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Working As An Associate Specialist

  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Getting Information
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • $63,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Associate Specialist Do

Retail sales workers include both those who sell retail merchandise, such as clothing, furniture, and cars, (called retail salespersons) and those who sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts (called parts salespersons). Both types of workers help customers find the products they want and process customers’ payments.

Duties

Retail sales workers typically do the following:

  • Greet customers and offer them assistance
  • Recommend merchandise based on customers’ wants and needs
  • Explain the use and benefit of merchandise to customers
  • Answer customers’ questions
  • Show how merchandise works, if applicable
  • Add up customers’ total purchases and accept payment
  • Inform customers about current sales, promotions, and policies about payments and exchanges

The following are examples of types of retail sales workers:

Retail salespersons work in stores where they sell goods, such as books, cars, clothing, cosmetics, electronics, furniture, lumber, plants, shoes, and many other types of merchandise.

In addition to helping customers find and select items to buy, many retail salespersons process the payment for the sale, which typically involves operating cash registers.

After taking payment for the purchases, retail salespersons may bag or package the purchases.

Depending on the hours they work, retail salespersons may have to open or close cash registers. This includes counting the money in the register and separating charge slips, coupons, and exchange vouchers. They may also make deposits at a cash office.

For information about other workers who receive and disburse money, see the profile on cashiers.

In addition, retail salespersons may help stock shelves or racks, arrange for mailing or delivery of purchases, mark price tags, take inventory, and prepare displays.

For some retail sales jobs, particularly those involving expensive and complex items, retail sales workers need special knowledge or skills. For example, those who sell cars must be able to explain the features of various models, manufacturers’ specifications, different types of options on the car, financing available, and the details of associated warranties.

In addition, retail sales workers must recognize security risks and thefts and understand their organization’s procedures for handling thefts—procedures that may include notifying security guards or calling police.

Parts salespersons sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts. Most work in either automotive parts stores or automobile dealerships. They take customers’ orders, inform customers of part availability and price, and take inventory.

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How To Become An Associate Specialist

Typically, there are no formal education requirements for retail sales workers. Most receive on-the-job training, which usually lasts a few days to a few months.

Education

Although retail or parts sales positions usually have no formal education requirements, some employers prefer applicants who have a high school diploma or equivalent, especially employers who sell technical products or “big-ticket” items, such as electronics or cars.

Training

Most retail sales workers receive on-the-job training, which usually lasts a few days to a few months. In small stores, an experienced employee often trains newly hired workers. In large stores, training programs are more formal and usually conducted over several days.

During training sessions, topics often include customer service, security, the store’s policies and procedures, and how to operate the cash register.

Depending on the type of product they are selling, employees may be given additional specialized training. For example, salespersons working in cosmetics get instruction on the types of products the store offers and for whom the cosmetics would be most beneficial. Likewise, those who sell computers may be instructed on the technical differences between computer products.

Because providing exceptional service to customers is a priority for many employers, employees often get periodic training to update and refine their skills.

Advancement

Retail sales workers typically have opportunities to advance to supervisory or managerial positions. Some employers want candidates for managerial positions to have a college degree.

As sales workers gain experience and seniority, they often move into positions that have greater responsibility and may be given their choice of departments in which to work. This opportunity often means moving to positions with higher potential earnings and commissions. The highest earnings potential usually involves selling “big-ticket” items—such as cars, jewelry, furniture, and electronics. These positions often require workers with extensive knowledge of the product and an excellent talent for persuasion.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Retail sales workers must be responsive to the wants and needs of customers. They should explain the product options available to customers and make appropriate recommendations.

Interpersonal skills. A friendly and outgoing personality is important for these workers because the job requires almost constant interaction with people. 

Math skills. Retail sales workers must have the ability to calculate price totals, discounts, and change owed to customers.

Persistence. A large number of attempted sales may not be successful, so sales workers should not be discouraged easily. They must start each new sales attempt with a positive attitude.

Selling skills. Retail sales workers must be persuasive when interacting with customers. They must clearly and effectively explain the benefits of the merchandise.

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Associate Specialist Career Paths

Associate Specialist
Specialist Team Leader Assistant Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Team Leader Manager
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Specialist Team Leader Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Executive Assistant Manager
Senior Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Executive Assistant Project Manager
Product Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Executive Assistant Assistant Manager
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Consultant Manager Sales Manager
Regional Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Consultant General Manager Account Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Consultant General Manager Vice President
Managing Director
11 Yearsyrs
Scientist Project Manager General Manager
Territory Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Scientist Laboratory Manager Store Manager
Sales Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Scientist Laboratory Manager Operations Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Substitute Teacher Account Executive Store Manager
District Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Substitute Teacher Account Executive Sales Manager
Sales And Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Substitute Teacher Account Executive
Territory Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Assistant Accounts Payable Clerk Accountant
Finance Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Assistant Administrator Operations Manager
Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Office Assistant Administrator Account Manager
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Operations Specialist Analyst Program Manager
Associate Director
8 Yearsyrs
Operations Specialist Executive Administrative Assistant Business Owner
Entrepreneur
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Associate Specialist?

Average Yearly Salary
$63,000
Show Salaries
$49,000
Min 10%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Southern California Edison
Highest Paying City
New York, NY
Highest Paying State
New York
Avg Experience Level
2.5 years
How much does an Associate Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Associate Specialist in the United States is $63,837 per year or $31 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $49,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $81,000.

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

See what's out there.

Real Associate Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Associate Specialist/Software Developer Synechron, Inc. Nov 30, 2015 $155,000
Associate Specialist-Technology/Software Developer Synechron, Inc. Jan 07, 2016 $135,000
Associate Specialist-Technology/Software Developer Synechron, Inc. Nov 11, 2015 $135,000
Associate Specialist-Technology/Software Developer Synechron, Inc. Jul 01, 2016 $135,000
Associate Specialist-Technology Synechron, Inc. Jan 07, 2016 $135,000
Associate Specialist-Technology Synechron, Inc. Apr 04, 2016 $135,000
Enterprise/Sap Solution Associate Specialist Pepsico, Inc. May 25, 2016 $126,800
Risk & Compliance Associate Specialist Pepsico, Inc. Sep 28, 2016 $125,000
Associate Specialist University of Hawaii Jul 01, 2015 $120,840
Associate Specialist-Technology/Software Developer Synechron, Inc. Jun 07, 2016 $120,000
Associate Specialist-Technology/Software Developer Synechron, Inc. Jun 07, 2016 $115,000
Associate Specialist Technology (Software Developer) Synechron, Inc. Apr 10, 2015 $115,000
Associate Specialist-Technology Synechron, Inc. Feb 02, 2015 $84,601
Associate Specialist-Technology Synechron, Inc. Apr 22, 2015 $84,000
Associate Specialist-Technology/Software Developer Synechron, Inc. Aug 12, 2016 $84,000
Associate Specialist-Technology/Software Developer Synechron, Inc. Jul 26, 2016 $83,734
Associate Specialist-Technology/Software Developer Synechron, Inc. Jan 06, 2016 $82,000
Associate Specialist-Quality Control/Qaa Synechron, Inc. Dec 05, 2015 $81,900
Associate Specialist-Technology Synechron, Inc. Apr 02, 2015 $81,286
Associate Specialist-Technology/Software Developer Synechron, Inc. Jan 08, 2016 $81,000
Associate Specialist University of California, Berkeley Jul 01, 2015 $61,568
Associate Specialist University of California, Berkeley Jan 07, 2015 $61,568
Associate Specialist Step III University of California, Berkeley Nov 25, 2015 $61,277
Associate Specialist University of California at Santa Barbara Aug 01, 2015 $61,224
Associate Specialist University of California at Santa Barbara Aug 11, 2015 $61,224
Associate Specialist University of California, Irvine Jan 10, 2016 $60,924
Associate Specialist University of California, Berkeley Jan 06, 2016 $60,924
Associate Specialist Step III University of California, Berkeley Nov 05, 2016 $60,924

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Top Skills for An Associate Specialist

  1. Customer Service
  2. Phone Calls
  3. Financial Statements
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide exceptional customer service to both internal and external customers.-Customer Services Specialist
  • Take inbound phone calls for Federal Student Aid Information Center.
  • Analyzed middle market corporate financial statements.
  • Assist potential Medicare beneficiaries inquiring about Medicare coverage and how to apply.
  • Processed registry participant enrollments, created and monitored participant invoices, data entry, filing and drafted correspondence.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Associate Specialists

  1. Maine
  2. Ohio
  3. Connecticut
  4. Michigan
  5. New York
  6. Delaware
  7. Illinois
  8. New Jersey
  9. Tennessee
  10. Minnesota
  • (461 jobs)
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  • (1,315 jobs)
  • (3,223 jobs)
  • (5,033 jobs)
  • (396 jobs)
  • (4,043 jobs)
  • (3,400 jobs)
  • (1,887 jobs)
  • (2,063 jobs)

Associate Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

54.2%

Male

37.3%

Unknown

8.5%
Ethnicity

White

58.0%

Hispanic or Latino

16.0%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

11.1%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.6%

French

12.8%

Portuguese

6.4%

Japanese

5.1%

Mandarin

5.1%

Italian

3.8%

Chinese

2.6%

Bulgarian

1.3%

Macedonian

1.3%

German

1.3%

Persian

1.3%

Russian

1.3%

Carrier

1.3%

Armenian

1.3%

Khmer

1.3%

Arabic

1.3%
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Associate Specialist Education

Schools

New York University

9.5%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

7.4%

University of California - San Francisco

6.3%

Drexel University

6.3%

Hillsborough Community College

6.3%

University of Massachusetts - Boston

5.3%

Durham Technical Community College

5.3%

Boston University

5.3%

University of North Florida

4.2%

Monroe College

4.2%

University of Maryland - University College

4.2%

Pennsylvania State University

4.2%

University of Missouri - Kansas City

4.2%

Florida State University

4.2%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.2%

University of California - San Diego

4.2%

Clemson University

4.2%

Northeastern University

4.2%

Bryant University

3.2%

University of California - Irvine

3.2%
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Majors

Business

27.4%

Accounting

6.8%

Psychology

5.9%

Management

5.7%

Finance

5.7%

Biology

5.4%

Health Care Administration

5.2%

Criminal Justice

4.2%

Communication

4.0%

Marketing

3.8%

Chemistry

3.3%

Computer Science

3.1%

Nursing

2.8%

English

2.8%

Pharmacy

2.6%

Economics

2.6%

Biomedical Engineering

2.4%

Sociology

2.4%

Education

2.1%

Fine Arts

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

43.9%

Masters

15.2%

Associate

14.2%

High School Diploma

9.6%

Doctorate

7.5%

Certificate

5.7%

Diploma

3.1%

License

0.8%
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Updated May 18, 2020