Auto body and collision repair technicians use special equipment to repair metal frames, body panels, bumpers, and other parts of the automobile body. Body repairers must apply a wide range of skills and tools including the use of grinders, welders, soldering machines. The task is made more difficult by the constantly changing nature of the automobile industry. New materials and designs are constantly being introduced, placing new demands on the repair tech.
Collision repair schools provide technicians with the background to adapt to these challenges. In general, these schools obtain actual cars so the student can get hands-on experience in a live setting to help them get practical experience before looking for a job. Because auto body repair can present so many different types of challenges, most employers prefer to hire body repairers that have been through formal training programs. Check to see if the school you are interested in is NATEF/ASE certified.
New graduates from collision repair schools normally find themselves working in a body repair shop. As they gain in experience, body repairers can gain more responsibility and do more complex tasks. Some technicians open up their own body shop. Some may also choose to go pursue certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.