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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.

Collision Repair Career Info

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.

Collision Repair Technician Job Duties

  • Inspect vehicles for damages
  • Review damage reports, estimate damage costs and plan work
  • Remove and replace damaged parts
  • Realign car frames to repair structural damage
  • Weld parts into place
  • Prime, sand, buff and grind repaired surfaces
  • Apply new finishes to restored parts

Collision Repair Jobs

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 owner.

Where Collision Repair Technicians Work

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.

How Much Do Collision Repair Technicians Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (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.

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.

What Is The Job Outlook For Collision Repair Technicians?

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.

How Do I Become a Collision Repair Technician?

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:

  • Non-Structural Technician Level 1
  • Steel Structural Technician Level 1
  • Aluminum Structural Technician Level 1
  • Estimating Level 1
  • Refinish Technician Level 2

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!

Want to Learn More About the Collision Technology Program?

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.