WHAT DO AUTO BODY TECHNICIANS DO?
If you have a love for cars, a steady hand and an eye for detail, you might find a career as an auto body technician. Auto body technicians fix cars after they've been damaged in an accident or other incident. They use a wide array of tools to cut off old parts, connect new parts to the car, fill holes, repair scratches, dents and dings, and make the car look as good as new.
Auto body techs often work directly with customers at shops, and must have good customer service. They are able to give customers an estimate for what the work will cost, and create itemized bills when the repairs are done.
HOW MUCH DO AUTO BODY TECHNICIANS MAKE?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that in 2010, the median hourly pay for auto body and glass repairers was $18.07, or $37,580 annually.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
While it is possible to get started without training and learn on the job, more and more employers prefer applicants to get training in auto body repair and/or refinishing from a trade school, technical school or community college. There are programs that take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to finish and will give individuals a strong foundation in electronics, physics, math and hands-on work. Once completed, most new employees will continue to learn under a more experienced employee on the job.
Ongoing education is required as standards and practices often change in cars.
Certification not required, but is becoming more and more important to employers.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Critical Thinking: Auto body techs must be able to look at a damage vehicle and assess what it will take to repair it, as well as cost.
- Customer Service: Working with customers in a stressful situation, like after an accident needs to be handled calmly and in a friendly way.
- Attention to Detail: Having good eyes for detail is necessary when trying to get a car back to looking like new.
- Dexterity: Auto body techs need free range of motion in their hands and arms to work with small parts and small spaces.
- Technical Skills: Auto body techs use a wide range of tools and equipment to assess and repair cars.
THE FUTURE OF AUTO BODY TECHNICIANS
Auto body tech jobs will grow at a pace that is in line with the average for all jobs, according to the BLS.