What It takes to Become a Collision Repair Mechanic

What It takes to Become a Collision Repair Mechanic

Collision repair mechanics is becoming very sophisticated and prospective employers are seeking out employees who have formal training in collision repair. While it's possible to obtain on the job training in some rural areas, most urban auto body repair shops will only interview and employ a collision repair mechanic who has been formally trained and holds a national certification.

Collision repair mechanics are encouraged to start their training in collision repair in high school, if possible. In addition to taking vocational courses in auto body repair and paint, students are encouraged to also take classes in science, math, and computers. Collision repair mechanics must have basic reading, math, and computer skills to meet their job requirements. Repairing and restoring autos requires that mechanics are able to read, follow, and understand written instructions and diagrams, as well as make three dimensional measurements, mix chemicals, and more. Students planning to pursue mechanic school education are also encouraged to work part-time in auto body shops while they pursue formal auto body training after high school.

On-the-job experience and high school vocational and general education classes will serve as a strong foundation for students planning to enter collision repair programs after graduation. However, students who have no high school vocational training, or who hold a GED, are still eligible for enrollment in community colleges and technical schools to study collision repair.

Since most employers require their collision repair mechanics to obtain certification, it's advised that students seek out schools that have programs that are tailored toward giving students the education and skills they need to obtain certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Students can take up to four ASE exams. Repairers who pass at least one of the exams and prove they have work experience in the relevant field can obtain certification as a collision repair technician. Students who take and pass all four of the ASE exams will obtain certification as an ASE Master Collision Repair and Refinish Technician. It should be noted that any certifications received expire after five years and the exams must be retaken, and passed, to maintain certification.

Professional auto body specialists earn $10 to $25 an hour, depending on their specialty, where they work, and the area in which they work. There are many ways that auto body and collision repair professionals receive their pay. Some businesses pay their auto body professionals a flat rate per job, and the flat rate will vary from job to job. Some auto body professionals are paid an hourly rate, others may earn a set salary per week, and still others may work on commission. Some auto body professionals own their own shops and can determine their own pay.