Starting a Career as an Auto Body Technician

Auto body technicians face new challenges daily. Cars come into the shop bent out of shape, cracked, and smashed. Technicians have the rewarding responsibility of mending and rebuilding these cars into safe, functional machines.

Auto body technician jobs are in high demand. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job opportunities for auto body technicians to be excellent. If you like working on cars, you could start a rewarding career as an auto body technician.

As an auto body technician, you will repair many different types of vehicles and cars. You will examine the vehicle, and determine the damage extent. You will evaluate which parts can be repaired and which parts you will have to replace.

Damages often go far deeper than the naked eye can see. Many cars suffer heavy structural damage that requires advanced hydraulic pressure machines to realign car components. Once the frame or skeleton is aligned the rest of the vehicle can be repaired. In modern vehicles more plastic parts are used as the outer shell on top of the car frame. These parts are lighter and easier to repair.

Technicians learn both in formal educational institutions and on the job. Programs are short. They usually are only 6 to 12 months long. Many postsecondary vocational schools and community colleges prepare students for employment. Classroom instruction combined with hands-on training, enable students to apply and remember what they learn.

When you begin a career as an auto body technician, you will start out doing simple tasks. You will examine vehicles and remove minor dents. As you gain experience you will progress to more advanced skills and responsibilities. It may take you a few years before you are fully trained in auto body repair. But even after years of experience you will still need to continue to read technical manuals, attend seminars, and gain more experience using new technology.

The best employment opportunities are available to certified technicians. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence certifies auto body technicians that have at least two years experience. After two years, you are then eligible to take certification exams. There are four certification exams. If you pass all four exams you will be an ASE Master Collision Repair and Refinish Technician. Every five years, you will have to be recertified. With more experience and continued certification, many technicians advance their career to shop manager positions or open their own auto body shop.

Auto body technicians can expect to earn between $38,000 and $44,000 annually. Most technicians are employed in car dealerships and independent repair shops. You may receive additional commission compensation based on specific assignments.

While on the job you will be exposed to loud noise, dust, and paint fumes. The job duties can also be physically challenging as you often work in cramped or awkward positions. Materials and tools can be dangerous. So technicians need to be careful.

Starting a career as an auto body technician is rewarding and challenging. You have the opportunity to mend and repair all different types of damaged vehicles. Be sure and receive proper training. Training and certification will open the door to the best job positions. You can help vehicles look and drive their best.

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