Most of the curriculum for a collision repair and refinishing technology AAS program centers around auto body repair procedures. Students learn how to remove dents from sheet metal, repair plastic paneling and trim, replace broken glass, and straighten frames. They also gain skills in refinishing, which involves applying several layers of paint to an automobile's body panels. Programs might prepare graduates to sit for certification examinations.
Prerequisites for these programs include a high school diploma or GED. Assessment exams may be required as well.
Associate Degree in Collision Repair and Refinishing Technology
These programs can teach students how to make repair estimates and diagnose problems with vehicles' electrical systems. Safety, welding, and equipment use are also studied. General education courses in math, computer technology, and English can be included. Additional courses may cover topics in shop management. Core courses often include the following:
- Surface preparation
- Topcoat and undercoat application
- Paint blending
- Electrical systems
- Structural repair
Popular Career Options
Graduates of these programs are prepared to pursue jobs with car dealerships, insurance companies, auto manufacturers, and auto body repair shops. Possible job titles are listed below:
- Automotive refinishing technician
- Collision repair technician
- Insurance adjuster
- Collision center manager
- Manufacturer sales representative
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Employment of automotive body and related repairers, including those who work in collision repair, is expected to increase by 4% from 2018-2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that the median salary for these workers was $42,730 as of May 2018.
Students who complete collision repair and refinishing technology associate degree programs can transfer to 4-year programs in automotive technology or automotive technology management. Upper-level coursework can address topics in vehicle diagnostics, staff supervision, and customer service management for the automotive industry.
Graduates of collision repair and refinishing technology associate degree programs can also qualify for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence's (ASE) certification exams after earning one year of additional work experience (www.ase.com). Those who pass all four collision repair and refinish exams can become ASE Master Collision Repair Technicians. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, earning one of these voluntary certifications can help individuals advance their careers (www.bls.gov).
Associate degrees in collision repair and refinishing technology prepare students for employment with insurance companies, car dealerships and auto body repair shops. Upon graduation, aspiring technicians can also continue their education in related bachelor's programs or pursue voluntary certifications that may help increase employment opportunities.