The Automotive Service Association indicates that auto body repair generates close to 30 billion dollars a year. If you love working on cars and have a knack for mechanical repair and artistic design, becoming an auto body technician may be the perfect job for you. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the median pay in 2012 for this position is $37,680 per year. Post-high-school education is increasingly important in this field. Programs vary and include certificate programs as well as associate and baccalaureate degrees.
San Diego Community College
San Diego Community College offers a certificate program based upon the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair. You can focus on auto body repair or auto paint as specializations. Classes include removal and installation of auto body elements, auto painting and detail work, use of power auto tools and industry safety standards. You’ll also learn professional expectations in the workplace and ethical standards. The program takes 900 hours to complete over the course of nine months.
Greenville Technical College
Greenville Technical College in South Carolina offers a diploma, certificate and associate degree in applied science that focuses on auto body repair. All three programs combine classroom and practical experience in structural and sheet metal repair, welding, electrical issues, refinishing and estimating. By adding 40 hours of general education courses, you can earn your associate's degree. The certificate is 32 credit hours, the diploma is 41 credit hours and the associate's degree is between 60 and 84 credit hours.
Dallas County Community College District
Certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, Dallas County Community College District offers an auto body technology program. If you’re a Dallas County high school graduate, you can apply for the Rising Star program to aid with tuition costs. You can choose to earn an associate's degree in applied sciences degree in auto body technology or take a certificate program in auto body technology or painting. Sample courses include basic metal repair, refinishing, collision repair welding, structural analysis and damage repair, color analysis and paint matching, and repair technology. The associate's degree requires 67 credit hours, while you can earn the certificate with 26 credit hours.
Lansing Community College
Lansing Community College in Michigan offers a certificate program as well as an associate degree in collision repair. The certificate program requires 31 credits of education, while the associate's degree requires 71 credits. Both programs cover topics such as structural and non-structural repair, welding and cutting, refinishing, electrical diagnosis and estimating. The degree program includes 16 to 21 credits of general education and an internship to gain practical experience. You can also choose from a menu of specialty courses -- such as mechanical diagnosis and repair, advanced auto body repair, and painting -- to further specialize.
Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years. She has numerous publications with Talico, Inc., DynaTEAM Consulting, Inc. and Kinect Education Group.