Autobody technicians repair and refinish the exteriors and frames of automobiles. An associate's degree in autobody technology or an autobody technology certificate program from a community or technical college provides the training and education necessary to become an autobody technician. Individuals can also enroll in specialized certificate programs that focus on one aspect of autobody repair, such as painting, custom fabrication or metal repair.
Both certificate and associate's degree programs in autobody technology incorporate internships or cooperative work experiences, as well as hands-on lab practice. Graduates of these programs may be eligible to take certification exams through various nationally recognized agencies.
Typical autobody technician classes cover the following information:
- Materials used for autobody repair
- Specialized equipment and tool usage
- Safety procedures in automotive repair shops
- Communicating with clients about needed repairs
- Career information for autobody technicians
List of Courses
This course provides an introduction to the welding tools and techniques used in automotive shops. After reviewing safety procedures, students learn to use metal inert gas (MIG) welders, also referred to as gas metal arc welders or GMAW, and oxy-acetylene torches. The applications of gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) may be included in some autobody welding courses. Welding techniques taught include welding automotive joints and creating finishes on metals, such as aluminum and steel.
Autobody Metal Repair
When a car is scraped or dented in a collision, autobody repair technicians may remove the dented materials and replace or repair them. Methods for replacing and repairing vehicle panels, such as bumpers, hoods, and doors, are taught in this course. Students learn to straighten and polish metal panels using hand and power tools. This course may include the use of welding and thus must be taken after completing an introductory welding course.
Autobody Painting and Refinishing
The final step in repairing an automobile exterior is painting and polishing. Painting methods used depend on the vehicle section to be painted. In this course, students determine the appropriate painting method, match paint colors, prepare metals for painting and use industrial painting equipment, like air brushes. Custom finishes, including specialized colors and sheens, are introduced.
Repairing Car and Truck Frames
Vehicles are either built on a foundation called a frame with parts, such as the engine and transmission, bolted onto the frame, or welded together in a unibody construction. Instruction in this course includes how to analyze damaged areas of frames and unibodies and determine whether to repair or rebuild them. Students learn to use pullers and hammers to reshape frames
Replacing Automobile Glass
Glass windows and mirrors are important parts of a vehicle and are likely to be damaged in a collision. An automotive glass replacement class teaches broken glass removal, precision cutting and replacement techniques. The safe handling of glass is emphasized.
Collision Damage Estimation and Repair
This course is geared toward both the autobody technician and the automotive service professional. Students learn to analyze damages and make repair or replacement decisions based on the amount of damage and the part of the vehicle damaged. Estimations are performed using software with the most recent vehicle pricing and valuation data. This is an elective course often completed at the end of an autobody technician degree program.