Should I Become an Auto Glass Technician?
These techs repair and replace the window glass and windshields in automotive vehicles. Once a vehicle is brought into the shop, technicians review the damage and prepare estimates for customers. In order to repair or replace the glass, they may need to remove parts such as trim, hoods and grilles. Additionally, auto glass technicians may repair dents and realign frames. Travel to customers' locations might be required, and overtime work, including weekends and nights, is fairly common.
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|Degree Level||No degree mandatory, though employers may prefer a certificate or associate's degree|
|Degree Name||Collision repair|
|Certification||Voluntary certification is offered through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and other associations|
|Experience||3-5 years of automotive shop experience|
|Key Skills||Dexterity for working with precision parts, customer-service skills and critical-thinking abilities; familiarity with accounting and price estimating software, databases and record-keeping programs; comfortable using power tools and shop equipment, like buffer wheels, machinery-cutting knives and windshield molding removal tools|
|Salary (2014)||$32,590 per year (Median salary for automotive glass installers and repairers)|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monster.com job listings in October 2012, O*Net OnLine.
Step 1: Complete a Formal Training Program
Many technical schools and community colleges offer 1-year certificate or 2-year associate's degree programs in collision repair. These programs generally focus on repair of the entire automobile after a car wreck or other incident. Courses may include minor collision repair, auto body structural repair, metal insert glass (MIG) welding, refinishing, electrical applications and technical math.
- Gain experience. During formal training, students can begin to gain experience in the field at an auto body shop. Students might take on part-time employment or pursue internships with local shops. This will give them an opportunity to work alongside professional technicians and gain hands-on experience as well as the possibility of employment after completion of college training.
- Maintain a good driving record. Employers generally require auto glass technicians to have valid driver's licenses. Additionally, maintaining a clean driving record can be critical in finding and holding a job in auto glass repair.
Step 2: Gain Employment and Train on the Job
After gaining employment with an auto body shop, repair technicians often undergo on-the-job training that can last from six months to one year, though trainees who have completed formal education typically require less instruction and may begin working independently sooner. After completing such training, these workers are generally considered fully qualified glass repair technicians. It may take additional years of work experience to advance in the profession. In fact, October 2012 job postings on Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com reveal that employers seeking out glass repairers usually look for applicants who hold at least three years of experience in auto body or glass repair.
Step 3: Become Certified
Professional certification, while not mandatory, can assure customers and employers that a technician has knowledge of the latest industry standards and practices. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers industry-standard certification for these workers in more than 40 different topics, including collision repair/refinishing and automotive consulting. Becoming ASE certified in one of these areas requires two years of pertinent work experience (one year of experience can be substituted with two years of formal training) as well as passage of an exam. ASE-certified technicians must maintain their credentials by passing a re-certification test every five years. Certification is also available through other organizations, like the Auto Glass Safety Council.