When he was young, Tony loved working on cars with his dad. Tony knew he wanted an automotive career, but he didn’t want to be a mechanic, so he pursued a two-year degree in auto body at Dakota County Technical College. Tony moved his way up the career ladder by working at oil change shops, completing an internship at an independent shop and working as a buffer before being promoted into his dream job in auto body. Today, Tony transforms cars that look like they’ll never be drivable again into functional vehicles with beautifully restored systems. After being a collision tech for four years, Tony can’t think of anything else he’d rather be doing. He loves his job and knows he’s in the right career.
Position: Collision Technician
Job description: Work in auto garage to evaluate auto damage and repair cars back to a functioning status.
Salary: Median salary for a collision tech is $43,8001. Experience influences pay rate.
Job outlook: Faster than average.
Education: High school diploma required. Two-year degree or certificate preferred.
Character traits: Motivated to work and tackle challenges. Like being active and working with hands.
Benefits: Sense of accomplishment seeing a car transform from damaged to repaired and functional.
Considerations: Physically demanding job. Must purchase tools required for job.
The biggest benefit of being a collision tech is seeing the transformation from a damaged car to a functional vehicle that is ready for action. Collision techs get to do lots of different tasks every day, making it a good position for people who crave variety.
Tony’s biggest piece of advice for people who aspire to be collision techs is to make sure it’s what you want to be doing before getting too far into it. Gaining an internship or working in a shop while studying automotive are great ways for students to test the work and see if it’s what they really want to do.
Post-secondary auto body diploma or degree is recommended.
After graduating from a two-year program, collision techs need continued education from organizations like I-CAR to keep up-to-date with new technology and different procedures for fixing cars. This is especially important for collision techs because an incorrectly repaired car could result in passengers being injured in a subsequent crash. Training is typically renewed at least every five years and is essential to succeeding as a collision tech.
The auto industry continues to embrace technology, with new materials and electronics added to cars every year. Vehicles are routinely coming out with sophisticated features like lane departure and backup cameras. Electronics like these increase the likelihood of wiring issues, making a collision tech with know-how in technology a valuable team member.