Entertainment Magazine: Education: Auto Careers

Collision Repair Training

For some people, the only thing more important than a car's performance is a car’s exterior.

After an auto accident, fender bender, or unusually harsh drought or winter, a person's car can be so dramatically changed, that it is virtually unrecognizable. 

Dents, peeling paint, bent frames, shattered windshields, and ripped upholstery can usually be fixed, but it takes a skilled auto mechanic with extensive collision repair training from an accredited school or program.

But not just any school will do.  It's important that you understand how a collision repair school can sometimes differ from many of the other programs you're probably used to.

How Does Collision Repair Training Differ from the Others?

In a standard auto mechanic school, you'll focus mostly on transmissions, lube jobs, and the inner workings of the engines, breaks, and GPS system. 

With collision repair training, your main focus is on cosmetics, safety, and exterior modifications.  As easy as this might sound, however, it's important to note that today’s cars are using more sophisticated materials, space-age alloys, crumple zones, and other technologies that were unavailable a few decades ago.

Collision repair training involves welding, computer science, electrical engineering, interior design, leatherworking, painting, waxing, and the ability to follow technical specifications, manuals, and basic mathematics.  This is why an associates degree or higher is often recommended for the field. 

While it's possible to get by with on-the-job training and general experience, if you hope to secure the median salary income levels of $16-$28 an hour, formal education is necessary.  Without it, you could earn closer to $9-$10 an hour, which is what the lower 10% of the profession tends to make.

Another major benefit of formal education is that you'll be in a much better position to launch your own body shop and work as a self-employed collision repair auto mechanic.  Roughly 20% of all mechanics go this route.

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