Parts salespersons
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Overview
Retail sales workers help customers find products they want and process customers’ payments. There are two types of retail sales workers: retail salespersons, who sell retail merchandise, such as clothing, furniture, and automobiles; and parts salespersons, who sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for parts salespersons are expected to grow by 5%, and should have about 33,000 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Parts salespersons are more likely to be automated than 95% of other careers.
Workforce size
Parts salespersons, with 251,900 workers, form a larger workforce than 82% of careers.
Education
Only 6% of parts salespersons have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by parts salespersons
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
Fewer parts salespersons have bachelor's degrees than 79% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for 84% of all other jobs is higher than the middle salary for parts salespersons. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most parts salespersons.
This job's median $30KAll jobs' median $39K$32K$38K20142015201620172018$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 13% of parts salespersons -- that's a smaller percentage than 73% of other jobs.
Gender of parts salespersons
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For parts salespersons, the median men's salary was 35% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 9% of parts salespersons are minority, and 8% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of parts salespersons
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (8%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Parts Salespersons per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 44% of parts salespersons, and 52% have company-sponsored health insurance (18% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for parts salespersons
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of parts salespersons who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Exposed to Contaminants (68%)
  • Time Pressure (52%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (50%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (36%)
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment (35%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do parts salespersons earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for parts salespersons, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for parts salespersons compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for parts salespersons (BLS Salary Data)
$30K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$30K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all parts salespersons, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for parts salespersons compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for parts salespersons (ACS Salary Data)
$35K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$35K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where parts salespersons work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Parts salespersons (ACS)
Private for-profit (96.3%)
Private not-for-profit (0.7%)
Local government (0.1%)
State government (0.1%)
Federal government (0.1%)
Self-employed incorporated (1.1%)
Self-employed not incorporated (1.6%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of parts salespersons by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$35K$35K$42K$21K$45K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedState governmentPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of parts salespersons by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$30K$42K$30K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Local governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for parts salespersons

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$37K$36K$30K$42K$43K$39K$37K$22K$38K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
05K10K15KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Parts salespersons and gender

With 13% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 73% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
13%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Parts salespersons
Men (87%)
Women (13%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%, and the difference for parts salespersons tops that, with the median salary for men 35% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$27K$36K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Parts salespersons have one of the higher percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job even higher than that for 85% of other jobs.

35%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of parts salespersons

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a smaller percentage of minority parts salespersons than for 94% of other careers. As with minority workers, there is also a smaller percentage of foreign-born workers in this career than in most other careers.

Race/origin of parts salespersons
White (87% )
Black (4% )
Other (4% )
Multiracial (2% )
Asian (1% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
9%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
8%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for parts salespersons by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$29K$29K$32K$34K$36K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KMultiracialOtherBlackAsianWhite
Distribution: Salaries for parts salespersons by nativity
$32K$35K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by parts salespersons

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), parts salespersons typically hold no formal educational credential.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as parts salespersons as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for parts salespersons.

Education attained by parts salespersons
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for parts salespersons

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.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for parts salespersons? Below we see the distribution of parts salespersons salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as parts salespersons, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$27K$36K$36K$37K$36K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KNone (8%)High School (46%)Some College (30%)Associate's Degree (10%)Bachelor's Degree (6%)
Certificate/degree pathways

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click a program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Program
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Less than bachelor's
bachelor's degree
Higher than bachelor's
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Selling Skills and Sales Operations
970
Vehicle and Vehicle Parts and Accessories Marketing Operations
76
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for parts salespersons

What jobs will most parts salespersons hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of parts salespersons reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Parts salespersonsRetail salespersonsFirst-line supervisors of retail sales workersStock clerks and order fillersWholesale and manufacturing sales representativesAutomotive service technicians and mechanicsHand laborers and freight, stock, and material moversDriver/sales workers and truck driversCorrespondence clerks and order clerksFirst-line supervisors of non-retail sales workersGeneral and operations managersNonrestaurant food serversCustomer service representativesConstruction laborersCashiers
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for parts salespersons

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 10 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as parts salespersons as well as 1% of respondents after working as parts salespersons. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for parts salespersons
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Retail salespersons
676,200
$0$200K$31K
Cashiers
659,300
$0$200K$20K
Hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers
389,900
$0$200K$28K
Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
376,900
$0$200K$41K
Customer service representatives
373,800
$0$200K$32K
Stock clerks and order fillers
269,400
$0$200K$26K
Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives
197,500
$0$200K$61K
First-line supervisors of retail sales workers
171,800
$0$200K$39K
Automotive service technicians and mechanics
78,200
$0$200K$36K
First-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers
39,600
$0$200K$59K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for parts salespersons: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as parts salespersons? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of parts salespersons surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for parts salespersons
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Retail salespersons
676,200
$0$200K$31K
14.7%
Cashiers
659,300
$0$200K$20K
1.9%
Hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers
389,900
$0$200K$28K
1.1%
Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
376,900
$0$200K$41K
3.9%
Customer service representatives
373,800
$0$200K$32K
2.6%
Stock clerks and order fillers
269,400
$0$200K$26K
3.9%
Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives
197,500
$0$200K$61K
4.9%
First-line supervisors of retail sales workers
171,800
$0$200K$39K
10.6%
Cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shop counter attendants
113,500
$0$200K$16K
1.2%
Automotive service technicians and mechanics
78,200
$0$200K$36K
2.3%
First-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers
39,600
$0$200K$59K
1.5%
Parts salespersons
33,000
$0$200K$35K
25.6%
Dispatchers
28,000
$0$200K$38K
1.1%
No occupation
5.3%
Read about parts salespersons
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

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, which 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.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of parts salespersons? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

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.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for parts salespersons
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) for 84% of all other jobs were higher than the median (middle) salary for parts salespersons. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $30KAll jobs' median $39K$34K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for parts salespersons are anticipated to grow by 5% over the next decade; 62% of jobs are projected to grow more.

The projected employment for parts salespersons is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

20002010202020300100,000200,000300,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most parts salespersons? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as parts salespersons. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Parts Salespersons per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.01.02.03.04.0
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where parts salespersons earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for parts salespersons compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for parts salespersons.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Parts Salespersons to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which parts salespersons earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.20.40.60.81.01.2
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Parts salespersons (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
Choose the similarity measure to compare careers
Interests
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Knowledge
Physical Abilities
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