With some specialized training leading to a diploma or an associate's degree, you may qualify to become a collision refinishing professional, returning cars to their original appearance after an accident. Employment opportunities are projected to increase at a faster rate than the national average for all occupations for the foreseeable future.
Collision refinishing professionals work on cars, trucks and other vehicles damaged in crashes or accidents. Individuals interested in entering this career may enroll in collision refinishing diploma or associate's degree programs available at trade and technical schools. Their duties often involve all aspects of collision repair, including welding, glass replacement and dent repair in addition to paint refinishing.
|Required Education||1- or 2-year diploma in auto refinishing or repair; associate's degree in collision repair|
|Projected Job Growth for Automotive Body and Related Repairers||4% (2018-2028)*|
|Mean Annual Salary for Automotive Body and Related Repairers||$46,460 (2018)*|
Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Collision Refinishing Professionals Salary Information
Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary information specific to collision refinishing professionals, they do track wages for automotive body and other repairers. They reported that the national mean annual salary in May 2018 for those in the automotive body repair field was $22.34 per hour and $46,460 annually. A September 2019 report on PayScale.com indicated that the median annual salary for a collision repair technician was $51,000.
Career Information for Collision Refinishing Professionals
Collision refinishing professionals fix damage that has been done to the exterior of cars, trucks and buses. These technicians remove dents, repair auto bodies, provide touch-up paint jobs and sometimes replace glass or windshield parts.
Specific job duties for collision refinishing professionals vary by shop size. Larger shops may call for professionals to stick to one or two specialties, whereas smaller shops may have collision refinishing professionals work on multiple areas of the car. Through training, most of these professionals have the capabilities to provide analysis of car frame damage, provide estimates of repair work and even make non-structural repairs to materials such as plastic and metal. Additional job duties may include replacing car structures, fixing air conditioning systems, correcting electrical problems or welding aluminum and steel parts.
Career opportunities for collision refinishing professionals often depend on the amount of schooling or type of degree one has. Those who receive a 1- or 2-year technical diploma in auto refinishing or repair work may start as auto body technicians, frame technicians or paint technicians. For graduates of an associate's degree program in collision repair, positions as unibody repair specialists (those who work on cars without frames) or appraisers may be available. Coursework in these programs often covers paint refinishing, welding, customer service and panel repairs.
Collision refinishing professionals need to take courses to earn a 1-2 year diploma or even an associate's degree in auto refinishing or collision repair. Topics of study include painting, welding and body repairs. In 2018, the average salary for auto body repairers was more than $54,000.