Molding Worker Careers: Salary Information & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons to being a molding worker? Is it worth the training requirements? Check out some real job descriptions to get the truth about career prospects to find out if becoming a molding worker is right for you.
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A Molding Worker Career: Pros and Cons

Plastic and metal parts for toys and other objects are created by molding workers. Check out some of the other pros and cons to working as a molding worker below.

Pros of a Molding Worker Career
Minimal educational requirements*
Job training is available through apprenticeships*
Advancement opportunities with experience and skill growth*
As the baby boomer generation retires, employment openings are expected*

Cons of a Molding Worker Career
Decline in job growth (15% decrease between 2012-2022)*
Factory jobs may be sent overseas*
Overtime, weekend and evening hours are common in the factory environment*
Regular exposure to dust, chemicals and loud noises in factories*
Working with dangerous machinery can lead to serious injuries*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Occupational Information

Job Description

After mixing the various chemicals used in the molding process, molding workers load it into the machinery and operate it. Molding workers stack various molds that have been completed in ovens and storage areas depending on the stage the mold is at. When placing a mold in the oven,,workers need to know the temperature to ensure it is at the proper level. After the molding process is finished, molding workers clean it up and provide any finishing touches on the items before packaging it and sending it to a specific destination. The touch up process involves working with cutting tools to eliminate any imperfections and reusing the material for future molds.

Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that in May 2014, molding, casting and coremarking machine operators earned an average of $15 an hour, which resulted in an average yearly salary of $30,600 (www.bls.gov). The top 10% of annual wages was around $45,000. Hawaii, Maine, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Washington were the states that paid molding workers the highest on average.

Vocational Requirements

Training and Education

As with most careers, a GED or a high school diploma is preferred for molding worker applicants. If your high school offers vocational programs, you'll want to look for ones that offer blueprint reading and shop courses. Mathematic classes in statistics, trigonometry, algebra and geometry are also beneficial. Computer science courses aren't a bad idea either due to the computer systems used in machinery. Community colleges and technical schools might offer certificate or associate degree programs for metal and plastic machine operation.

Beyond your education, you'll need some job training as well to be a molding worker. Some employers are willing to take people without any experience and provide them with on-the-job training. There are also apprenticeship options with some employers and organizations. The more experience you acquire, the more qualified you'll be for advanced molding work positions. As part of the training process, molding workers learn how to work with hand-operated and automated machinery.

What Do Employers Want?

Due to having to work with machinery, employers want molding workers who are comfortable working on computers. Employers also want molding workers who have good endurance. This is an occupation that requires you to perform similar tasks repeatedly while remaining standing for an extended amount of time. Some job postings from April 2012 can reveal additional information on what real employers look for in molding workers.

  • An energy systems business in Texas is requesting a molding worker with a means of transportation and who is willing to complete a drug test.
  • In Indiana, a molding worker capable of heavy lifting is needed.
  • Another Indiana company is looking for a molding worker with at least three years of experience working with scientific molding processing.

How Do You Stand Out?

Taking the time to earn professional certification can help set you apart from other molding workers. The National Institute for Metalworking Skills offers certified mold maker options. Workers are first tested on basic competencies, like inspection and measuring. From there, a molding worker advances to the intermediate level and is tested on taking inventory and evaluating equipment. Finally, workers have the option to be tested on advanced skills. Possessing these credentials demonstrates that you have an additional level of commitment to molding work that your peers might not.

Alternative Career Choices

If you're interested in putting products together instead of creating parts, you may want to look into being a structural metal fabricator and fitter. In this occupation, you'll use special tools to combine parts together with riveting or welding. When you're working on a project, you have to carefully read the blueprints to ensure you're getting everything right. In May 2011, the BLS reported that structural metal fabricators and fitters earned $37,000 on average annually.

If you like the work a molding worker performs, but you're looking to work with more precise machinery, you could become a machinist. By using computer controlled or manual controlled grinders, lathes and milling machines, you'll create precise metal parts. These parts might be mass produced or the items might be unique. Machinists had an average yearly income of about $41,000 according to the BLS in May 2011.

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