If you have always liked tinkering with the exteriors of cars, giving it a polished finish, then you could make a career out of it. You could do this by first getting the proper training in the collision repair department of a franchised dealership.
Collision repair as a career involves repairing the damaged body and parts of a vehicle. The candidates are trained to handle a range of equipment to repair the damage of individual sections. From using a hammer and anvil to smooth out dents, to using a pneumatic metal-cutting gun and welding equipment to remove and replace damaged sections, collision repair involves all types of restorations.
The following areas of instruction are available in collision repair technology: Computerized frame measuring, which is the use of computer technology to assess frame changes caused by damage. Other subjects such as computerized estimate writing, shrinking and stretching methods, alignment work on doors, hoods, and deck lids, the use of spray painting equipment, computerized mixing and matching of paints, frame alignment and more are also taught.
The goal of the Collision Repair Program is to train candidates with sufficient expertise and know-how to get into the job market. The candidates should be willing to work as heavy equipment repairers. The program provides you the opportunity to develop the basic skills required in auto body repair and refinishing. It offers you in-depth understanding of the underlying theories, the study of technical information, and related practical information to assure that you follow proper procedures in the repairing and servicing of any kind of damaged vehicles body and chassis.
The use of micro and macro tools is also explained during the program. Tools such as the mig welder, refinishing equipment (paint mixing system, paint gun, paint booth, etc.), frame straightening equipment, and various body tools (hammers, dollies, grinders, etc.) are also taught. More attention and focus is put on the use of hand tools.
One of the main advantages of the program is that it offers an opportunity to begin working “hands on” during the second semester of the first year. Thus, you will do various jobs ranging from detailing to helping with a complete paint job in the first year of the program. The program also offers training with an up-to-date paint booth that can bake paint at temperatures of up to 140 degree F. Candidates are also offered a practical course on frame straightening equipment and the operation of HVLP refinishing equipment.
Apart from basic reading ability, skills in mathematics (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of fractions and percentages) are essential for this program. Physical abilities such as good eye-hand coordination and motor skills will help the candidate to progress quickly in the program.
Being a certified collision repairer opens up a whole range of job avenues. Positions such as a body shop and paint shop helper, automotive refinisher, auto body technician, fiberglass technician, the sales of paint and automobile body supplies, insurance appraiser, or auto body shop manager, are some of the jobs available in this field.
The program lasts for two years with a year of apprenticeship. A candidate can expect a 40-hour work week, and salary depends on the specific job, shop size, and the size of town in which the shop is located.
With the growth in the number of motor vehicles, which inevitably results in more accidents, there is no dearth in the demand of collision repair technicians. The US Department of Labor expects the employment prospects of automotive body repairers to grow about as fast as the average for all other occupations through to the year 2012.