Polymer Process Technician
GACC Pittsburgh Chapter Apprenticeship - Polymer Technician

Polymer Process Technician

Polymer Technician combines mechatronics with polymer certification for plastics, including extrusion, blow mold, injection molding.

up to ~6,000 hours of On-the-Job Training

550 Hours of Related Technical Instruction in: Plastics, Extrusion, Blow Mold, Injection Molding

Credentials Earned:

  • DIHK German Apprenticeship Certification
    with German translation

Enrolling Now
last updated Oct 16, 2023


A Polymer Process Technician's primary job is to set up, monitor and troubleshoot plastic injection-molding machines. This requires specialized knowledge of materials, specific tools, and equipment. Troubleshooting tasks might include dealing with inconsistent material, faulty equipment, human error, and preventing defects from occurring.

Moreover, they ensure injection molding machines, auxiliary equipment and connected automated systems are set to regulation parameters, meet quality standards and all production goals.

In addition, Technicians provide feedback on mold design and assist tool and die makers to dial in each mold for optimal cycle time and quality and are able to apply all aspects of scientific molding.


  • Basic Electrical & Their Components
    Program and maintain mechatronics systems of the machines.
  • Motor Control
    Understand all components of an extruder/blow mold machine (motor, screw, die head), and error recognition on extrusion tooling.
  • Wiring, Power Distribution, and Hydraulics
    Learn how to wire, operate, and adjust the performance of extrusion equipment.
  • Basic Chemistry
    Knowledge of plastic material and other basic chemistry concepts.
  • Plastics and Extrusion/Injection/Blow Molding
    Start-up an extrusion/blow mold line and knowledge of material process PVC Compound / Regrind (Temperature and melt condition).


Polymer Process Technicians can work as Blow Mold / Injection Mold or Extrusion Technicians.

  • Set up and take down an extrusion/blow mold line incl. cooling routes, puller operation and saw / guillotine set up
  • Understands all components of an extruder/blow mold machine (motor, screw, die head), and error recognition on extrusion tooling, including cooling routes, puller operation and saw / guillotine
  • Start-up an extrusion/blow mold line and knowledge of material process PVC Compound / Regrind (Temperature and melt condition)
  • String-up an extrusion/blow mold line and bringing a profile up to shape (Evaluate flow sample) (Make a profile to keep wall thickness even)
  • Start-up, and adjust / trouble-shooting production lines until sale competency (Material process PVC / Regrind)
  • Quality Control - Visual inspections and dimensional checks
  • Monitor profile while running and make process adjustments as necessary to maintain product quality
  • Operating, adjustments of additional extrusion equipment
  • Knowledge of plastic material
  • Program and maintain mechatronics systems of the machines
  • Assemble sub-assemblies and components into machines and systems
  • Assemble and dismantle machinery, systems and plants, transport and secure
  • Monitor and troubleshoot processing problems
  • Perform preventive maintenance tasks, and document process changes

GACC Pittsburgh Chapter works closely with the community colleges, career and technical centers and other credentialing institutions in the areas closest to where our apprentices live or work. The education partner awards academic credit for completion of instructions that may be delivered in a classroom on a community college campus or online either synchronously or asynchronously.
GACC Pittsburgh Chapter Community Colleges Partnerships
Prof. Starr & Student

Apprentices will attend community college courses that are integrated with the On the Job training. The core courses include a 30-35 credit certification in Mechatronics, with courses in Electricity, Mechanics, Motor Controls, Pneumatics, Hydraulics, Robotics, Programming Logic Controls (PLCs), Power Distribution. With a second certification in Polymers, which focuses on basic polymer chemistry, safety, troubleshooting and quality control methods. The Associate’s Degree will continue with advanced courses in these areas with the ability to specialize for a variety of industries and careers.

Additional certification that is provided during the pre-apprenticeship program and/or during the apprenticeship program’s curriculum may be delivered in a classroom format or online over a robust enterprise platform that enables 24/7 access to training content and tracks skill gain against competency models. The curriculum includes classes in basic electrical and their components, motor control, wiring, power distribution, hydraulics, pneumatics and robotics. For example, in Mechatronics Industrial Processes, apprentices learn how engineering materials are gathered and processed for use. The course covers principles of production planning, inventory management and the operating and troubleshooting of industrial equipment. Students who successfully pass the course will sit for the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council's (MSSC) Processes and Production and Maintenance Awareness exams towards achievement of the Certified Production Technician (CPT) credential.

GACC Pittsburgh Chapter Turbine Workforce course catalog view
online course turbine workforce

Upon completion the Polymer Process Technician Apprentices receive:

  • Journeyman papers from the Dept. of Labor & Industry (issued through the GACC Pittsburgh Chapter)
  • Certificate in Mechatronics and Polymer Processing from a partnering community college
  • Associates degree from a partnering community college
  • Apprenticeship Certificate from the DIHK