Learn to work with plastics – and watch your career take shape. From materials to melting to making – you’ll do it all.
Injection Mold Set-Up (Plastic) Apprentice Image
Injection Mold Set-Up (Plastic) Apprenticeship
Program Number: 504201
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  • Program Overview

    Work Description

    Injection molding machine setters set up and tend machines that transform plastic compounds into a wide variety of consumer goods such as toys, tubing and auto parts. They install plastic injection molds on the molding machine; make necessary connections of the electrical, hydraulic and cooling systems to the mold; insure that the correct plastic material, plastic melt temperatures, shot size, injection speed and pressures are set; and cycle the machine and adjust the molding parameters until acceptable parts are produced.

    Working Conditions

    Injection molding machine setters work in a typical factory shop setting and use protective equipment to avoid common hazards such as safety belts and protective glasses. This highly technical apprenticeship program requires a thorough understanding of the material taught in this program.


    • 5-year training program
    • 10,400 hours of on-the-job training
    • 576 hours of paid related instruction

    Units of instruction include electricity, hydraulics and pneumatics; statistical process control; plastic mold design and blueprint reading; technical mathematics; basic tool room machine shop operations; and an overview of many of the plastic molding processes other than injection molding.

    Learn more from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. 

    Program Details

    Injection Mold Set-Up (Plastic) Apprenticeship classes may be offered at these Madison College campuses:

    • Madison - Truax
    • Portage  
  • Curriculum and Experience

  • Admission

    How to Apply

    Injection molding apprenticeships applicants must find an apprenticeship with a sponsoring employer on his or her own (similar to looking for a job). Once the applicant has found a position, the employer starts the apprenticeship registration process by contacting a Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards (BAS) Representative for their county. If your employer is in another county in the Madison College District, contact Debbie Schanke at 608.246.3887.

    Application Requirements

    • Entry requirements vary by employer
    • High school diploma or equivalent
    • Applicants apply directly to participating employers
  • Career Outcomes

    Madison College Injection Molding (Plastic) Apprenticeship graduates are prepared to:  

    • Plastic Structure and Properties – Explain the polymerization process. Compare linear, branched, and cross-linked structures. Describe the functions of additives such as plasticizers, lubricants, fillers and reinforcements.
    • Introduction to Injection Molding – Describe the functions of the major components of an injection molding machine. Compare toggle and hydraulic clamping systems. Describe the various types of screw tips. Explain the purpose of back-pressure. Compare plastic pressure to hydraulic pressure.
    • Mold Installation and Start-Up – Determine maximum and minimum mold size. Explain the purpose of the locating ring. Describe the step-by-step process of clamping a mold to the platens. Establish molding parameters such as shot size, barrel temperatures, injection speeds and pressures, pack, hold, and cooling times, ejector stroke, and mold opening and closing speeds.
    • Mold Design and Construction – Explain the function of various mold components. Select the appropriate metals for cavities, cores and mold bases. Describe the different machining operations that may be used to produce mold cavities, cores and bases. Calculate runner, gate and venting requirements. Demonstrate mold polishing techniques.
    • Blueprint Reading – Understand and interpret the types of lines used on shop drawings and part prints. Apply tolerances and symbols. Identify threads, tapers and machined surfaces. Develop good sketching techniques.
    • Mathematics – Work with fractions, decimals, ratio and proportion, cutting speeds and feeds, basic algebra, geometry and trigonometry.
    • Inspection Procedures – Use precision measuring instruments to inspect plastic parts. Examine plastic parts for visual defects. Describe corrective action to eliminate defects.
    • Machine Shop Practices – Safely operate basic machine shop machines such as saws, lathes, mills, drill presses and grinders to produce simple parts when a qualified toolmaker is not available.
Contact the School of Technologies and Trades

Madison Truax Campus
Main Building, A2105

1701 Wright Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53704



Monday - Thursday: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Friday: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm (phone or email only)