The Education Gap in Packaging


Packaging Industry Prominence

In an industry as competitive and flourishing as packaging, there must be a resource for effective learning and training for individuals and companies. However, if you research education in packaging, you will find restricted options. For the nation’s third largest industry, there is a tremendous void in educating the many working professionals, most of whom lack a formal education in packaging or packaging science.

 Global Containers and Packaging Market Value Forecast: $ billion, 2014-2019
Global Containers and Packaging Market Value Forecast: $ billion, 2014-2019


Education Options

The four types of education offerings for packaging are: public universities, trade/company specific seminars, supplier driven schools, and professional organizations.

Public Universities

Packaging World, a reputable industry media source, provides a list of all public universities with a study in packaging. If you review this list, you will find 22 schools, with only a handful of these providing comprehensive packaging programs. The schools with complete packaging programs are: CalPoly University, Clemson University, Michigan State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rutgers, and the University of Florida. Other schools on the list provide education in niche areas of packaging such as packaging design, robotics and manufacturing technology, and food science. Though all valuable and reputable curriculums, they are collegiate and not accommodating to working professionals.

Trade/Company Specific Seminars

There are a number of seminars offered that educate individuals in packaging, however they are focused on a specific medium such as substrate, process, manufacturing, or market. Upcoming packaging seminars are listed at Packaging World, International Packaging Institute, Packaging Digest, and more. Large in-person seminars can be useful for creating community among professionals. Unfortunately, their in-person nature forces a large amount of information to be consumed over a short duration of time. It is difficult to provide comprehensive education on a topic in a matter of a few days. It is even more difficult for an attendee to learn, retain, and apply that information.

Supplier Driven Schools

Many large corporations create exclusive education and training programs to enforce standards in their supply chain. For example, PepsiCo, communicates their global expectations in a Supplier Code of Conduct which is taught via eLearning modules in various languages. Outside of food and beverage, many companies in healthcare, medical and automotive also produce training to enforce expectations of the supplier relationship. Often times suppliers are classified by type and volume, and those with a bigger impact on the lead company’s bottom line, are given more resources and attention in instruction. These supplier driven schools may provide some instruction on packaging, however it is inherently niche and discloses information only pertaining to that specific company’s process.

Professional Organizations

There are a vast number of diverse packaging associations. Most professional organizations are material or market specific, and many do not have their own education options. A notable exception is The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, with their own university, PMMIU, which educates on specific topics of machinery such as mechatronics. The Institute of Packaging Professionals (IOPP) offers education services in most all topics of packaging. However, their Certified Packaging Professional program is only open to those with six years of experience in packaging or a closely related discipline. Instruction hinges on a comprehensive textbook, and a thorough written examination.


Modern Day Learning 

Smartphones have accustomed us to accessing the information we need at rapid speed and in short bursts. Long training sessions, multiple day workshops, and huge manuals are not a desirable way to learn information. Modern day professionals prefer to consume information in small, bite-sized chunks (known as Micro Learning) that they can engage with on any device and at any time. The Packaging School is the first entity utilize MicroLearning for packaging education and training. We break difficult topics down into short lessons that take the form of videos, infographics, quick readings, animations, discussions, and interactive slides. This delivery method empowers individuals to complete courses at their leisure, when they’re ready to learn, and still gain an essential education. 

The new industry standard for packaging certification will be released May 2016.

Ensure you’re on the roster by pre-registering at

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