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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.

  • Avg. Salary $66,039.00
  • Avg. Wage $32.08
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 2,000
  • In Demand Medium
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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

42%
42%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Plastics Processing Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing Technicians
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 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

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.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
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.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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

Grande Prairie Regional College

Northern Lakes College

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

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 C133: Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing Technologists and Technicians occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.2% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 20 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians

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 $16.42 $42.00 $26.37 $25.00
Overall $21.57 $48.45 $32.08 $30.50
Top $23.55 $60.84 $39.28 $36.16

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.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Construction
Public Administration
Wholesale Trade
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
ALL INDUSTRIES
Manufacturing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

42%
42%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

22%
22%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

5%
5%

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

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

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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