The plastics industry is one of the largest and widest industries in the world. Since plastics can be found and used in almost any application – from household items to space and aviation materials – a lot of people have been getting jobs in this field of work.
Many tasks are entailed in the jobs of plastics engineers. From product design and development to the testing and manufacturing of these products, plastics engineers are hands-on in most of the processes required in making plastic products. Not only do they perform these tasks regularly, but they are also expected to keep abreast of the latest news in the engineering industry as well as the new technologies and new polymers developed by other labs and companies. Although a bachelor’s degree will enable a person to become a plastics engineer, he or she might also be expected to take up a master’s degree or higher in order to further his or her career.
National averages are available for chemical engineers. These do not directly reflect the average salary for plastics engineers and as such, salaries that are mentioned here may be slightly higher or slightly lower. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 29,000 chemical engineers in the year 2009. These engineers’ average wage per hour was about $44.07 and about $91,670 per year. Those in the top 10 percent of earners had about an average of $63.93 per hour or $132, 980 per year. On the other hand, the engineers in the lowest 10 percentile made roughly $26.97 per hour or $56,090 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also says that the “architectural, engineering and related services” sector employed the most number of chemical engineers in the year 2009. An average wage of $44.71 an hour or about $91,400 per year is earned by the estimated 4,490 engineers in the said sector. On the other hand, about $43.94 an hour or $91,400 per year was earned by the estimated 3,680 engineers in the “basic chemical manufacturing” sector.
There are also differences in salaries depending on the engineer’s geographic location. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, chemical and plastics engineers in Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Wisconsin and Columbia earned the highest average salaries in 2009 across all states.