Are you interested in a job that centers around manufacturing plastic or other things necessary to living in the modern world? A career as a plastic production operator or a related career might be just what you’re looking for.
Jobs related to production operations run the gamut from assembly line workers to management and engineers. What’s more, the opportunities in manufacturing are yours for the taking.
Take the production of plastics, for example. The industry is the third biggest in the U.S. and is worth $74 billion. In 2019, there were more than one million jobs in the plastic production industry.
The U.S. produced 121.4 billion pounds of plastic in 2019. Plastics have replaced glass, wood, and metal as the dominant material in many consumer products.
What’s more, the plastic market is expected to grow globally at a rate of 3.4% a year through 2028, with the packaging, construction, electronics, automotive, and medical devices industries seeing the most use of plastic products.
Plastic Production Job Description
Plastic production involves acquiring raw materials such as oil, natural gas, or plants, then chemically processing it into a polymer that is altered to fit a need. Polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyurethane are the most commonly produced plastic products in manufacturing today.
Plastics can also be transformed into polyester that is used in textile and fabric production. Plastic is also used for packaging most food products and consumer goods. The use of plastic in medical products is also vital and contributes to our health.
Specific processes go into the successful production of plastic materials, and it takes cooperation from many workers, including engineers, production managers, assembly or production operators, and more.
Production Worker and Operator Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics website shows that entry-level positions such as fabrication technicians and production operators in the plastic production industry earn a median annual income of $32,740, or $14.84 an hour.
An upper management position such as a production manager can earn an average of $48.34 an hour or $107,610 a year. Industrial engineers earn a median wage of $83,120 annually, or $38.38 an hour.
- Dow Chemicals lists 53 available jobs in Texas alone related to plastic and chemical production. Dow also has 85 entry-level, intermediate, and mid-level production jobs open throughout the U.S.
- Teknor Apex offers many opportunities to work in production and operator jobs across the country, including production operator and production helper roles.
- Lyondellbasell has 143 job postings across the spectrum of plastics production located throughout the U.S., including Texas, New York, West Virginia, and more.
Training and Requirements for Production Operator Jobs
The training and education required for a job in plastics and chemical production will depend on the type of position you’re interested in. For instance, a hiring manager might only require a high school diploma for production operators and other unskilled labor positions. Most companies offer on-the-job training for those positions.
More advanced positions such as technicians will usually require some trade or technical schooling. Engineer jobs will usually need an advanced college degree, while management positions will often require a bachelor’s degree from a university.
Whenever higher learning is required for a plastics production job, chemistry courses should be a priority.