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Degree Overview: Graduate Certificate Programs in Plastics Engineering

Majors Overview August 31, 2015

This article talks about graduate certificate programs in plastics engineering and their educational requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Information on Graduate Certificate Programs in Plastics Engineering

Some U.S. schools offer graduate certificate programs in plastics engineering; students typically finish them in around a year. Enrollees learn about designing better plastic pieces for use in manufacturing. Manufacturing engineers who want to add plastics engineering as an area of specialty could benefit from enrolling in these certificate programs. After they complete the program, students may apply the credits earned toward a master’s degree in plastics engineering, provided the program is available.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering or science. Due to the low number of schools offering this program, admission is competitive, and students are commonly required to have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or 3.5. Varying by an individual school’s admission policies, schools may consider Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores if the student does not meet GPA standards.


Varying from schools, coursework may be completed within just a few classes or more than ten courses. Students usually take 1-2 years to complete the certificate programs; coursework combines core classes and electives in equal measure. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Molding Plastics
•Science of plastics and polymers
•Processing Plastics
•Structure and properties of plastics

Job and Wage Outlook

There is a rising trend in the use of low-cost products like polymers and plastics in the manufacturing industry for parts in electronics, vehicles, adhesives, and paints, among other products. Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a slow job growth rate has been predicted for materials engineers (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). However, there is a rising demand for these professionals especially as replacements for those who retire (BLS). In May 2012, materials engineers brought in an average annual wage of around $85,150 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Credits earned from the certificate program may be applied by students toward a graduate degree in engineering. Similar programs are offered by schools in different types of engineering to meet the needs of students wanting to consider other aspects of engineering after they complete the program.

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