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Working as a Parts Specialist

A Part Specialist is responsible for the maintenance and sale of automotive parts at an automotive care center, dealership, or any other business that provides automotive equipment and supplies.

The job involves purchasing parts to keep in stock, maintaining records of inventory, and overseeing the timely delivery of parts to and from their locations. You might be expected to answer customer queries about various equipment and machine parts and act as a sales representative.

Skills include budgeting, inventory, and warehousing as specialists deal with large volumes of warehouse products. Basic working knowledge of cars, trucks, and other automobile parts and uses is required, and a general understanding of general vehicle repair. Experience with automotive parts, supplies, and equipment is necessary.

Qualifications may include having a high school diploma and some experience in some capacity in the automotive industry, such as being a mechanic. This job includes part technical skills in terms of mechanics and part customer service and sales skills. You would earn an average of $32,000 per year in this role.

What Does a Parts 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.


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.

How To Become a Parts 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.


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.


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.


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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Average Salary$30,467
Job Growth Rate-2%

Parts Specialist Career Paths

Top Careers Before Parts Specialist

12.8 %

Top Careers After Parts Specialist

7.6 %

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Average Salary for a Parts Specialist

Parts Specialists in America make an average salary of $30,467 per year or $15 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $41,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $22,000 per year.
Average Salary

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Seattle, WA
Salary Range32k - 46k$39k$39,067
Springfield, MA
Salary Range29k - 45k$37k$36,542
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range29k - 42k$35k$35,474
Medford, OR
Salary Range28k - 40k$34k$34,269
Littleton, CO
Salary Range28k - 39k$34k$33,606
Salt Lake City, UT
Salary Range28k - 38k$33k$33,149

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Parts Specialist Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Parts Specialist. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Parts Specialist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Parts Specialist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Parts Specialist Demographics



73.7 %


23.4 %


2.9 %



72.4 %

Hispanic or Latino

18.4 %

Black or African American

5.1 %

Foreign Languages Spoken


85.8 %


2.4 %


1.5 %
See More Demographics

Parts Specialist Education


22.5 %


High School Diploma

43.8 %


20.3 %


15.8 %
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time

Top Skills For a Parts Specialist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.5% of parts specialists listed customer service on their resume, but soft skills such as customer-service skills and interpersonal skills are important as well.

  • Customer Service, 13.5%
  • Parts Inventory, 10.1%
  • Communication, 9.8%
  • Inventory Control, 6.7%
  • Inventory Levels, 5.5%
  • Other Skills, 54.4%
  • See All Parts Specialist Skills

Best States For a Parts Specialist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a parts specialist. The best states for people in this position are Washington, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Parts specialists make the most in Washington with an average salary of $38,611. Whereas in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, they would average $37,465 and $37,282, respectively. While parts specialists would only make an average of $36,974 in Rhode Island, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Alaska

Total Parts Specialist Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Vermont

Total Parts Specialist Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New Hampshire

Total Parts Specialist Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Parts Specialist Employers

1. O'Reilly Auto Parts
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2. AutoZone
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3. Advance Auto Parts
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4. United States Army
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5. Sears Holdings
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6. O'Reilly Media
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Updated October 2, 2020