Automotive Collision Estimate Writer: Salary, Duties and Requirements

Sep 19, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an automotive collision estimate writer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

Automotive collision estimate writers typically work for repair shops, and most employers require training in estimating, either through a certificate or degree program. Optional professional certification is available in this field.

Essential Information

An automotive collision estimate writer works for a body shop providing repair cost estimates. Job duties include inspecting damaged vehicles, writing estimate reports and submitting reports to insurance companies. An estimate writer needs training in automotive repair and damage estimating, though work experience in an auto repair shop may substitute for some formal training. These estimators may also wish to receive certification.

Required Education Postsecondary training and/or work experience in auto repair
Certification Optional certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 5% (for auto damage insurance appraisers)
Median Salary (2018)** $49,724 annually (for automobile estimators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics **

Automotive Collision Estimate Writer Salary

An automotive collision estimate writer may work for private or large corporate repair shops. According to, the median salary for an automobile estimator was $49,724 in 2019.

Automotive Collision Estimate Writer Duties

An automotive collision estimate writer inspects vehicles that have been damaged and creates an estimate of the necessary repairs. An estimate writer follows guidelines that determine the extent of damages as well as what should be charged for repair work. A typical work day for an estimate writer includes inspecting damaged vehicles, consulting guide books for repair costs and creating estimation documents.

Automotive Collision Estimate Writer Requirements

Writing estimates is a very detailed and precise process, so employers generally require a person to have training in assessing damage and automotive repair. Training and education options may include degree or certificate programs in collision damage assessment, collision repair estimating or auto collision repair.

A program covering collision damage assessment or estimation may offer instruction in appraising damages technology, using estimating manuals or guides, training in hands-on repair, estimating damage on heavy trucks and repairing alignment and structural issues. It may also include courses in shop safety, vehicle identification, estimating terminology and computer estimating. A diploma or associate degree in auto collision repair may offer a student direct training in repair work, along with instruction in how to estimate the cost of repairs.

Automotive collision estimate writers may also wish to be certified through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). The ASE offers a damage analysis and estimating certification. This certification offers recognition for estimators that possess exceptional skills and knowledge in the area of collision estimating. To earn this ASE certification a person must pass the required exam and show proof of two years of work experience in the industry.

An automotive collision estimate writer inspects damaged vehicles and makes a detailed assessment of estimated repair costs. Most employers require formal training, which may include postsecondary programs in estimating and repair. Job opportunities in this field are predicted to grow about as average over the 2018-2028 decade.

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