Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Associate Versus Specialist

careertrend article image

Employers and labor workforce agencies refer to job positions in varied terms that categorize job seekers according to their skills inventories. Two such terms are "associate" and "specialist." It is wise to understand the difference between these terms to focus your job search efforts in the category in which you intend to apply.


An associate is a person who is part of a work team or a collaborative partner towards a specific goal. For example, a sales associate works with one or more other sales associates who perform sales in a retail establishment. However, a specialist is a person who is an expert at something and will in many instances work independently. For example, a computer specialist is someone who has detailed knowledge of computer programming.


The success of a company is dependent on the collaborative efforts of associate coworkers. Larger companies rely on mass productiveness by hiring more than one person to fulfill the same duties. However, a specialist is sought out by clients to meet their specific needs.

Training and Growth

An associate is someone who is developing his skill base through work experience. In some companies, a person can grow with a company and become a specialist at a specific function of the business. A specialist is someone who has acquired enough training and experience to be a viable asset to the company.

Pay Scale

The base pay of an associate is usually an hourly wage, although with associate positions with higher education requirements, such as an associate attorney, a salary pay could be negotiated. A specialist may either receive salary pay or be paid under an agreed service contract for a specific job requiring his expertise.


Raene Kaleinani began writing professionally in 2009. She has also been writing numerous poems and short stories seeded within her Hawaiian culture since 1999. Kaleinani has earned degrees in English and Hawaiian cultural studies from the University of Hawaii.

Photo Credits