Automotive Body Repairer Jobs
Automotive Body Repairer Job Description
Automotive body repairers repair cars and other vehicles that have suffered body damage from a collision or another type of accident.
Automotive body repairers use many different tools on the job. Metal cutting guns and plasma cutters are commonly used to remove panels, bumpers, and other damaged parts. Hydraulic jacks and heavy duty hammers are used when performing structural repairs. Common hand tools like hammers and pliers are also regularly needed on the job.
In small repair shops, it’s common for a single repair technician to perform all of a vehicle’s repairs on their own. These jobs are normally filled by extremely skilled repair technicians, as it takes many years of practice to be learn how to repair all the different parts of a vehicle’s body.
In larger repair shops, repair technicians often specialize in one type of body repair. This allows the shops to operate like an assembly line, where each technician has a very specific purpose on the team. These larger shops normally provide more opportunities for advancement than smaller shops, but the work can be much more repetitive.
Responsibilities for automotive body repair jobs include:
- Preparing cost estimates and planning the repair work that needs to be done.
- Repairing structural damage by realigning car chassis and frames.
- Hammering out minor body damage including dents and dimples.
- Welding, attaching and fitting parts into place.
Work Environment and Schedule
The majority of automotive body repairers work in automotive repair shops, but there are also many opportunities available at car dealerships that offer body repair services.
This can be a physically demanding occupation. Body repairers spend their entire shifts standing, bending, or working in cramped spaces. Minor injuries like cuts and burns are common.
When customers drop their car off for repair, they expect it to be ready by the date promised. This means that automotive body repairers work under very tight deadlines. Meeting such frequent deadlines can be stressful, and can require working overtime.
Most people in this occupation work full time, but the amount of hours required depends on the backlog. When a shop is slow, they may only work a part time week. When it’s busy and the backlog fills up, they may need to work on nights and weekends to get the work done.
How to Become an Automotive Body Repairer
The best way to become an automotive body repairer is to complete a collision repair program at a trade school, technical school, or community college. Technical schools and trade schools normally offer certificates, and take between six months and a year to complete. Earning a degree from a community college takes about two years.
Collision repair programs teach students the basics of what they need to know on the job, and employers normally prefer to hire graduates from these programs for entry level positions because they don’t need as much training as candidates without practical experience.
This is a profession that takes a long time to master. Even after graduating from a collision repair program, it can easily take three to four years of training before repairers are fully qualified. Entry level employees normally start out working under the supervision of an advanced repairer. They are trained on simple tasks, and move onto more advanced types of work as they learn.
There are many certifications available to automotive body repairers. Certifications aren’t normally required for entry level positions, but are often required to move into more advanced roles. Repairers with certifications are normally paid more than those without them.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence offers the industry standard credential for repair technicians.
There are currently 152,900 automotive body repairers in the United States, with 6,520 new automotive body repairer job openings created each year.
Automotive Body Repairer jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Automotive Body Repairer Salaries
Automotive Body Repairer salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most automotive body repairers make between $30,000 – $50,200 per year, or $14.44 – $24.14 per hour.