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Parts Technician - Parts Technician


Parts technicians manage and dispense parts inventories, which may include automotive, heavy duty, farm implement, industrial, recreational vehicle, jobber, plumbing, electrical, etc.  Parts technicians may be responsible for stock handling, identifying and cataloguing parts and assemblies as well as ordering, receiving, inspecting, sorting, pricing and selling, depending on business areas.

The specific duties a parts technician performs depend upon 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 as well as a wide variety of hardware supplies.

In general, a parts technician:

  • sells supplies and parts,
  • orders parts and keeps inventories,
  • receives supplies and stores them according to a prearranged system,
  • organizes and ships exchange parts and returns,
  • keeps price lists and catalogues updated,
  • prepares statements,
  • submits bills,
  • maintains records, and
  • receives payments.

Parts technicians must be knowledgeable in the use of all in-house equipment, including computers, calculators, facsimile (fax) and materials handling equipment and be able to contribute to the operation and principles of operation of the business.

For more information regarding tasks and activities, please review the Trade Regulation.


Working Conditions

Parts technicians may work indoors or outdoors, which may include working in storerooms where large inventories of parts are kept, usually on rows of shelves or in bins.  Working hours vary depending on the industry.


Skills and Abilities

This trade is most rewarding for those who enjoy variety, working with people, working in their area of expertise, and participating in the customer's success.

To be successful in their trade, parts technicians must have:

  • the ability to deal effectively and courteously with the public even in difficult situations,
  • basic math skills,
  • strength, stamina and the ability to use proper lifting techniques to lift items up to 18 kilograms, and
  • the ability to pay careful attention to details such as parts catalogues and electronic inventory systems.


Employment and Advancement

Parts technicians are employed by wholesale and retail businesses and warehouse distributors that deal with all types of parts.  Apprentice parts technicians may begin working as stock or receiving clerks or drivers.  As they become acquainted with the different parts and their applications and the stockroom system, they may be promoted to parts counter positions.

Journeyperson wage rates vary, but generally range from $13 to $35 an hour, depending upon the level of experience, region of the province and the sector of industry.

Experienced parts technicians who have business and technical experience may advance to supervisory positions such as parts department manager, store manager or even store owner.  With some sales experience, parts technicians can move into sales representative positions.


Working in Alberta

To work as a parts technician in Alberta, a person must:

  • be a registered apprentice, an Alberta-certified journeyperson, hold a valid recognized credential , OR
  • work for an employer who is satisfied that the worker has the skills and knowledge expected of a certified journeyperson, OR
  • be self-employed.

Individuals possessing a valid recognized credential in Alberta are eligible to receive a Blue Seal business credential after completing the necessary requirements.


Apprenticeship Training

The term of apprenticeship for a parts technician is 3 years (three 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1500 hours of on-the-job training for each year, 6 weeks of technical training in the first and third years and 8 weeks of technical training in the second year.

  • An applicant who previously completed courses of study or work experience related to the parts technician trade or holds a related journeyperson certificate and has the employer's recommendation, may qualify for credit that could reduce the term of apprenticeship. Inquiries about credit for previously completed courses of study or work experience can be directed to an apprenticeship representative toll-free at 1-800-248-4823.
  • A person who has previous training or work experience in the trade and wants to determine their level of skill and knowledge for entry or advanced standing in an apprenticeship program may complete the online Prior Learning Assessment Application.  
  • A high school student can become an apprentice and gain credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time under the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

To learn the skills required of a parts technician - parts technician in Alberta and be issued an Alberta Journeyman Certificate, a person must:

Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates and may select apprentices from among their current employees.  Some employers require their parts technicians have working experience with the type of product sold (e.g. automotive or farm implement parts) so they can answer customer questions on product use.

For holders of an existing trade certificate, it can serve as your entrance requirement equivalency when registering in an additional trade.

  • complete the online Apprenticeship Application and Contract 

  • pay the non-refundable application fee as part of the application process 

  • complete the required on-the-job training
    - during on-the-job training, apprentice parts technicians earn at least 65 percent of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 75 percent in the second, and 85 percent in the third year.
  • complete all of the program requirements as identified in the Course Outline
  • enroll in technical training
  • successfully complete all required (See Exam Counselling Sheets)
  • Technical Training Resource List
    • Each period of technical training requires apprentices to purchase specific resources and supplies.
    • Contact the training provider where you will be attending training for a complete list.

Apprentices involved in the Career and Technology Studies (CTS) stream in high school may be eligible for credit towards their apprenticeship first period training. 

Apprentices may attempt the Interprovincial Exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training and, if successful, be granted a Red Seal.

When apprentices attend technical training, they are required to pay the applicable tuition fee and purchase course supplies.

Grants, scholarships and other financial assistance may be available. For more information contact an Apprenticeship and Industry Training Office.


Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program

A parts technician who holds a valid trade certificate from Alberta or from another Canadian province or territory may apply to write the Interprovincial Exam and, if successful, be granted a Red Seal under the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program. The Red Seal is recognized throughout most of Canada.

To prepare for the exam see the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available Resource Materials.


Qualification Certificate Program

For a Qualification Certificate based on a recognized credential or work experience in order to prepare for the exam(s) please refer to the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available Resource Materials.

Time spent on supervisory or foreman duties, counter work, heading the tool crib, or on training course is NOT counted as 'hands-on' work experience.


Equivalency Program

A person who holds a valid recognized credential does not require an Alberta equivalency document to work in the trade in Alberta.

However, some employers may require Alberta documentation as proof that the holder is allowed to work in the trade or that the holder's credential is recognized.

Click for more information on the Equivalency Program.