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Become An Auto Body Technician

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Working As An Auto Body Technician

  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Getting Information
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $44,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Auto Body Technician Do

Automotive body and glass repairers restore, refinish, and replace vehicle bodies and frames, windshields, and window glass.

Duties

Automotive body repairers typically do the following:

  • Review damage reports, prepare cost estimates, and plan work
  • Inspect cars for structural damage
  • Remove damaged body parts, including bumpers, fenders, hoods, grilles, and trim
  • Realign car frames and chassis to repair structural damage
  • Hammer out or patch dents, dimples, and other minor body damage
  • Fit, attach, and weld replacement parts into place
  • Sand, buff, and prime refurbished and repaired surfaces
  • Apply new finish to restored body parts

Automotive glass installers and repairers typically do the following:

  • Examine damaged windshields and assess reparability
  • Clean damaged areas and prepare the surfaces for repair
  • Stabilize chips and cracks with clear resin
  • Remove glass that cannot be repaired
  • Check windshield frames for rust
  • Clean windshield frames and prepare them for installation
  • Apply urethane sealant to the windshield frames
  • Install replacement glass
  • Replace any parts removed prior to repairs

Automotive body and glass repairers can repair most damage from vehicle collisions and make vehicles look and drive like new. Repairs may be minor, such as replacing a cracked windshield, or major, such as replacing an entire door panel. After a major collision, the underlying frame of a car can become weakened or compromised. Body repairers restore the structural integrity of car frames to manufacturer specifications.

Body repairers use many tools for their work. They use pneumatic tools and plasma cutters to remove damaged parts, such as bumpers and door panels. They also often use heavy-duty hydraulic jacks and hammers for major structural repairs, such as aligning the body. For some work, they use common hand tools, such as metal files, pliers, wrenches, hammers, and screwdrivers.

In some cases, body repairers complete an entire job by themselves. In other cases, especially in large shops, they use an assembly line approach in which they work as a team with each individual performing a specialized task.

Although body repairers sometimes prime and paint repaired parts, painting and coating workers generally perform these tasks.

Glass installers and repairers often travel to the customer’s location and perform their work in the field. They commonly use specialized tools such as vacuum pumps to fill windshield cracks and chips with a stabilizing resin. When windshields are badly damaged, they use knives to remove the damaged windshield, and then they secure the new windshield using a special urethane adhesive.

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How To Become An Auto Body Technician

Most employers prefer to hire automotive body and glass repairers who have completed a formal training program in automotive body or glass repair. Still, many new body and glass repairers begin work without formal training. Industry certification is increasingly important.

Education

High school, trade and technical school, and community college programs in collision repair combine hands-on practice and technical instruction. Topics usually include electronics, repair cost estimation, and welding, all of which provide a strong educational foundation for a career as a body repairer. Although not required, postsecondary education often provides the best preparation.

Trade and technical school programs typically award certificates after 6 months to 1 year of study. Some community colleges offer 2-year programs in collision repair. Many of these schools also offer certificates for individual courses, so students can take classes part time or as needed.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, certification is recommended because it shows competence and usually brings higher pay. In some instances it is required for advancement beyond entry-level work.

Certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is a standard credential for body repairers. In addition, many vehicle and paint manufacturers have product certification programs that train body repairers in specific technologies and repair methods.

A few states require a license to perform automotive glass installation and repair. Check with your state for more information.

Training

New workers typically begin their on-the-job training by helping an experienced body repairer with basic tasks, such as fixing minor dents. As they gain experience, they move on to more complex work, such as aligning car frames. Some body repairers may become trained in as little as 1 year, but they generally need 2 or 3 years of hands-on training to become fully independent body repairers. 

Basic automotive glass installation and repair can be learned in as little as 6 months, but becoming fully independent can take up to a year of training.

Formally educated workers often require significantly less on-the-job training and typically advance to independent work more quickly than those who do not have the same level of education.

Throughout their careers, body repairers need to continue their education and training to keep up with rapidly changing automotive technology. Body repairers are expected to develop their skills by reading technical manuals and by attending classes and seminars. Many employers regularly send workers to advanced training programs, such as those offered by the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR).

Advancement

Automotive body and glass repairers earn more money as they gain experience, and some may advance into management positions within body shops, especially those workers with 2- or 4-year degrees.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. Automotive body and glass repairers must be able to evaluate vehicle damage and determine necessary repair strategies. In some cases, they must decide if a vehicle is “totaled,” or too damaged to justify the cost of repair.

Customer-service skills. Automotive body and glass repairers must discuss auto body and glass problems, along with options to fix them, with customers. Workers must be courteous, good listeners, and ready to answer customers’ questions.

Detail oriented. Automotive body and glass repairers must pay close attention to detail. Restoring a damaged auto body or windshield to its original state requires workers to have a keen eye for even the smallest imperfection. 

Dexterity. Many body repairers’ tasks, such as removing door panels, hammering out dents, and using hand tools to install parts, require a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination.

Mechanical skills. Body repairers must know which diagnostic, hydraulic, pneumatic, and other power equipment and tools are appropriate for certain procedures and repairs. They must know how to apply the correct techniques and methods necessary to repair modern automobiles.

Physical strength. Automotive body and glass repairers must sometimes lift heavy parts, such as door panels and windshields.

Time-management skills. Automotive body and glass repairers must be timely in their repairs. For many people, their automobile is their primary mode of transportation.

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Auto Body Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

87.5%

Unknown

7.7%

Female

4.8%
Ethnicity

White

65.4%

Hispanic or Latino

15.0%

Black or African American

10.2%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

3.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

74.1%

Portuguese

5.6%

German

3.7%

Russian

3.7%

Dakota

3.7%

Swedish

1.9%

Ukrainian

1.9%

French

1.9%

Cherokee

1.9%

Carrier

1.9%
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Auto Body Technician Education

Schools

Universal Technical Institute

15.6%

University of Phoenix

9.6%

Nashville Auto Diesel College Inc

8.0%

Hennepin Technical College

6.4%

Ohio Technical College

5.2%

Dakota County Technical College

4.8%

WyoTech - Laramie

4.8%

Kaplan University

4.4%

Greenville Technical College

4.0%

Southeast Technical Institute

3.6%

A-Technical College

3.6%

Texarkana College

3.6%

Pikes Peak Community College

3.6%

Pennco Tech

3.6%

Hinds Community College

3.2%

Cleveland Community College

3.2%

The Academy

3.2%

Dunwoody College of Technology

3.2%

More Tech Institute

3.2%

Lincoln College of Technology - Indianapolis

3.2%
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Majors

Automotive Technology

38.5%

Business

12.3%

Fine Arts

6.4%

General Studies

6.2%

Precision Metal Working

5.0%

Criminal Justice

4.3%

Electrical Engineering

3.1%

Education

2.6%

Computer Science

2.4%

Graphic Design

2.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.1%

Drafting And Design

2.1%

Industrial Technology

1.8%

Mechanical Engineering

1.8%

Apparel And Textiles

1.7%

Management

1.7%

Heating And Air Conditioning

1.7%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.6%

Engineering

1.4%

Liberal Arts

1.1%
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Degrees

Other

48.0%

Associate

20.9%

Certificate

13.4%

Bachelors

9.9%

Diploma

5.9%

Masters

1.1%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$44,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$23,000
Min 10%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$82,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Carvana
Highest Paying City
Kent, WA
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
4.5 years
How much does an Auto Body Technician make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Auto Body Technician in the United States is $44,148 per year or $21 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $23,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $82,000.

Real Auto Body Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Auto Body Technician King St. Collision Silver Spring, MD Apr 14, 2008 $55,723
Auto Body Repair Technician Canton Auto Body Inc. Canton, MA Oct 06, 2016 $52,021
Auto Body Technician Unique Auto Body Inc. Midvale, UT Mar 28, 2011 $47,479 -
$49,045
Auto Body Tech Ben Clymer's The Body Shop Riverside, CA Sep 11, 2015 $46,738
Auto Body Repair Technician Yocom Body Shop, Inc. Hope, AR Sep 04, 2015 $46,634
Auto Body Technician Unique Auto Body Inc. Midvale, UT Mar 09, 2009 $43,827 -
$48,001
Auto Body Repair Technician George & Ken's Collision LLC MA Nov 01, 2013 $41,740
Auto Body Technician City Transport MGMT .Inc. NY Oct 27, 2015 $41,600
Auto Body Technician Carlos Paint & Body Shop TX Aug 05, 2013 $40,801
Auto Body Technician Richmond View Auto Collision, Inc. New York, NY Mar 02, 2010 $40,655
Auto Body Tech Ben Clymer's The Body Shop Riverside, CA Apr 21, 2011 $38,709
Auto Body Tech Ben Clymer's The Body Shop Riverside, CA Dec 08, 2011 $38,709

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Top Skills for An Auto Body Technician

  1. Vehicle Bodies
  2. Replacement Parts
  3. Auto Body Tech
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Removed upholstery, accessories, electrical window-and-seat operating equipment and trim in order to gain access to vehicle bodies and fenders.
  • Determined collision repair requirements, ordered replacement parts, in-checked parts, ensured proper alignment, assembled and prepped for paint.
  • Frame & Auto Body Technician* Knowledge of Genesis Measuring System* Knowledge of Velocity Measuring System* Estimates on auto damage* Customer service
  • Reassembled vehicle post paint to original pre-accident condition.
  • Repair and replace panels, prime, mask, wet sand, buff, re-assembly, answer phones, order parts

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Top 10 Best States for Auto Body Technicians

  1. Wyoming
  2. North Dakota
  3. Connecticut
  4. Alaska
  5. New Jersey
  6. New Hampshire
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Colorado
  9. Washington
  10. Nevada
  • (74 jobs)
  • (170 jobs)
  • (402 jobs)
  • (51 jobs)
  • (888 jobs)
  • (228 jobs)
  • (31 jobs)
  • (687 jobs)
  • (657 jobs)
  • (198 jobs)

Top Auto Body Technician Employers

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Jobs From Top Auto Body Technician Employers

Auto Body Technician Videos

Auto Body Technician, Career Video from drkit.org

A Day in the Life" of a Panel or Paint Technician"

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