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Top 10 Plastics Engineer Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for plastics engineers, including requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications are important for a plastics engineer in the job market because they demonstrate a certain level of knowledge and experience. They provide employers with assurance that the engineer has been trained to work with plastic materials and has a solid understanding of the processes involved in creating plastic components. Certifications also show potential employers that the engineer is committed to continuing education and professional development. By having certifications, an engineer can stand out from other candidates and be more competitive in their job search.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the top certifications for Plastics Engineers and explain how they can help to enhance a plastics engineer's career.

What are Plastics Engineer Certifications?

Plastics Engineer Certification (PEC) is a program of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) that recognizes and rewards individuals for their knowledge and expertise in the plastics industry. PEC is designed to ensure that engineers, scientists, and other professionals have the requisite knowledge to support the design, development, and use of plastics materials in various applications. Professionals who earn PEC certification demonstrate their expertise by passing a comprehensive exam on topics such as plastic materials properties, material selection, processing techniques, design principles, product testing methods, and quality control procedures.

The PEC program is beneficial for both employers and employees. For employers, it provides assurance that their staff has the necessary skills to effectively manage plastics projects. It also enables them to more easily identify those with proven experience in the field when hiring new personnel or promoting current employees. For employees, PEC certification can help them stand out from other job candidates and increase their potential earning power. Additionally, it can provide them with access to specialized training opportunities and increased job options within the plastics industry.

Pro Tip: When pursuing plastics engineer certification, make sure to research the organization and program you are interested in thoroughly. Be sure to check that the program meets the requirements of relevant industry standards and regulations, and that it provides comprehensive instruction on the principles of polymer processing, product design, and materials selection.

Related: What does a Plastics Engineer do?

Top 10 Plastics Engineer Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Plastics Engineers today.

1. Certified Plastics Engineer (CPE)

A Certified Plastics Engineer (CPE) is a professional designation that recognizes an individual's expertise in the field of plastics engineering. It is awarded by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), an international organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge and use of plastics.

To achieve CPE status, applicants must demonstrate a high level of technical proficiency and experience in the design, manufacture, and application of plastic materials and products. They must also pass a comprehensive exam administered by SPE. The exam covers topics such as material selection, processing techniques, product design, testing methods, quality control procedures, and safety regulations.

The process typically takes about six months from start to finish. To get started, applicants must first become members of SPE and submit an application for CPE certification. This includes providing evidence of their education and experience in the field as well as references from current or former employers or colleagues who can attest to their qualifications. Once approved, applicants will be given access to study materials for the exam and can begin preparing for it at their own pace.

The cost for CPE certification varies depending on whether you are already an SPE member or not. For non-members, there is a one-time fee of $250 plus the cost of membership dues ($125). For existing members, there is only a one-time fee of $250 to cover the cost of taking the exam.

2. Certified Polymer Technician (CPT)

Certified Polymer Technician (CPT) is a professional certification program that provides individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to work in the polymer industry. The program is designed to equip professionals with the technical expertise required to analyze, design, manufacture, and process polymers for various applications.

The CPT program consists of three levels: Level I, Level II, and Level III. Each level requires passing an exam and completing a certain number of hours of training in order to receive certification. The exams are administered by the American Polymer Association (APA).

Level I requires passing a written exam and completing 16 hours of training. Level II requires passing a written exam and completing 24 hours of training. Level III requires passing a written exam and completing 32 hours of training.

In order to take the CPT exams, applicants must submit an application form along with proof of their education history or relevant work experience. Applicants must also pay a fee for each level they are applying for. The fees vary depending on the level but typically range from $150-$500 USD per level.

Once applicants have passed all three levels they will be awarded the Certified Polymer Technician designation which is valid for three years before needing to be renewed.

3. Certified Plastics Technologist (CPT)

Certified Plastics Technologist (CPT) is a professional certification designed to recognize the expertise of individuals in the plastics industry. It is administered by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). The CPT certification is intended for those who have extensive knowledge and experience in the plastics field, including materials, processes, and applications.

To become certified as a CPT, an individual must pass an exam that tests their knowledge of plastics materials, processes, and applications. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and covers topics such as polymer chemistry, injection molding, extrusion, thermoforming, blow molding, vacuum forming, rotational molding and other related areas.

The exam takes approximately three hours to complete and costs $250 USD. To be eligible to take the exam, applicants must have at least five years of experience in the plastics industry or hold a degree in a related field from an accredited university. Applicants must also submit three references from people familiar with their work in the industry.

Once certified as a CPT, individuals can use this credential to demonstrate their expertise in the plastics field. This can help them advance their careers or gain access to new opportunities within the industry.

4. Certified Injection Molding Professional (CIMP)

Certified Injection Molding Professional (CIMP) is a certification program offered by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). The CIMP certification is designed to recognize injection molding professionals who have met the highest standards in their field.

The CIMP program consists of two parts: an online course and a comprehensive exam. The online course covers topics such as injection mold design, process control, material selection, tooling and troubleshooting. The comprehensive exam tests knowledge of these topics and also includes a practical component.

The online course can be completed in approximately 8 weeks or less depending on the student’s commitment level. The comprehensive exam must be taken at an SPE-approved testing center and takes approximately 4 hours to complete.

In order to become certified as a CIMP, applicants must have at least 5 years of experience in injection molding and pass both the online course and the comprehensive exam with a score of 80% or higher.

The cost for the CIMP program varies depending on whether you are an SPE member or non-member. For SPE members, the cost is $1,495 for both parts of the program (online course and comprehensive exam). For non-members, the cost is $2,095 for both parts of the program (online course and comprehensive exam).

5. Certified Plastic Extrusion Professional (CPEP)

Certified Plastic Extrusion Professional (CPEP) is a certification program designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of knowledge and proficiency in the field of plastic extrusion. The CPEP program is administered by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE).

The CPEP program consists of three components: an online self-assessment, a written examination, and a practical demonstration. The online self-assessment covers topics such as material selection, process design, tooling design, troubleshooting, and safety. The written examination tests the candidate’s knowledge in these areas. Finally, the practical demonstration requires the candidate to demonstrate their ability to set up and operate an extrusion line.

The CPEP program takes approximately 4-6 weeks to complete. Candidates must first register for the program on the SPE website and pay a fee of $250 USD. Once registered, candidates will receive access to the online self-assessment and instructions on how to prepare for the written exam and practical demonstration. Upon successfully passing all components of the CPEP program, candidates will receive their official CPEP certification.

6. Certified Plastic Fabrication Professional (CPFP)

Certified Plastic Fabrication Professional (CPFP) is a certification program that recognizes professionals who have demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to fabricate plastic components. The CPFP program is administered by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), an international organization dedicated to advancing plastics engineering and technology.

The CPFP program consists of a written exam, a practical exam, and an oral exam. The written exam covers topics such as material selection, design principles, fabrication techniques, and safety procedures. The practical exam requires applicants to demonstrate their ability to fabricate plastic components correctly and efficiently. The oral exam evaluates the applicant's understanding of the principles underlying plastic fabrication.

The CPFP program typically takes about six months to complete from start to finish. To get started, applicants must first submit an application form with all required documentation, including transcripts or other proof of education in plastics engineering or related fields. Once accepted into the program, applicants must pass all three exams within one year in order to become certified.

The cost for the CPFP certification varies depending on the applicant's country of residence and other factors. Generally speaking, it costs around $500 USD for US residents and up to $1,000 USD for non-US residents.

7. Certified Plastic Machining Professional (CPMP)

Certified Plastic Machining Professional (CPMP) is a certification program developed by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated their knowledge and expertise in plastic machining processes. The CPMP certification is intended for professionals working in the plastics industry, including engineers, technicians, and production personnel.

The CPMP certification process consists of two parts: an online exam and a practical assessment. The online exam covers topics such as material properties, machining methods, safety considerations, and quality control procedures. The practical assessment involves demonstrating one’s ability to use various tools and equipment to machine plastic components.

The CPMP certification process typically takes four to six weeks to complete. To get started, applicants must first register with SPE and pay the registration fee. Once registered, applicants will be given access to the online exam materials and can begin studying for the exam. After passing the online exam, applicants will then need to complete the practical assessment at an approved facility.

The cost of obtaining the CPMP certification varies depending on individual circumstances but typically ranges from $500-$1000 USD. This includes the registration fee as well as any additional costs associated with taking the practical assessment at an approved facility.

8. Certified Plastics Product Design Professional (CPPDP)

Certified Plastics Product Design Professional (CPPDP) is a certification program designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of expertise in the field of plastics product design. This certification is offered through the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE).

The CPPDP certification requires candidates to have at least three years of experience in plastics product design, as well as a bachelor's degree in engineering or related field. Candidates must also demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in areas such as materials selection, molding process selection, prototyping and testing methods, product design principles, and manufacturing processes.

To become certified, candidates must pass an examination administered by SPE. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as material selection, molding process selection, prototyping and testing methods, product design principles, and manufacturing processes. The fee for taking the exam is $300 USD.

Once a candidate passes the exam they will be awarded their CPPDP certification. The certification is valid for five years from the date it was issued. After five years, candidates must retake the exam to maintain their certification status.

Overall, obtaining the CPPDP certification can take several months depending on how quickly you are able to study for and pass the exam. It costs $300 USD to take the exam but there may be additional fees associated with preparing for it such as purchasing textbooks or attending seminars or workshops.

9. Certified Plastics Process Technician (CPPT)

Certified Plastics Process Technician (CPPT) is a certification program designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of individuals working in the plastics industry. The certification is offered by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), a professional organization dedicated to advancing plastics engineering and technology.

The CPPT program consists of two parts: an online exam and a hands-on practical assessment. The online exam tests knowledge in areas such as materials, processes, equipment, safety, quality control, troubleshooting and maintenance. The practical assessment requires applicants to demonstrate their ability to safely operate injection molding machines and other plastic processing equipment.

It typically takes around three months to complete the CPPT program, depending on how quickly you can complete the online exam and practical assessment. To get started on your certification journey, you must first submit an application form with payment of a fee ($150 USD for SPE members; $300 USD for non-members). Once your application is approved, you will be sent instructions on how to access the online exam and book a date for your practical assessment.

You will also need to pay an additional fee ($100 USD for SPE members; $200 USD for non-members) at least one week before your scheduled practical assessment date. Upon successful completion of both components of the program, you will receive your official CPPT certificate from SPE.

10. Certified Plastics Quality Assurance Professional (CPQAP)

Certified Plastics Quality Assurance Professional (CPQAP) is a professional certification program offered by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). The CPQAP certification is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated knowledge, experience and expertise in the field of plastics quality assurance.

The CPQAP certification requires applicants to pass an exam that covers topics such as plastic materials, processing, testing and inspection, product design and development, and quality control. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and takes approximately two hours to complete.

Applicants must also have at least three years of experience in the plastics industry or related field. In addition, applicants must submit a resume outlining their work experience in the plastics industry.

The cost for the CPQAP certification program is $350 USD. This fee includes the cost of the exam and all study materials.

Do You Really Need a Plastics Engineer Certificate?

The short answer to this question is “it depends.” Whether or not you need a plastics engineer certificate depends on what type of job you are seeking and the requirements of the position. For example, if you are looking to work in the plastics industry, it is likely that employers will require some sort of certification or credentialing in order to be considered for the job. In this case, a plastics engineer certificate would be beneficial.

On the other hand, if you are simply looking for a general engineering position without any specific focus on plastics, then a plastics engineer certificate may not be necessary. The same can be said for most other engineering positions; employers will usually require credentials related to the type of engineering they are hiring for.

In summary, whether or not you need a plastics engineer certificate depends largely on what type of job you are applying for and the requirements associated with it. If the position requires specific knowledge or experience related to plastic engineering, then having such a certification could give you an edge over other applicants who do not have one. However, if no such requirement exists, then obtaining such a certificate may not necessarily be necessary in order to secure employment in an engineering field.

Related: Plastics Engineer Resume Examples

FAQs About Plastics Engineer Certifications

1. What is a Plastics Engineer Certification?

Answer: A Plastics Engineer Certification is a professional credential that recognizes an individual's expertise in the field of plastics engineering. It demonstrates knowledge and experience with the principles and practices of designing, manufacturing, and testing plastic components and products.

2. What are the requirements to become certified?

Answer: Requirements vary depending on the certifying organization, but typically include education, work experience, and passing an examination or completing a portfolio review.

3. How long does it take to get certified?

Answer: The amount of time required to become certified varies based on the certifying organization and individual experience level; however, most programs require at least one year of experience working in plastics engineering before applying for certification.

4. Are there any continuing education requirements for maintaining certification?

Answer: Yes, most certifying organizations require that individuals complete continuing education courses or credits to maintain their certification status.

5. How much does it cost to become certified?

Answer: Costs vary based on the certifying organization; however, they generally range from $500-$1000 USD for application fees plus additional fees for exams or other required materials.