Whenever a car part needs to be replaced for a dealership, repair shop or truck fleet, parts specialists play a role. These specialists have the technical expertise to find the appropriate car parts for a particular repair. Many parts specialists work at retail stores, where they help customers figure out which part they need to solve their problem.
Parts specialists focus on auto parts. Customers and auto repair services order a large number of parts to repair and maintain their vehicles, and parts specialists organize this process. They use computers to access sophisticated computer parts databases and locate what's required. They use math skills to determine which parts suit a particular car's dimensions. When the part is identified, parts specialists provide a cost estimate to the customer. They also conduct followups to make sure parts work properly.
Parts specialists work in parts stores, repair shops and office environments. These specialists typically don't do repairs or work in the actual repair area. Instead, they communicate with customers and research auto parts on a computer. This work can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and eye strain.
Training and Certification
Some parts specialists have formal training, while others learn at work. Vocational and community colleges sometimes offer parts specialist training. The National Institute for Automobile Service Excellence also offers a Parts Specialist Certification Program, which can increase a specialist’s chance of finding work. Parts specialists must have knowledge of computers, math and science. Good communication skills are required to communicate with customers and auto part manufacturers.
The average hourly salary for specialists in auto parts stores was $15.15 for 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is up from $14.73 per hour as of May 2012. In general, parts specialists earn higher wages than sales workers in building and garden stores, general merchandise stores and clothing stores.
Parts Specialist Outlook
The BLS predicts a 7 percent growth in jobs for parts salespersons between 2012 and 2022, lower than the 11 percent average of all occupations. The trend to keeping cars longer will increase the need for auto parts specialists in retail outlets. However, the BLS predicts a decline in positions with parts wholesalers.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Automotive Industry -- Employment, Earnings, and Hours
- ASE.com: ASE Parts Specialist Test
- O*net Online: Parts Salespersons
- Eastern Arizona College: Automotive Parts Specialist
- MyMajors: Auto Parts Salesman Career
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Retail Sales Workers
- Photo Credit moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images
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