Polymer & Plastics Engineering

2022 Polymer & Plastics Engineering Degree Guide

Plastics have been useful materials since they were developed. However, not all plastics are the same. If you know the difference between these materials and are interested in customizing them for specific industrial uses, Polymer and Plastics Engineering is your major.

As a Polymer and Plastics Engineering student, you will take classes in the plastics industry, chemistry, manufacturing, applied mathematics, polymer synthesis, and thermoforming. These classes will teach you the skills to customize plastics for specific uses, design and create new light-weight materials, and tailor material properties.

A Recent Jump in Polymer & Plastics Engineering Degrees

#293 Most Popular Major
360 Degrees Awarded
8.3% Increase in Graduates

In 2020-2021, polymer and plastics engineering was the 293rd most popular major nationwide with 360 degrees awarded. This represents a 8.3% increase in polymer engineering degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 330.

Our 2023 Best Polymer & Plastics Engineering Schools ranking analyzes 8 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for polymer and plastics engineering students. Explore this or one of our many other custom polymer engineering rankings further below.

Best Polymer & Plastics Engineering Schools by Degree

Polymer & Plastics Engineering Degree Requirements

Students who excel in this career have a strong background in math and science. Polymer and Plastics Engineering deals a lot with the makeup of materials, requiring a strong understanding of chemistry. Students must also have problem solving and critical thinking skills to develop new materials and products and fix any issues that may come up during the testing phase. Strong teamwork and communication skills allow students to work well with other professionals when working on a project.

Most polymer and plastics engineers work full time in a laboratory or industrial setting. This allows professionals to work in research and development while keeping an eye on the results of their projects.

Practical experience is important in this field and employers often look for it on resumes when hiring. Students can gain this experience through internships or cooperative engineering programs. These programs allow students to earn college credit while working at a relevant location.

Although graduates will be able to find jobs with their bachelor's degree, if you would like to conduct research and development, you will have to obtain your master's degree. This advanced degree will also allow graduates to move into higher management positions.

Prior Education for a Polymer Engineering Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most polymer engineering degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. In addition to these basic polymer and plastics engineering program qualifications, to serve in some polymer engineering careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Polymer & Plastics Engineering Degree Types

Polymer Engineering degree levels vary. You can get anything from a in polymer and plastics engineering to the highest polymer engineering degree, a . The type of polymer engineering degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to polymer engineering, with approximately 36.4% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to polymer engineering tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 45.5%
Master’s Degree 27.1%
Doctoral Degree 12.8%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 5.1%
Post-Doctoral Training 4.9%

58.0% of polymer engineering workers have at least a master's. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in polymer and plastics engineering have obtained.


This of course varies depending on which polymer engineering career you choose.

Career Opportunities for Polymer Engineering Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$63.7k Average Starting Salary
7% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Polymer and Plastics Engineering graduates have a variety of career options available to them. These materials are used in many different fields opening up careers in aeronautics, architecture, and electronic component manufacturing among others.

Since many fields are constantly looking for new and better materials, Polymer and Plastics Engineering graduates will likely be in demand. Those who have previous experience in the field will have an easier time finding a job.

Growth Projected for Polymer Engineering Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your polymer engineering degree? Polymer & Plastics Engineering careers are expected to grow 6.8% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to polymer and plastics engineering.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Architectural and Engineering Managers 190,000 5.5%
Engineering Professors 54,600 14.7%
Materials Engineers 27,500 1.9%

Polymer Engineering Degree Salary Potential

Recently graduated polymer and plastics engineering students earned an average of $63,720 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $55,793 to as high as $66,366. As you might expect, salaries for polymer engineering graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Polymer Engineering Majors

Salaries for polymer and plastics engineering graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers polymer engineering grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers $148,970
Engineering Professors $113,680
Materials Engineers $96,930

Getting Your Polymer & Plastics Engineering Degree

With over 36 different polymer engineering degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased polymer engineering school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Polymer & Plastics Engineering

Polymer & Plastics Engineering is one of 40 different types of Engineering programs to choose from.

Majors Similar to Polymer Engineering

Related Major Annual Graduates
Mechanical Engineering 46,178
Electrical Engineering 28,844
Civil Engineering 21,388
Computer Engineering 17,987
Chemical Engineering 12,917

View All Polymer Engineering Related Majors >


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