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If you’re a car enthusiast, love working with your hands and have an eye for detail, a career as a collision repair technician may be perfect for you.
Due to exciting advancements in technology, the field is continuing to evolve. However, the need for technicians remains. In fact, as the field grows, opportunities for skilled technicians are becoming abundant.
Keep reading to learn all about what a collision repair technician does, the types of projects they work on, job opportunities and more.
If this is a career path you’re considering, you might be wondering, “What does a collision repair technician do?”
Collision repair technicians (also known as auto body technicians) repair collision damaged vehicles utilizing proper repair procedures, parts and paint. Accidents happen on the roadways every day, and trained technicians are needed to fix the damage. A collision repair technician’s job is to repair these vehicles so they look and drive like new.
Every accident is different, which means the damage technicians come across always presents a new set of challenges. For this reason, it’s important for collision repair technicians to be trained and well-versed in different repair techniques required to fix whatever jobs may come their way.
Training in collision repair can prepare you for multiple career paths. Depending on your interests, you can customize your career to pursue something you’re passionate about.
Most of our grads start out working as entry-level technicians or in other entry-level roles. As with any industry, over time, you may be able to advance in your career with hard work.
Some potential entry-level and advanced auto body collision repair technician jobs include:77
Collision repair technician: Collision repair technicians, also known as auto body technicians, help restore collision-damaged vehicles using proper repair procedures, parts and paint. Accidents happen on the roadways every day, and trained
technicians are needed to fix the damage. A collision repair technician’s job is to repair these vehicles so they look and drive like new. This role may be a good fit for someone who enjoys solving problems and strives for diversity within their
workday as no two collision repair projects are the same.
Appraiser: An auto appraiser, or auto damage appraiser, analyzes and identifies vehicle damage after an accident. They use tools to examine the body structure, mechanical configuration, electrical engineering, interior of the vehicle
and more to determine what repairs are needed. Appraisers also work closely with insurance companies, law enforcement and collision repair technicians. If you have a passion for cars, enjoy investigating problems and like collaborating with others,
a role as an auto damage appraiser may be for you.
Estimator: Collision estimators, also known as auto body estimators, lead customers through the process of getting their vehicles repaired after accidents. They act as liaisons between the customer, insurance companies and parts vendors
to ensure the repair process goes smoothly and is completed correctly. A good estimator acknowledges that when customers come in with damaged vehicles, it’s not one of their best days. This requires estimators to have empathy and strong communication
skills as they work with customers to get them through a tough situation. It’s their role to be the voice of their company and demonstrate exceptional customer service skills every step of the way.
Inspector: A collision repair inspector, or auto body inspector, is responsible for examining vehicles. This can take place prior to or after vehicle repairs to make sure a vehicle’s issues have been resolved, or to diagnose if
further investigation or repairs are needed. Inspectors typically work in auto-body shops and can sometimes double as mechanics.
Non-structural technician: Non-structural technicians restore damaged vehicle exterior panels to their original appearance, integrity and function. Using hand tools and power tools, these technicians remove and repair damaged parts, install
new parts and weld when needed. They work with glass, metals and plastics, as well as electrical and mechanical parts.
Steel structural technician: These technicians restore vehicle dimensions and structural integrity to collision-damaged vehicles. Using 3D measuring and straightening equipment, steel structural technicians diagnose and return damaged
frames and parts to manufacturer specifications. To succeed in this role, you must be able to use hand tools and power tools to remove or repair damaged parts, weld when necessary, and install new parts.
Aluminum structural technicians: Aluminum structural technicians restore aluminum structural dimensions and structural integrity to damaged vehicles. Using measuring and frame equipment, they diagnose damage and return damaged frames
or unibody parts to meet manufacturer specifications. They use hand tools and power tools to remove and repair damaged parts, install new parts and weld when needed.
Auto physical damage appraiser: These technicians inspect, analyze and evaluate damaged vehicles to create comprehensive damage reports. They often travel to a vehicle’s location, which can include tow facilities, repair facilities,
dealerships, and customer homes and offices. Auto physical damage appraisers are responsible for documenting every aspect of claims investigation and processing. They follow company claims processes to achieve fair and accurate settlements, customer
satisfaction, and cost management.
Electrical/mechanical technician: Electrical/mechanical technicians diagnose and repair collision-related mechanical damage, including steering, suspension, air conditioning, engine and brakes. Using measurement and alignment equipment,
they diagnose damage and return front- and rear-wheel alignments to manufacturer specifications.
Production manager: The role of a production manager is to make the repair process as seamless as possible from start to finish. A production manager oversees the process and staff to ensure technicians are performing safe and efficient
repairs and that the customer feels valued.
Shop manager: An auto shop manager, or automotive service manager plays a key role at a dealership or body shop. It’s a vital role that requires a lot of responsibility and organization to ensure the service department is successful.
They are responsible for overseeing the service department, ensuring it’s profitable and running smoothly. These individuals are well trained in automotive repair but focus their daily duties around shop operations. Some tasks may include hiring,
training and managing employees, preparing budgets, customer retention, recording accounts and financial information, ordering parts and supplies, and forecasting goals and objectives.
Shop owner: As an auto shop owner, you own the shop and have the first and final say on how things operate. Auto shop owners can take on the responsibilities of an auto shop manager and do both roles simultaneously, but shop owners can
also hire a shop manager to share the responsibilities. Some duties that owners might have that managers might not include ensuring the shop has adequate insurance coverage for its operations, making sure the shop is following all legal requirements
and is registered as a business, paying rent, and filing business taxes. Someone who has an entrepreneurial drive and enjoys the automotive shop environment, but is also looking to lead and be on the business operations side, may thrive as a shop
Depending on their role, auto body technicians work in different environments. Many work in body repair shops of franchised dealerships, independent repair centers and fleet workshops. These types of environments are typically fast-paced, which means
having the ability to manage your time well is essential.
Collision repair technicians often work directly with their clients, which makes having great communication and customer service skills a must. Customers look to technicians to explain the problems and provide solutions, so it’s important for them
to be patient, great listeners and available to answer any questions.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median wage for automotive body and related repairers was $47,270 in May 2021.28 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.
When it comes to advancing in the field, many shops want to promote from within. Having additional skills and education can give you an advantage and open doors to exciting opportunities.
As the complexity of vehicle design increases, so will the need for technicians trained on the latest tools and technology. By investing in yourself through training and keeping up with the industry as it changes, you may be able to qualify for a higher wage.
As the complexity of vehicle design increases, so will the need for technicians trained on the latest tools and technology. Having additional skills and education can open doors to exciting job opportunities and help give you an advantage. When it comes to advancing in the field, many shops want to promote from within.
The role of a collision repair technician is complex. These professionals must have a particular set of skills, which requires the completion of a training program that will expose them to the types of scenarios they’ll experience in the field.
Certification is an important element in preparing for a career in collision repair. Receiving specialized education from a collision repair technician school like Universal Technical Institute (UTI) is often a requirement
for becoming an auto body repair technician.1 Having certifications will prepare you to perform your job well, which can make you a strong candidate when applying for jobs.
Due to UTI’s relationship with I-CAR, the provider of collision repair training standards as defined by the industry, students can receive valuable auto body repair certifications that can help them pursue
careers after they complete their training. Graduates earn recognition of their high level of training as I-CAR ProLevel individuals and receive I-CAR certificates for:
Graduates who achieve the Axalta Refinish Certification receive Refinish Technician Level 3 status to become Platinum individuals. Additional industry certifications include Axalta Cromax Pro Certified Refinisher Safety & Pollution Prevention (S/P2),
3M Plastics and Composite Repair Systems, Chief Velocity Certification, EPA 609 A/C Certification and Lean Efficiency Certificate.
Overall, the collision repair industry is full of exciting opportunities for those who have a passion for cars and are looking to start a new career!
If you're interested in learning how you can register for the Collision Technology program Just click the link below or call (800) 834-7308 to speak with one of our friendly Admissions Representatives.
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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 www.uti.edu/disclosures.
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 2021 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 https://lmi.dua.eol.mass.gov/lmi/OccupationalEmploymentAndWageSpecificOccupations#). 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 $22.69 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2021 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 $17.93 and $13.98, respectively.
77) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. UTI prepares graduates for entry-level careers using the provided training. UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than those listed.
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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