Collision repair technicians fix car bodies that are damaged in traffic collisions. In 2010, most worked full-time in auto body shops, but 16 percent were self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They earn their pay by working standard, full-time hours, although overtime is common in shops with a backlog of work.
Collision repair technicians made an average $41,570 per year, or $19.99 per hour, as of May 2011, states the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest-paid workers earned over $65,030, or $31.27, while the lowest-paid received less than $22,530, or $10.83. The BLS predicts that jobs for the profession will increase by 19 percent, compared with the 14 percent growth expected for jobs in all industries. A growing population, which uses more vehicles, will feed the demand. However, repair technology that allows fewer workers to do more work will offset some hiring. Techs with industry certification and formal training in collision repair will find the best opportunities.
In 2011, automotive repair and maintenance shops provided the most jobs for collision repair technicians, accounting for 70 percent of the 131,040 positions. Average pay was at $40,850, or $19.64. Car dealerships were next for opportunities, with more than 20 percent of the jobs, with mean salaries at $43,760, or $21.04. Third on the list for jobs were wholesalers of motor vehicles and parts, with almost 2 percent of the workers, earning an average $39,440, or $18.96. The highest paying jobs were with couriers and express delivery services, averaging $66,400, or $31.92, followed by the Postal Service, at $57,030, or $27.42, and spectator sports at $57,020, or $27.41.
The state with the most jobs for collision repair techs in 2011 was Texas, containing almost 8 percent of the workers, with average pay at $40,920, or $19.67. California had almost the same percentage of positions at mean salaries of $44,520 per year, or $21.40 per hour. Ranking first for pay was Alaska, at an average $57,680, or $27.73, followed by Maryland, at $51,110, or $24.57 per hour. Among cities, Chicago had the most positions, with almost 4 percent of the workers, averaging $44,430, or $21.36 per hour. The metro area with the highest pay was Virginia Beach, Virginia, at a mean $63,110, or $30.34 hourly.
Employers prefer to hire collision repair techs with formal training, which is available in high schools, trade institutes and community colleges. Subjects cover physics, math, electronics, and the physical skills of auto body repair. Programs usually last from six months to two years, and can award certificates or associate degrees. Newly hired employees typically help experienced workers. They may need from one to four years of work before becoming fully qualified techs who can operate without supervision. Continuing education is needed to keep up with the speed of technological change in automotive technology.
The median total income of Auto Body Repair Technicians is around $38K, and for the average worker in this area, a good chunk of that (a little more than half, in fact) comes from commissions. Career duration and the particular city each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. Approximately one-half of professionals in this line of work do not receive benefits; however, close to one-half report medical coverage and just under one in three claim dental coverage as well. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.
An auto body repair technician is the person who evaluates auto body damage and performs the repairs necessary to bring the vehicle back to normal functioning status. This technician works within an automotive garage. Each automotive garage is different. Some have the amenities of a typical office, whereas others do not have heat or air conditioning. An auto body repair technician must be understanding of the environment. The hours worked are in accordance with the garage itself, and many persons in this profession will work 5 or 6 day work weeks, typically daytime shifts. An auto body repair technician is not always required to have attained formal education in their field. However, more companies are requiring training from a trade school or technical school (with courses in electronics, math, etc.) and training in hands-on work. Continuing education is often required, as this is a growing and evolving field.
An auto body repair technician is responsible for assessing the extent of damage on a vehicle, including evaluation of which auto body parts will need to be replaced. A repair technician must be familiar with working with metal, plastic, fiberglass, hydraulic devices, pneumatic metal-cutting guns, hot-air welding guns, hand tools, media blasters, and various other tools and equipment found onsite. This person will be responsible for straightening alignments, fixing dents, repainting damaged areas, removing and replacing vehicle parts, and simply bringing the vehicle back to normal working condition. An auto body repair technician can work alone or as part of a team within a larger garage. Some auto body repair technicians will also have specialty areas that they are experts in within the auto body repair industry. (Copyright 2018 PayScale.com)
Auto Body Repair Technician Tasks
Repair damaged vehicles by removing damage and replacing parts.
Perform maintenance tasks like replacing head lamps, testing shocks, evaluating brakes, etc.
Review and evaluate work orders, identifying where additional information or safety changes are needed.
Coordinate with parts and inventory clerks to limit delays and improve efficiency of repairs.
Survey results show that Auto Body Repair Technicians use a fair number of skills. Most notably, facility with Frame Repair, PAINTER, and Aluminum Welding are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 34 percent, 15 percent, and 6 percent, respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include Welding, Automotive Engine Repair, and paint. It is not unusual for someone who knows Aluminum Welding to be familiar with Metal Inert Gas Welding as well.
Pay by Experience for an Auto Body Repair Technician has a positive trend. An entry-level Auto Body Repair Technician with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $30,000 based on 183 salaries provided by anonymous users. Average total compensation includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay. An Auto Body Repair Technician with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $36,000 based on 106 salaries. An experienced Auto Body Repair Technician which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $41,000 based on 170 salaries. An Auto Body Repair Technician with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $48,000 based on 197 salaries.