Is becoming an auto body repairer right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do auto body repairers do?
Career Satisfaction
Are auto body repairers happy with their careers?
What are auto body repairers like?

Still unsure if becoming an auto body repairer is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become an auto body repairer or another similar career!

Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.

How to become an Auto Body Repairer

Becoming an auto body repairer requires a combination of education, training, and hands-on experience. Here's a guide on how to pursue a career as an auto body repairer:

  • Obtain a high school diploma or GED: A high school diploma or its equivalent is typically the minimum educational requirement for entry into the field. Make sure to focus on courses such as automotive technology, mathematics, and physics, as they provide a solid foundation for your future career.
  • Research and enroll in a vocational or technical program: Look for vocational schools, community colleges, or technical institutes that offer auto body repair programs. These programs provide formal training in auto body repair techniques, collision repair, refinishing, and related skills. Ensure that the program is accredited and offers comprehensive training.
  • Complete an auto body repair program: Enroll in and successfully complete the chosen auto body repair program. These programs typically last from six months to two years and offer a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training. During the program, you will learn about body repair techniques, painting and refinishing, frame alignment, welding, and other essential skills.
  • Consider an apprenticeship: While not always required, participating in an apprenticeship program can provide valuable real-world experience and enhance your job prospects. Seek out apprenticeship opportunities offered by auto body repair shops, dealerships, or industry associations. Apprenticeships involve working under the guidance of experienced professionals, allowing you to learn and refine your skills on the job.
  • Gain practical experience: Seek entry-level positions or internships at auto body repair shops to gain practical experience. This hands-on experience will help you develop your skills further, understand the workflow of a repair shop, and become familiar with the tools and equipment used in the industry.
  • Obtain certification: Although certification is voluntary, it is highly recommended as it demonstrates your competence and expertise as an auto body repairer (see below).
  • Continue professional development: Auto body repair technology is constantly evolving, so it's crucial to stay updated with the latest techniques and industry trends. Participate in workshops, seminars, and training programs to enhance your skills and knowledge. This ongoing professional development will help you stay competitive in the field.
  • Build a network and seek employment: Network with professionals in the auto body repair industry, attend job fairs, and make use of online job boards to find employment opportunities. Consider reaching out to local auto body repair shops, dealerships, and insurance companies to inquire about job openings.
  • Start your career as an auto body repairer: Once you secure a position, continue to refine your skills, learn from experienced technicians, and strive to provide high-quality repair work. Over time, you can gain experience and potentially advance to positions with more responsibility or specialize in a specific area of auto body repair.

In the United States, there are several certifications available for auto body repairers that demonstrate their skills, knowledge, and expertise in the field. Here are some of the notable certifications:

ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) Certifications

  • ASE Collision Repair and Refinish Certifications: These certifications cover various aspects of collision repair, such as non-structural analysis and damage repair, painting and refinishing, and structural analysis and damage repair.
  • ASE Master Collision Repair and Refinish Technician: This certification is achieved by obtaining multiple ASE collision repair certifications and meeting specific experience requirements.

I-CAR (Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair) Certifications

  • ProLevel certifications: These certifications demonstrate proficiency in specific roles within the collision repair industry, such as Estimator, Non-Structural Technician, Steel Structural Technician, and Refinish Technician.
  • Welding Training and Certification: I-CAR offers welding certifications for technicians involved in welding and joining processes used in auto body repair.

OEM Certifications
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) certifications are offered by vehicle manufacturers to ensure that auto body repairers are trained to repair their specific makes and models. These certifications focus on manufacturer-specific repair procedures and techniques. Examples of OEM certifications include:

  • Audi Authorized Collision Repair
  • BMW Certified Collision Repair Center
  • Mercedes-Benz Certified Collision Center
  • General Motors Certified Collision Repair Network

It's worth noting that requirements for certifications may vary, and some certifications may have prerequisites, such as work experience or completing specific training programs. Additionally, some employers or insurance companies may have their own certification requirements.