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Packaging technologist

Packaging technologists design and develop packaging for different products.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,000 to £40,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need a foundation degree, an HND or a degree in packaging or packaging design. Other relevant subjects include materials science, food technology, nutrition, physics or chemistry.

You could start as a packaging line operator and, with training, work your way up.

Packaging Futures and Creative Choices have more details about careers in packaging technology and industrial design.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • science and maths skills
  • communication and negotiating skills
  • excellent IT skills
  • attention to detail
  • budget management skills
  • the ability to work to deadlines

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • producing sample packaging to try out different materials and designs
  • running production trials and tests to make sure the packaging works properly and is safe
  • meeting with production line engineers to work out the best way to make the packaging
  • working with graphic designers on the artwork, to make sure it fits in with the company’s marketing and branding schemes

You’ll need to consider:

  • how fragile the product is and how much protection it needs
  • possible reactions to light, moisture or materials within the packaging
  • the conditions it may be in during transportation, like high or low temperatures
  • legal requirements, like accurate labelling and safe packaging of hazardous materials
  • the environmental impact of packaging production, and its disposal once used

4. Salary

Starter: £20,000 to £24,000

Experienced: £25,000 to £35,000

Highly Experienced: £40,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. If you work in manufacturing, you may occasionally have on-call duties.

You’ll work in an office, with some time spent in laboratories, testing materials. You’ll also monitor factory production line processes, where you’ll need to wear protective clothing.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into areas like marketing and sales, development management or artwork design. 

You could go freelance as a packaging consultant.

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Last updated: 08 December 2016