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Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician

Program Description

Just the Facts

Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician. A program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to repair, reconstruct and finish automobile bodies, fenders, and external features. Includes instruction in structure analysis, damage repair, non-structural analysis, mechanical and electrical components, plastics and adhesives, painting and refinishing techniques, and damage analysis and estimating.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Related Programs

Often similar programs have different names. Be sure to explore all your options.

Additional Information

Students who want to enter autobody technician programs should not be afraid of computers.

"So much of our equipment is now computer-based, whether it is some of our measuring equipment, or wheel alignment machines, or paint mixing machines," says Chris Burns. He is the chair of a collision repair department. "Everything is computerized now."

Many autobody technician programs are about one year long -- some may be longer. They generally lead to a diploma or certificate.

Portland Community College, for instance, offers a one-year certificate, a two-year certificate and an associate of applied science degree in auto collision repair.

The entrance requirement for most programs is a high school diploma. Recommended classes include basic math, physics and English. And you should like to work with your hands, of course, preferably on cars.

"The students who have mechanical experience are great," says Steve White. He is the director of the collision repair program at Portland Community College.

"They know how to get down to the parts that they need to fix. They are not afraid to take something apart and put it back together. They understand just how to use wrenches and tools safely and correctly."

But the collision repair trade is different than the automotive trade.

"Taking a car apart and putting it back together is one thing," says White. "Trying to do any structural or body repair stuff is very different."

Burns says no two auto collision repair jobs are ever the same. And the students who do the best are those who solve problems creatively, he says.

Students who want to succeed must also be able to work independently, manage their time well and have high quality standards, adds White. Communication skills are also important.

Many programs allow students to work part time or help them arrange apprenticeships.

Besides paying for tuition, students in the program must also buy their own tools. White says the average total cost of the tools that students need ranges from $1,200 to $1,500. But book costs are very low, he adds.

Not all programs are created equal. Do some research beforehand. Check out the school and ask instructors some pointed questions about standards, equipment and placement rates.

You should also ask whether the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) has certified the school.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Automotive Body Repairers

News and information on the collision repair industry

I-CAR Education Foundation
They are working to improve educational standards throughout the auto collision repair industry

NACE: The International Autobody Congress & Exposition
An event created and designed for the collision repair industry professional


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