Autobody Paint Technician: Job Duties and Career Info

Read about a career in autobody paint technology. Research the educational and skill requirements, and learn about the job description and employment and salary outlook for an autobody paint technician.

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Career Defined for an Autobody Paint Technician

Autobody paint technicians, or automotive painters, are classed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as transportation equipment painters, which is one kind of painting and coating worker. There are typically three specialties within vehicle painting: the refinishing of older or damaged vehicles, the painting and clear-coating of new cars, and related paint work, such as the painting of large equipment or ships. Autobody paint technicians perform intricate, detailed work that requires matching new paint to old colors and applying it with a spray gun. Other tasks may include hand painting areas or operating dip-painting equipment. According to O*Net Online, these workers also prepare surfaces with power and hand tools and protect areas that will not be painted with masking tape.

Education High school diploma usually required, formal training programs and classes available
Certification Credentials through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence
Job Skills Artistic ability, time management, customer service, color vision
Median Salary (2015) $41,150 for transportation equipment painters
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% for transportation equipment painters

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

The majority of autobody paint technicians have at least a high school diploma, and some have completed formal training programs in the field. Some high schools, trade schools and community colleges offer training in autobody painting that includes paint mixing and application; those with such training may experience better job prospects. Other workers are trained on the job, with training time varying from a few days to months, depending on the technique and tools.

Certification Requirements

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers certification in the field that requires passing a written test and demonstrating two years of experience. The completion of programs at schools that comply with the institute's standards may substitute for one year of experience.

Required Skills

The BLS reported that successful autobody paint technicians must hold the below traits:

  • Artistic abilities
  • Good time management and problem solving skills
  • Excellent communication and customer service skills
  • Color vision is required to successfully use the necessary equipment

Employment and Salary Outlook

According to the BLS, transportation equipment painter jobs were predicted to increase by 6% from 2014-2024. Because of advancements in technology, almost all new employment was expected to come from car repair shops and their need for painters. The BLS also reported that in May 2015, the median annual salary was $41,150 for transportation equipment painters. Painters who are employed by dealerships are often offered commission programs, with a minimum weekly salary. Entry-level workers typically earn an hourly wage until they are experienced enough to be offered commissions.

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