INDIANAPOLIS - May 8 at ANTEC was like final exams all over again for 27 people who took the first Society of Plastics Engineers certification test. Test-takers should know in four to six weeks whether they passed, said Jack Contessa, SPE's managing director for education. Those who pass, and meet other criteria, will be certified as plastics technologists.
``The test went very well, particularly since we have no experience proctoring these types of high-stakes examinations,'' Contessa said. ``It was a good-sized group for an initial exam.''
The exam was given in a room at the Indiana Convention Center. The test was open-book, but test-takers were required to use calculators supplied at the door. It was split into two, 21/2-hour sessions, with a break for lunch. In the morning session, questions centered on basic technical subjects, such as chemistry and mathematics, including statistical process control. Processing questions were presented in the afternoon.
SPE's certification program is geared toward people who have a plastics-related college degree.
Late afternoon on May 8, extrusion consultant Allan Griff ventured straight from the test onto the ANTEC show floor, sharpened No. 2 pencils were still in his breast pocket. Griff said he was pleased the test was aimed at ``rank and file plastics engineers'' - not hourly workers and not polymer scientists. Someone who has not attended college would have trouble passing the test, he said.
One of the requirements to take the test is six years of industry experience. Of those six years, up to four years can be from education.
``We want them to have some work experience,'' said Contessa.
By January, SPE hopes to begin giving the test in locations across the United States. SPE is working with the Arlington, Va.-based National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies, which administers tests.
The test impressed Griff, director of Edison Technical Services of Bethesda, Md.
``It was done very efficiently. They were very serious,'' he said.