Collision Repair Technician: Career Info and Training Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a collision repair technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and potential certifications to find out if this is the career for you.

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Collision repair technicians typically learn their trade through on-the-job training, although programs and degrees are available that may provide a competitive advantage in the job market. Certification is available, though usually voluntary.

Essential Information

Collision repair technicians fix the outer body of cars. These technicians can also be trained in repairing internal components of a damaged automobile. Formal training is not always required, as many repair shops train employees on the job, but obtaining a degree or certification can assist in employment prospects.

Required Education High school diploma; two-year programs are available through technical schools and community colleges
Other Requirements Certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is recommended for advancement
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 9% (for automotive body and glass repairers)*
Median Salary (2016) $58,115**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Collision Repair Technician Career Info

A collision repair technician is trained to analyze, assess and fix damaged vehicles. Their work can include repairing, replacing and refinishing outer body parts. These professionals may also be trained in fixing internal automotive structures and industry standard repair. Most collision repair technicians are found working for large dealerships, manufacturers or small private repair shops.

Salary Information

PayScale.com reports that, as of January 2016, collision repair technicians earned a median salary of $58,115. Based on findings by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as of May 2015, the median wage for automotive body and related repairers was $19.70 per hour, although wages can range from $12.03 to over $33.42 an hour. Within dealerships and private repair shops, many collision repair technicians are paid on incentive. The tasks assigned and the time it takes to complete the tasks usually determines this wage.

Employment Outlook

The BLS projects a 9% increase in job opportunities for automotive body and glass repairers between 2014 and 2024. Advances in automotive safety and repair technology may slow job growth in the future.

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Training Requirements

Completing a formal training program is not always necessary to become a collision repair technician. Many beginners are hired by repair shops and slowly develop on-the-job skills. Degree and certificate programs that offer training in this field are often available through technical, vocational or community colleges. After completing a formal training program, many graduates go on to a position where they gain additional hands-on training through an apprenticeship with an experienced or master repair technician.

Educational Information

A 2-year associate degree education program in collision repair covers both outer and inner vehicle work. Students receive hands-on training in structural damage assessment and repair. They also work with various automotive materials, such as metal, plastic and glass. Additionally, formal training programs teach the internal repair of steering, suspension and basic electrical components in cars. Some programs also offer elective courses in advanced auto painting. Prospective students should consider programs certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).

Certification Information

Generally, certification is voluntary, although some states or employers might require it. In areas where this is not mandatory, certification can open up opportunities for employment as a competitive advantage. Repairers can work toward becoming master repair technicians through a series of certification tests offered through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

Although formal education is not always required, collision repair technicians can pursue enroll in a technical training program, earn an associate's degree or participate in an apprenticeship. The job growth outlook for training repair technicians is faster than the job market as a whole, and earning a certification may help you stand out even further.

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