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Autobody Repairer


Description

A car can have a top quality engine, state of the art tires, and be fueled by the purest, cleanest gas available, but if rust has eaten through the hood and the doors do not work because they are smashed in, that vehicle is not going anywhere. Autobody repairers fix or replace damaged motor vehicle structures and body parts, as well as look after interior and exterior finishes. These craftspeople specialize in either collision repair or restoration services.

Nearly all of today's passenger vehicles have unibody construction. Each part of the vehicle's body contributes to the overall strength, including not only the outerbody, but the seat belts and airbags. These smaller, yet significant items, make up a portion of the collision specialist's workload.

The collision branch involves damage appraisal, frame and unibody structural repair, body sheet metal work, plastic repair, component replacement and alignment. These repairers rely on precise factory specification charts and use sophisticated measuring and repair systems to restore damaged vehicles. The collision specialists restore the structure by cutting away damaged components, and welding in new ones. Not only does the piece have to fit well, but it also has to maintain the steering alignment and other internal systems. They might also install hoods, fenders, doors, and glass.

The refinishing branch involves damage appraisal, surface preparation, minor damage repair, masking, color matching, priming and top coating. Specialists here restore anti-corrosion treatments, surface preparation, and painting. They protect the vehicles from rust - they may work alongside collision repairers in an effort to prevent further damage, as a rusty car falls apart more easily in a crash.

Refinishers must be careful to see that the chemicals they use are compatible, adhesive, and durable. They also need a good eye for color, as they have to match new paint to old paint. There is more to fixing up a car than a coat of paint and hammering out a dent. Autobody repairers are trained, confident service people who make sure a car looks, and functions, as well as it deserves to.
 
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UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Automotive Technician (9-Month Diploma Program)

 

 



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
n/a
 
Median Salary:
$32,675
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
n/a

  Interests and Skills  
Good autobody repairers are strong, and have the stamina required to handle heavy tools and car parts. They have manual dexterity, creativity, patience, and an eye for detail. It is important for autobody repairers to have good color vision, good customer service skills, and a commitment to safe work habits.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Review damage report and estimates of repair cost and plan work to be performed
  • Repair and replace front end components, body components, doors and frame and underbody components
  • Hammer out dents, buckles and other defects using blocks and hammers
  • Operate soldering equipment or use plastic filler to fill holes, dents and seams
  • Remove damaged fenders, panels and grills using wrenches and cutting torch and bolt or weld replacement parts into place
  • Straighten bent frames using frame and underbody pulling and anchoring equipment
  • File, grind and sand repaired body surfaces using hand and power tools
  • Apply primers and repaint surfaces using brush or spray guns
  • Repair and replace glass components such as windshields, windows and sunroofs
  • Repair or replace interior components, such as seat frame assembly, carpets and floorboard insulation
  • Inspect repaired vehicles and test drive vehicles for proper handling
  • A typical day for an autobody repairer is spent working on a number of projects at once. One small car might need new, rust-proof doors put on, while a huge truck might be nearly torn in half from a collision. The repairer spends time meeting with other repairers to discuss necessary work, as well as meeting with the clients themselves to discuss necessary tasks. Autobody repairers work regular hours, with occasional weekend or evening work. They work in noisy, messy shops and repair spaces which are full of dust and fumes. They work with hot metals and dangerous tools.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Autobody repairers are employed by autobody repair shops, automobile and truck dealerships, custom shops, trucking companies and business. They may also be self-employed.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Autobody repairers can open up their own repair shops, automobile and truck dealerships, or custom shops. They may advance to supervisory positions, or become automobile damage appraisers for insurance companies. They may choose to retrain, and become sheet metal workers, aircraft technicians, motorcycle mechanics or automotive service technicians. They may further specialize in damage appraisal, frame straightening, preparation, sheet metal work, painting, or plastics.
 

  Educational Paths  
Autobody repairers receive their training either through informal, on-the-job training or through an apprenticeship program. Trade certification can be obtained either through an apprenticeship program or after several years of work experience. While trade certification is not mandatory in all areas to become an autobody repairer, it can be a requirement for many employers and can also help secure employment.

Apprenticeship programs involve a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. A pre-apprenticeship course may also be available which takes about five to six months to complete at a community college and is designed to help you get connected with a good company to apprentice with. It is important to apprentice with a reputable company as that is your education. While some apprenticeship programs may not require a high school diploma, it is important to note that employers generally prefer to hire high school graduates.

Apprenticeships can vary, however a typical apprenticeship lasts four to five years. The apprenticeship is a paid position, however wages are about 50 percent of what an employer pays the journeyperson, with yearly increases. After successfully completing the apprenticeship requirements, their industry training and apprenticeship office awards the autobody repairer a certificate of completion.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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UEI College  Online

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Automotive Technician (9-Month Diploma Program)
Campus Locations:
  • Gardena, CA

 
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