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Automotive Body Repair

Career Overview

Automotive body repair workers are called upon to repair vehicles that have been in collisions. They repair all types of vehicles although there are some specialty shops that work on large trucks, buses, or tractor-trailers. In some shops, workers develop specialties such as painting or frame repair.

Body shop workers increasingly are working with plastic and fiberglass components in cars coming off the assembly line today. Techniques for restoring a bent plastic component are very different than those applied to a sheet metal fender. Auto repair work today often involves replacing components because they can no longer be pounded back into shape. Some dents in the metal components are pulled out with a hydraulic jack or knocked out with a pneumatic hammer, after which the surface is sanded smooth.

Education

Collision repair courses are offered in vocational schools and some community colleges. Certification is available from the vocational programs, while some community colleges offer two year programs in automotive repair. A worker can start out in a body shop with no training, but it will be as some sort of apprentice, acting as an assistant to the more accomplished workers and learning on the job.

Current Employment

In 2006 there were 206,000 auto body repair workers, according to the U.S. Department of Employment. Thirteen percent of those specialized in glass repair.

Job Outlook

This job classification is expected to grow about as fast as the overall average growth rate for all job categories. That rate is about ten percent over the decade 2006 - 2016.

Salary Range

Lowest 10%  $10.32  $21,480
Median Salary  $17.16  $35,690
Highest 10%  $29.08  $60,490

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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