extraction
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Manufacturing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

36%
36%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

10%
10%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

2%
2%

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • Science
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Canadian Plastics Industry Association website: www.plastics.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 29, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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