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Polymer Technology Certificate

Plastic is a synthetic polymer used in the manufacture of automotive, construction, medical and aerospace products, and in many other industries. Nationally, PA is currently ranked 5th in plastics industry employment. *

Also, southwest Pennsylvania has gained further competitive ground in the industry due to 1) its collocation to the Marcellus Shale Play, the second-largest natural gas field in the world and 2) the building of the Shell Cracker Plant in Beaver County, which will produce ethane from that natural gas. Together, this is stimulating the growth of plastics manufacturing in the region.

The Polymer Technology Certificate prepares students for entry-level careers in Polymer Manufacturing. The program introduces polymer materials, including the history and environmental impact of materials used in polymer manufacturing. The focus of the program will be on basic polymer chemistry, safety, troubleshooting, and quality control methods.

Students who complete MEC 100 and MEC 102 will sit for the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician (CPT) industry credential. This is a National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) endorsed credential.

Upon successful completion of the program, the graduate will:

  • Program, configure and operate automated industrial equipment while following industry safety guidelines.
  • Apply basic computational skills in measurement and analysis of technical formulas and schematics.
  • Explain the environmental impact of the polymer manufacturing industry.
  • Classify polymers based upon their molecular build, melt flow index, energy balance, thermodynamics, and viscoelasticity.

Certificate Requirements

FIRST SEMESTER
MEC 100 – Mechatronics Safety and Quality – 3 credits
This course prepares students with common skills and competencies they will need to work in Pennsylvania’s manufacturing and energy industries.  This course emphasizes the principles of safety and quality.  Students will learn about safety-enhancing workplace practices, including wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), performing lockout/tag out, and filling out Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).  They will learn the fundamentals of blueprint reading, precision measurement, and quality inspection.

MEC 102 – Mechatronics Industrial Processes – 3 credits
This course emphasizes industrial processes and maintenance.  Students will learn how engineering materials are gathered and processed for use.  The course covers principles of production planning, inventory management, operating, and troubleshooting of industrial equipment.

MEC 115 - Introduction to Polymers Class – 3 credits
This course introduces participants to manufacturing processes, materials, and concepts. Focus areas of the course include the history and environmental impact of various materials, basic polymer chemistry, molecular structure, characterization of materials, SDS sheets, safety, manufacturing hazards, the effect of temperature on materials, and additives. These topics are reinforced with hands-on labs and thought-provoking activities as well as related internet sites for further participant learning.

TOTAL:  9 credits

SECOND SEMESTER
MEC 103 – Fundamentals of Electricity – 3 credits
This course introduces the student to the fundamentals of direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) electric circuits.  This is accomplished through a series of hands-on exercises performed in the lab.  The operation of basic circuit components and their electrical quantities are observed by constructing circuits and using a digital multimeter (DMM) to measure their operation.  Students will learn how to read a schematic diagram and build series and parallel circuits from these diagrams.

MEC 125 - Advanced Materials and Methods – 4 credits
This course provides students with advanced concepts and hands-on training in manufacturing processes, materials, and concepts. Focus areas of the course include the history and environmental impact of various materials, advanced polymer chemistry, molecular structure, characterization of materials, SDS sheets, safety, manufacturing hazards, the effect of temperature on materials, and additives. These topics are reinforced with hands-on labs and thought-provoking activities as well as related internet sites for further participant learning.

TOTAL:  7 credits

TOTAL CERTIFICATE CREDITS:  16 credits

More Information

CCAC’s Polymer Technology certificate program is held at West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pa.  The certificate includes 5 classes for a total of 16 credits which can be completed in just two semesters. Graduates can also apply these credits toward an Associate of Science degree in Mechatronics Technology.

To apply or learn more, call 412-788-7500.   

CCAC West Hills Center
1000 McKee Road
Oakdale, PA 15071 

* https://www.plasticsindustry.org/factsheet/pennsylvania