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What Is a Refinish Technician?

Sep 13, 2021 ·

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Accidents happen on the road every day. Thanks to collision repair technicians, many of the vehicles involved in those accidents are repaired and able to function as they once did.

Those who enjoy working with their hands and have an eye for detail might be interested in becoming a refinish technician, which is closely related to collision repair. Refinish technicians prepare and apply paint to repaired vehicles. They help ensure a vehicle’s exterior appears like it did before an accident.

Refinish technicians apply various kinds of paints, including sealers and primers. They mix colors and complete processes that include sanding and blending.

If a career as a refinish technician sounds interesting, keep reading to learn more about the steps you can take to become one!

Refinish Technician Job Description

Having a general idea of the duties and responsibilities of a refinish technician can help if you’re considering it as a career. It’s important for the exterior of a vehicle to look new after a collision or accident, and it’s up to refinish technicians to restore them.

Daily tasks can include:

  • Inspecting vehicles and parts that require paint
  • Reading estimates and documenting repairs
  • Maintaining painting tools and equipment
  • Mixing paints and primers to exact specifications
  • Buffing paint imperfections
  • Matching and blending colors
  • Following quality standards to minimize defects
  • Working with other departments and technicians to ensure on-time delivery

This is a sampling of the daily tasks a refinishing technician might perform. Those who are detail oriented and find a sense of joy in seeing a project move from start to finish would fit well in the role of a refinish technician.

How to Become a Refinish Technician

Training and education are important for becoming a refinish technician. Knowing how to prepare and apply paint is critical to ensure vehicles look as good as they did before an accident.

A trade school like Universal Technical Institute (UTI) can be a good place to get a foundational education that can be applied to the industry. UTI’s Collision Repair & Refinish Technology (CRRT) program teaches skills that are needed to restore a range of vehicles.1

Courses in the CRRT program cover several topics, including those that can be more specifically applied to refinish technician jobs:

  • Introduction to Refinishing
  • Vehicle Preparation for Painting
  • Finish Applications
  • Custom Paint Fundamentals

Training with industry tools and equipment can help ease the transition from school to the workforce and give you confidence when applying for jobs.

Refinish Technician Salary and Job Outlook

Having a general idea of the salary and job outlook for automotive refinish technicians can help you make a decision about your future. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) can be a great place to look, although there is no specific information for refinish technicians. BLS data does address the expected median salary for automotive body and related repairers, which is a closely related field.

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for automotive body and related repairers in the United States was $47,670 in May 2022.28 This means half of collision repair technicians earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary depends on several factors, including experience, employer, demand and cost of living in the area.

Body repair shops ranging from dealerships to independent repair centers rely on experienced automotive refinish technicians who know how to restore and paint vehicles. This helps contribute to the demand for these technicians.

Get a Background in Collision Repair at UTI

If you’re interested in taking the first step toward a potential career as a refinish technician, training at a trade school like UTI is a good place to start. The CRRT program can help give you a background in collision repair that could eventually lead to a more specific position in refinishing.2

You could graduate in 51 to 54 weeks with the skills employers are looking for. With the right education and hard work, you can work toward a role as a refinish technician. Find out more by visiting our program page or by requesting more information today.

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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

28) UTI’s Collision Repair & Refinishing Technology (CRRT) Program prepares graduates for entry-level positions using the provided training, primarily as collision repair technicians. Estimated annual salary shown above is for Automotive Body and Related Repairers as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages. Entry-level salaries are lower for UTI graduates. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on economic factors, personal credentials, work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer, and their compensation programs. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as a collision repair technician, such as appraiser, estimator and inspector. Salary information for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: The average annual entry-level salary range for persons employed as Automotive Body and Related Repairers (49-3021) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is $30,400 to $34,240 (Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, May 2020 data Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled collision repair technicians in North Carolina is $22.35 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages, Automotive Body and Related Repairers). The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish entry-level salary data. However, the 25th and 10th percentile of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $18.80 and $14.95, respectively.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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