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Plastics Processing Technician

Plastics processing technicians set up, monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize plastics processing equipment. This includes injection molding, rotational molding, blow molding, and extrusion processes.

Also Known As

Production Worker

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing Technicians (2233.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing Technologists and Technicians (C133) 
  • 2011 NOC: Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians (2233) 
  • 2016 NOC: Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians (2233) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing Technicians

2006 NOC: 2233.2

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

There are several types of plastics processing. These include injection molding, rotational molding, extrusion processes, and blow molding.

In injection molding, molten plastic material is injected into a steel mold to form individual 3D products. These can include industrial components, domestic goods, or medical parts. The softened plastic quickly cools and hardens, and the mold opens. The part is ejected and the process is repeated for each new piece.

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

In extrusion processes, softened plastic is forced through a metal die. The continuous operation delivers products such as plastic pipe, film and sheet goods, and coverings for wires and cables. In another extrusion process, plastic is premixed to modify its properties.

In blow molding, melted plastic is formed into a parison. (A parison is a tube-like piece of plastic with a hole in one end.) A pressurized gas, most often compressed air, causes the hot parison to expand. This presses 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. In general, plastics processing technicians monitor the operation of automated equipment. They record product measurement and output rates. They also:

  • 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
  • Keep accurate, up-to-date records of production data, such as meter readings, and quantities, types, and dimensions of materials produced
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Plastics processing technicians work in manufacturing plants. Plants often operate 24 hours a day. Technicians can be required to stand for up to 12 hours at a time. They may work nights, weekends, and holidays. Safety gear is standard in an industrial setting. This includes eye and ear protection and steel-toed boots.

Handling heavy objects is also routine.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Plastics processing technicians need:

  • Manual dexterity
  • Physical stamina to stand for long periods of time
  • Mental alertness when performing repetitive tasks
  • Attention to detail
  • Mechanical ability
  • Problem-solving skills for correcting equipment-related and operations problems
  • Communication and interpersonal skills for working in a team environment

They should enjoy precision tasks. They should like being methodical in their work. They should enjoy helping engineers.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians

2011 NOC: 2233

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 38 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Oct 28, 2021 and Sep 30, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Organized
Health benefits: Health care plan
Personal Suitability: Initiative
Computer and Technology Knowledge: MS Excel
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Develop manufacturing and processing procedures
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Health benefits: Dental plan
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Minimum Education Varies

Plastics processing technicians need basic math. They also need a working knowledge of the processing characteristics of common plastics materials. Over time they develop the knowledge and skills to set up and maintain automated processing equipment. They also take safety training.

In Alberta, most plastics technicians are trained on the job. Employers may prefer applicants with one or more of the following:

  • Experience working in manufacturing or production settings
  • Experience working with small tools, forklifts, or pallet jacks
  • Related post-secondary education or training. This could include at least one semester in materials engineering or manufacturing technology, or completion of the first and second periods of millwright or related apprenticeship training.
  • A 4th Class Power Engineering Certificate

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Apprenticeship Trades
Northern Lakes College
Northwestern Polytechnic
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Plastics processing technicians work for large and small plastics manufacturers.

With experience, they may be promoted to supervisory positions. They may also advance by taking on positions in quality control and testing, equipment maintenance, or costing and production estimating. They may need further education to become managers.

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 [pdf] 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 (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 2233: Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.1% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 20 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians

2016 NOC: 2233
Average Wage
$46.04
Per Hour
Average Salary
$94,037.00
Per Year
Average Hours
39.3
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2233 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $20.00 $51.07 $28.83 $24.04
Overall $23.71 $72.12 $46.04 $48.08
Top $27.50 $115.38 $71.61 $55.29

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
ALL INDUSTRIES
Manufacturing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
18%
18%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
29%
29%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
3%
3%
Vacancy Rate
2%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Canadian Plastics Industry Association website: www.plastics.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. 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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