Auto body mechanics are professionals who work on cars and trucks when they’re damaged and in need of repairs from accidents. To become an auto body mechanic requires training and certification. Here is some information aspiring body mechanics should know if they’re pursuing this career.
Auto Body Colleges
To become an auto body technician, you’ll need to complete some sort of formal training program. These are generally found at community colleges, technical schools and vocational schools. Depending on the school and program, the training can take from six months to two years or more. They generally result in diplomas, certificates of completion or associate degrees. Usually the only prerequisites required are a high school diploma. If students have prior experience working in this field, it can prove very beneficial.
Training to become auto body mechanics includes a combination of classroom assignments, lab studies and internships at service centers or garages to obtain hands-on training. When choosing a training program, it’s important to choose one that’s accredited because you’ll need this when you apply for certifications. Many training programs have courses that actually prepare the students to take the certification exams.
Many auto body colleges offer training programs through distance learning. While the hands-on training must be completed in person, many of the courses can be completed online. The Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) also offers advanced training for aspiring auto body mechanics.
Students in auto body colleges will take many auto-related course as well as some general education courses if they are pursuing a degree. An aspiring auto body mechanic can expect to complete the following automotive courses.
- Repair cost estimations
- Steel welding applications
- Collision damage
- Automotive glass installation
- Advanced refinishing techniques
Apprenticeships can be very beneficial to an individual wishing to become an auto body mechanic. Students can complete apprenticeships after they finish college, or they may complete them prior to college if they have an employer willing to provide them with on-the-job training. This type of apprenticeship can be very helpful to the student in preparing them for the actual training program. They also look very good on job resumes.
Certification is not always required of auto body mechanics but it’s a definite bonus. An employer may not require certification, but they often prefer applicants who are certified. The most common certification organization for auto body mechanics is the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). ASE offers various certifications.
To obtain ASE certification, the candidate must have completed a training program and must pass certification exams for each certification they wish to obtain. Work experience can also help the student pass the exams. Although there are many certification exams available through ASE, some examples include the following.
- Collision Repair & Refinish Certification Test
- Automobile & Light Truck Certification Test
- Damage Analysis & Estimating Certification Test
- Auto Maintenance and Light Repair Certification Test
- Automobile Service Consultant Certification Test
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