Becoming a Body Repair Technician
Body repair technicians repair, refinish, and restore the body and frames of vehicles. When a customer brings in a damaged vehicle, body repair technicians review the damage, provide estimates, and perform repair work. Depending on the severity of the damage, they may replace damaged parts, realign the frame, or both, to restore the vehicle's look to new.
Body repair technician work is often steady, with some professionals commonly putting in overtime hours. Technicians may have to work evenings and weekends to fit consumer demand. This line of work does put professionals at risk for machinery-related injuries like burns and cuts.
|Degree Level||High school diploma; postsecondary training preferred by employers|
|Certification||Certification may be required by employers|
|Experience||Experience is required for certification eligibility|
|Kkey Sskills||Manual dexterity, strong customer service and critical thinking skills, working knowledge of hydraulic and power equipment|
|Median Salary (2015)||$39,880 (for automotive body and glass repairers)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2015); Monster.com (September 2012).
Technicians working in this field should have a few key skills. These include manual dexterity, customer service skills, critical thinking skills, and a working knowledge of hydraulic and power equipment. In 2015, automotive body and glass repairers earned a median salary of $39,880 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Graduate from High School
A high school diploma is the minimum education needed to work as a body repair technician. High school students interested in this field may want to consider taking automotive-related classes to gain the needed job skills. Some high school programs may offer specialty programs that allow students to earn credits while actually working in auto body repair or a related field.
Some employers do not require any formal training to work as a body repair technician. However, such training may be beneficial because modern vehicles are more complex and may require more technical training.
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Earn a Certificate or Degree
Individuals may want to earn a certificate or an associate's degree in automotive technology to improve their job opportunities in this field. These programs are offered at community colleges, trade schools and vocational schools. They teach students to repair damaged body parts of cars, trucks and other vehicles. Some of these skills including estimating job costs, fixing twisted frames, removing parts of a car, sanding and smoothing repaired surfaces, priming, and painting.
Individuals who have completed a formal training program as well as those seeking on-the-job training may gain the needed job skills through employers. This type of training could be offered as part of a school-sponsored training program or as an employer training program. Gaining experience will allow individuals to prepare for certification, which may open up advancement and other employment opportunities.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers training and certification exams for individuals seeking professional credentials as automotive body repair technicians. Many programs prepare students to take ASE certification exams. The ASE requires that candidates obtain at least two years of experience before seeking certification. Students may take the exams upon graduation from a certificate or degree program, but they cannot gain the ASE certification until the minimum work experience requirement is fulfilled. The ASE offers the master collision repair technician credential to technicians who pass four exams. Recertification is required every five years.
Complete Continuing Education
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growing number of vehicles should increase demand for collision repair services, although new technology and higher costs may limit demand for more workers. Individuals who complete continuing education and pursue ASE certification in other automotive technology areas will improve their advancement and career opportunities.
While most auto body repair technicians need only a high school diploma and some training in the field, post secondary programs and certification can make candidates more eligible to employers.