Schools for Aspiring Automobile Painting Professionals

Automotive painters perform structural repairs and repaint cars after they have been through a collision. They have a keen eye for colors and can perform full and detailed painting techniques. Colleges and universities across the U.S. offer certificate and associate degree programs in collision repair and painting.

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Students interested in painting techniques and restoration can enroll in undergraduate programs in collision repair and painting. This training can be completed through automotive departments at community colleges and universities.

Automobile Painting Schools

Automobile painting programs are offered at a number of institutions, including those listed here.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition* (2015-2016)
Portland Community College Portland, OR 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $3,766; Out-of-state $8,374
Hawaii Community College Hilo, HI 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $2,940; Out-of-state $7,932
Utah Valley University Orem, UT 4-year, Public Certificate, Diploma, Associate's In-state $5,386; Out-of-state $15,202
Idaho State University Pocatello, ID 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $6,784; Out-of-state $20,182
Hennepin Technical College Brooklyn Park, MN 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $5,159
Vincennes University Vincennes, IN 4-year, Public Associate's In-state $5,375; Out-of-state $12,709
Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor, MI 2-year, Public Certificate In-district $2,424; In-state $3,816; Out-of-state $5,016
Greenville Technical College Greenville, SC 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-district $4,224; In-state $4,584; Out-of-state $8,448
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology Okmulgee, OK 2-year, Public Associate's In-state $4,860; Out-of-state $10,470

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES); School websites

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School Selection Criteria

There are some things to consider when choosing a school:

  • Practical training is assured with programs that are approved by the National Automotive Technicians Educational Foundation, which requires that programs provide hands-on experience.
  • School resources may be such that students are required to provide their own tools.
  • Some certificate programs can be completed in a few months, while associate's programs take two years to finish.
  • Students should be aware that somewhat hazardous chemical procedures are common when preparing automobiles for painting and when blending colors for discreet detailing.

Collision Repair and Painting Certificate

Certificate programs in auto body painting may be earned in less than one year. Individuals looking for a broader education in the automobile collision repair industry may consider additional certificate programs or choose to earn an associate degree.

Associate Degree in Collision Repair and Painting

Associate degree programs include general education courses, in addition to repair and painting specific courses. Though associate degrees require more time to complete, students may use this time to participate in an apprenticeship program or an internship.

To learn the craft of automobile painting, students typically pursue certificates, diplomas or associate's degrees in auto painting technology or collision repair and painting. Students should ensure the program they choose offers hands-on training.

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