Plastics Engineering Technology

Plastics Degrees = Plastics Careers

Plastics is a growing and rich field, representing the third largest industry in the U.S, which is precisely why MMCC launched its Plastics Engineering Technology Program in 2015.

But graduates of MMCC’s Associate Program don’t need to travel to find employment. The mid-Michigan area is filled with opportunities—recently, over 57,000 Michiganders were employed in this industry. MMCC’s students are scouted and offered jobs by both local and national employers who recognize the exceptional training they receive at Mid.

"I was encouraged to push past boundaries, those I created for myself and those existing in the industry. I gained hands-on, real-world experience in Mid's plastics lab, and surpassed my own expectations. Through community involvement connected to the program, I have fully developed my passion for plastics and for empowering other women to explore and excel in this career field."

- Katie Money, MMCC Graduate

“I am so thankful that I found MMCC and its plastics program. The knowledge and experience that I walked away with from the program helped me find a great job. I wish I would have known about the skilled trades programs the first time I went through college. Upon completion of this two-year program I now make a great wage that is competitive with many four year degrees.”

- Kevin Finkbeiner, MMCC PLT Program Graduate, Quality Lab Technician, Asahi Kasei Plastics North America, Fowlerville

“Growing up in Beaverton, Michigan, known as the Thermoforming Capitol of the World, has allowed me to be surrounded by the plastics industry my whole life. However, until attending MMCC I never fully understood the vastness of this business nor the amount of the products produced by this sector. The Plastics Program at Mid has given me the opportunity to learn first-hand about the intricate processes many local facilities specialize in. With less than two semesters left at MMCC to achieve my Associate’s Degree, I look forward to using this knowledge in my future career.”

- Alex VanBuren, MMCC Student

Why Choose MMCC?

Our Program Was Built for Today’s Plastics Industry

MMCC’s newly-created Plastics Engineering Technology program offers a laddered series of credentials that provides training for entry-level up through mid-level positions in manufacturing environments. The Program was created to meet current demand and to provide students first-hand training in the latest technologies.

Funded in part through a National Science Foundation grant, our plastics program features new equipment for hands-on learning, newly renovated labs, and an educational pathway that encompasses the essential range of skills that successful plastics technicians need (3D printing and scanning, work force readiness, manufacturing and drafting principles). The program was developed in conjunction with manufacturer input to ensure that what students learn aligns with what employers want them to learn.

Because of its limited seats, plastics’ class sizes stay small and students get one-on-one attention from program faculty. They also gain free membership into SPE (Society of Plastics Engineers), the most well-known plastics professional society in the world.

Flexibility for All Students: Open Labs, Online Options, Laddered Credentials

MMCC plastics graduates can enter the workforce in one to two years or less, depending on how far they go.

What are laddered credentials? It means that all of our plastics training programs build upon one another, so that students can gain credentials, begin working, and continue their educations at MMCC. We offer a rapid training program (120 hours of study) that can be extended into our one-year certificate or achievement, which can be extended into our two-year associate degree.

Flexible learning options allow students to select online courses and complete hands-on lab work any time during the College's open lab hours. To accommodate working students, our lab remains open into the evening.

Two Years at MMCC, Two Years Beyond for Bachelor Degree Seekers

Want to gain a bachelor degree or beyond in plastics engineering? MMCC currently has agreements with Central Michigan University, Ferris State University, and Saginaw Valley State University, and continues to expand this list.

Students who spend two years at MMCC have a guarantee of credit transfer to these institutions—they complete about half of their bachelor degrees for about half of the tuition costs.

Students participating in our 2+2 transfer paths save up to $17,000 on their bachelor degrees without wasting time or credits along the way.

Career Information

Plastics careers range from manufacturing positions, in which plastic materials are formed and fabricated into products, to technical and engineering jobs that develop plastics materials and product designs, to associated sales and support positions.

Career options will depend on whether students enter the workforce with their Associate Degree or go on to pursue a Bachelor Degree. Below are a few career possibilities.

Associate Degree Holders

Industrial Engineering Technician

2015 Median Pay: $25.86 / Hour or $53,780 / Year

Entry-Level: Associate Degree

Operations Technician

2015 Median Pay: $31.82 / Hour or $66,180 / Year

Entry-Level: Associate Degree

Civil Engineering Technician

2015 Median Pay: $23.68 / Hour or $49,260 / Year

Entry-Level: Associate Degree

Industrial Machinery Mechanics

2015 Median Pay: $23.38 / Hour or $67,130 / Year

Entry-Level: Associate Degree

Plastics Machine Workers

2015 Median Pay: $16.38 / Hour or $34,080 / Year

Entry-Level: Associate Degree

Bachelor Degree Holders

Sales Engineering

2015 Median Pay: $46.95 / Hour or $97,650 / Year

Entry-Level: Bachelor Degree

Industrial Engineer

2015 Median Pay: $40.13 / hour or $83,470 / year

Entry-Level: Associate Degree

Industrial Designer

2015 Median Pay: $32.28 / Hour or $67,130 / Year

Entry-Level: Bachelor Degree

Engineering Manager

2015 Median Pay: $63.85 / Hour or $132,800 / Year

Entry-Level: Bachelor Degree

Job/Career Outlook

• The plastics industry is the third largest manufacturing industry in the United States
• The U.S. plastics industry employs more than 876 thousand
• The U.S. plastics industry creates more than $341 billion in annual shipments
• When suppliers to the plastics industry are considered, there are 1.4 million workers and total shipments grow to $417 billion
• There are more than 16,632 plastics facilities in the United States
• The U.S. plastics industry had a $16.2 billion trade surplus in 2010
• The plastics industry has a presence in every state
• From1980 to 2010, U.S. plastics industry shipments have grown at a 2.4 percent annual rate
• From 1980 to 2010, productivity in plastics manufacturing has grown 2.3 percent per year, which is better than the 1.9 percent per year productivity growth for manufacturing as a whole

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