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www.tradesecrets.orgParts Technician

Parts technicians are responsible for warehousing activities such as shipping and receiving, and planning and managing the flow of goods into, within and from organizations.

Also Known As:Auto Parts Salesperson, Materials Technician, Parts Picker, Salesperson, Warehouse Worker
NOC Number(s):1471, 1472
Minimum Education:Apprenticeship Trade
Employment Outlook:Job openings: turnover plus new jobs due to below average growth in occupation in Alberta 2013-2017
Interests:M O d ; M O S

Related Videos:

Materials Technician, Parts Technician


Duties | Working Conditions | Personal Characteristics | Education | Employment | Salary | Other Information | Related Occupations | Related School Subjects | Related Field of Study

Duties

In Alberta, the Parts Technician trade has two branches:

  • Parts Technician - Parts Technician
  • Parts Technician - Materials Technician.

For simplicity, the two branches are referred to as parts technician and materials technician in this profile.

Parts technicians manage and dispense parts inventories, and may be responsible for stock handling, identifying and cataloguing parts and assemblies, ordering, receiving, inspecting, sorting, or pricing and selling parts. They may work with parts from the original manufacturer or other manufacturers of automotive, heavy duty, farm implement, industrial, recreational vehicle, plumbing, electrical or other types of equipment.

Duties and responsibilities vary depending on the size of the wholesale, retail or warehouse distribution business and the types of parts involved. Some businesses specialize in one line of equipment such as a particular line of automotive parts; others stock parts for several makes of machinery and hardware supplies.

In general, parts technicians:

  • sell supplies and parts
  • order parts and keep inventories
  • receive supplies and store them according to a pre-arranged system
  • organize and ship exchange parts and returns
  • keep price lists and catalogues updated
  • prepare statements
  • submit bills
  • keep records
  • receive payments.

Materials technicians may be employed in many different settings and work with a wide variety of materials. Their duties and responsibilities can vary considerably from one job to another. However, in general, materials technicians:

  • prepare, generate and pick orders
  • pack and ship orders
  • receive shipments and ensure they are complete and in good order
  • process orders, customer product returns and the return of products to suppliers
  • control and manage stocking and storage to prevent loss
  • arrange the transport of materials by rail, air or road
  • calculate transportation costs and prepare transportation documents
  • import and export materials
  • use electronic material identification tools to schedule items for delivery and co-ordinate the delivery of products to end users
  • maintain material identification records
  • co-ordinate activities with internal and external customers
  • participate in business operations and planning
  • operate computer systems
  • operate material handling equipment (for example, dollies, hand trucks, pallet jacks, forklifts, cranes, conveyers)
  • use storage systems to handle and store products (use equipment to move items and place them in appropriate storage areas or bins)
  • supervise warehouse personnel
  • purchase materials
  • control inventory and forecast inventory needs
  • plan and supervise safety programs
  • design and plan warehouses.

Working Conditions

Parts technicians and materials technicians may work indoors or outdoors. Indoor environments include offices, warehouses and storerooms where large inventories are kept, often on rows of shelves or in bins. Working hours vary depending on the industry.

The work can be physically demanding. Materials technicians often are on their feet all day and lift items that weigh up to or over 20 kilograms.


Personal Characteristics

Parts technicians need the following characteristics:

  • the ability to deal effectively and courteously with the public even in difficult situations
  • basic math skills
  • the ability to pay careful attention to details such as parts catalogues and electronic inventory systems.

They should enjoy variety and working with people.

Materials technicians need:

  • physical strength and stamina
  • manual dexterity
  • the ability to work independently
  • good math, communication and computer skills
  • the ability to get along well with customers and fellow workers.

They should enjoy taking a methodical approach to their work, operating handling equipment and keeping detailed records.


Educational Requirements

To work in Alberta, a parts technician or materials technician must be ONE of the following:

  • a registered apprentice
  • a certified journeyperson
  • someone who holds a recognized related trade certificate  
  • work for an employer who is satisfied that the technician has the skills and knowledge expected of certified journeyperson
  • self-employed.

To register with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, apprentices must:

  • have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 10-2 and Math 10-3, or equivalent, or pass an entrance exam.
  • find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice. Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates. 

Some employers require parts technicians to have experience working with the types of product sold (for example, automotive or farm implement parts) so they can answer customer questions about product use.

The term of apprenticeship for parts technicians is three years (three 12 month periods) that include a minimum of:

  • 1,500 hours of on-the-job training in each year
  • six weeks of technical training in the first and third years
  • eight weeks of technical training in the second year.

The term of apprenticeship for materials technicians is three years (three 12 month periods) that include a minimum of:

  • 1,500 hours of on-the-job training in each year
  • six weeks of technical training in each year.

There are exceptions if the applicant has a recognized journeyperson certificate in a related trade.

High school students can earn credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

Parts technician apprentices may take the interprovincial exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training to earn a Red Seal (certification recognized in most parts of Canada).

Technical training is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training and is currently offered at:

  • Grande Prairie Regional College 
  • Lakeland College in Vermilion
  • Lethbridge College
  • the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton  
  • Red Deer College
  • the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary.

Lakeland College and Red Deer College also offer technical training by distance delivery.

For more information, visit the Technical Training Centre on the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website.

Post-secondary institutions may offer pre-employment programs for prospective apprentices or continuing education programs for journeypersons on an as needed basis. For local information, visit the websites of post-secondary institutions near you.

Section revised May 2013

Employment and Advancement

Parts technicians are employed by wholesale and retail businesses, and warehouse distributors that deal with all types of parts.

Materials technicians are employed by organizations that produce, process or use products such as office supplies, tools and equipment, food goods, textile products, farm equipment or industrial supplies. Most work in urban centres where manufacturers, wholesalers and large retailers have their warehouses. Some are employed where large manufacturing facilities are concentrated in non-urban settings (for example, at wood products plants or petroleum production facilities).

With the appropriate training and related work experience, parts technicians and materials technicians may advance to supervisory positions or move into related fields such as purchasing, sales, inventory control or materials management. 

The employment outlook for parts technicians and materials technicians will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed below)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Parts technicians are part of the larger National Occupational Classification 1472: Storekeepers and Parts Clerks. In Alberta, 84 per cent of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

Over 3,400 Albertans are employed in the Storekeepers and Parts Clerks occupational group which is expected to have an annual below average growth of 0.6 per cent from 2013 to 2017 in Alberta. It is forecasted that about 20 new positions will be created each year in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. (Note: Since parts technicians form only a part of the larger occupational group on which this forecast is based, only a portion of the new positions created will be for parts technicians.)

Materials technicians are part of the larger National Occupational Classification 1471: Shippers and Receivers. In Alberta, 80 per cent of people employed in the Shippers and Receivers occupational group work in the following industries:

Over 15,900 Albertans are employed in the Shippers and Receivers occupational group which is expected to have an annual below average growth of 0.4 per cent from 2013 to 2017 in Alberta. It is forecasted that about 64 new positions will be created each year in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. (Note: Since materials technicians form only a part of the larger occupational group on which this forecast is based, only a portion of the new positions created will be for materials technicians.)

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Section revised November 2013

Salary

Journeyperson wage rates vary but generally range from $13 to $35 an hour plus benefits, depending on industry sector and geographic location in the province. Apprentice parts technicians and materials technicians earn at least 65 per cent of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 75 per cent in the second and 85 per cent in the third.

According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the:

  • Storekeepers and Parts Clerk occupational group earned on average from $17.38 to $27.29 an hour. The mean wage for this group was $22.67 an hour. For more detailed information, see WAGEinfo
  • Shippers and Receivers occupational group earned on average from $15.75 to $21.29 an hour. The mean wage was $18.51 an hour. For more detailed information, see WAGEinfo

Other Sources of Information

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website: tradesecrets.alberta.ca

Motor Dealers' Association of Alberta website: www.mdaofalberta.com


Related Occupational Profiles
Customs Broker
Mail Sorter
Ramp Agent
Retail Shelf Stocker

Related High School Subjects
Business, Administration, Finance and Information Technology (Information Processing; and Management and Marketing); and Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation (Logistics)

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
Trades, Industrial and Related Training

Produced February 2012
Top of Profile

For more information on career planning, occupations and educational programs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website at alis.alberta.ca, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

The information contained in this profile was current as of the dates shown. Salaries, employment outlook and educational programs may change. Please check the information before making any career decisions.


Government of Alberta, Human Services