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Parts Technician - Materials Technician


Materials technicians are involved in the movement of materials in a wide variety of industries including agriculture, forestry, health, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, transportation and retail industries.  They are employed by organizations that produce, process and retail a wide variety of products.

Materials technicians may be employed in many different settings and work with a wide variety of materials. Job requirements and responsibilities can vary considerably from one job to another.

In general, a materials technician:

  • prepares, generates, picks and ships orders,
  • receives shipments and ensures that they are complete and in good order,
  • processes customer and supplier returns,
  • applies inventory management practices and maintains accurate inventory records,
  • schedules and arranges transportation of materials using rail, air or road,
  • calculates transportation costs and prepares transportation documents,
  • maintains material identification records inventory,
  • interacts with internal and external customers,
  • operates computer systems,
  • operates material handling equipment (dollies, hand trucks, pallet jacks, forklifts, cranes, conveyors),
  • handles and stores products in appropriate storage areas,
  • supervise warehouse personnel,
  • participates in business operations and planning,
  • participate in safety programs,
  • design and plan warehouses,
  • practice Total Quality Management (TQM), and
  • design and plan warehouses.

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


Working Conditions

Materials technicians work primarily indoors, in office and warehouse environments, but may also work outdoors in all weather conditions.  The work may be physically demanding, requiring individuals to stand for long periods of time.

Most materials technicians work a 40-hour week, however, in large warehouses they may work shifts.


Skills and Abilities

The work appeals to people who enjoy taking a methodical approach to their work, operating handling equipment and keeping detailed records.

To be successful in the trade, materials technicians must have:

  • physical strength and stamina,
  • manual dexterity,
  • the ability to use proper lifting techniques to lift items up to 18 kilograms,
  • the ability to work independently,
  • good math, communication and computer skills, and
  • the ability to get along well with customers and fellow workers.


Employment and Advancement

Most materials technicians are located in urban centres where manufacturers, wholesalers and large retailers have their warehouses.  Others may be located where large manufacturing facilities are concentrated in non-urban settings (wood products plants, petroleum production facilities, etc.).

For the foreseeable future in Alberta, the employment outlook for materials technicians is expected to be average compared to all other occupations.

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.

With the appropriate training and work experience, individuals can advance into supervisory positions, or into related fields such as purchasing, inventory control or materials management.


Working in Alberta

To work as a parts technician-materials 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-materials technician is 3 years (three 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1500 hours of on-the-job training and 6 weeks of technical training in each year of the apprenticeship.

  • An applicant who previously completed courses of study or work experience related to the materials 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-materials 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 materials technicians to have working experience with the type of product sold (e.g. automotive or farm implement materials) so they can answer customer questions about 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 materials 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.

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

Student loans, grants, scholarships and other financial assistance may be available. For more information see Financial Assistance, visit an Apprenticeship and Industry Training office or call toll-free to 1-800-248-4823.


Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program

The parts technician-materials technician trade does not participate in the Red Seal Program.


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.