How to Become an Auto Body Repair Technician
Auto body repair technicians have the knowledge and skills necessary to fix vehicle bodies and various auto parts that are often damaged in collisions and accidents. With the advent of new technologies and the sophistication in materials engineering, auto body repair technician has become a promising career in the automotive field. To become an auto body repair technician, you need to undergo specialized training and continually educate yourself on new technologies and advancement in auto body engineering.Educational Prerequisites
You can start working towards your career as an auto body repair technician by enrolling in a Regional Occupational Program (ROP) specializing in automotive repairing techniques, through high school, community college or postsecondary vocational schools. Courses in electronics, physics, chemistry, English, computers, and mathematics provide a good background for a career as an automotive body repair technician.
Find information about schools or community colleges which offer formal training programs or diplomas in automotive body repair. Take up a formal training program from an accredited institution because it increases the chances of getting hired by reputed employers in the automotive domain. Apart from providing technical training on auto body repair, these educational programs also impart education on the various types of materials used to build an automobile and their application in auto body repair. These materials include metal alloys, aluminum, steel and plastics. Some community colleges offer an auto body technician associate degree that provides hands-on experience similar to that found at a real auto body repair workshop. A diploma or an associate degree in auto body repair usually covers training in the following areas:
- Basic auto maintenance
- Equipment, Safety and Conduct
- Repair and Body work in various materials
- Painting and finishing
- Fiberglass and plastic fillers
- Collision repair and replacement panels
- Estimation of Collision Repair
- Repairing structural and non-structural damages
In addition to the formal training, it is recommended to earn a certification recognized by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Even though this certification is voluntary, it acts as a catalyst in receiving good employment opportunities.
Employment and Job outlook
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment opportunities for auto body repair technicians are expected to grow substantially. One of the main reasons for the employment in this specialized automotive field is because it is rarely impacted by economic conditions. BLS predicts an employment growth of 12% over the 2006-16 decade. The median hourly wage-and-salary earnings of automotive body and related repairers, including incentive pay, were $16.92 in May 2006.
Opportunities for people with formal training in automotive body repair and refinishing are excellent. Those without any training or experience in automotive body repair before or after high school will face tough competition for these jobs. Demand for qualified auto body repair technician will increase as the number of vehicles on the road continues to grow. Apart from automotive manufacturing companies, auto body repair technicians will find employment opportunities in dealerships, auto body repair workshops, private garages, paint and body shops and large commercial fleets.