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As you run your hand down a car starting at the fender and moving back to the quarter panel it's amazing how much your hand will move up and down due to all the minor details of the body of your car. What's even more complex is trying getting all the lines and curves back to their original state if something has happened to them. There are many tricks to the trade. If you thought auto collision repair was easy then you will see that it takes many skills to have a successful career in this field of work.
Auto Collision Repair
Growing up around cars, and looking at all their beauty from the sparkle of fresh paint to all the fine details that one has in its body; gives one a certain desire to work on them. Through this, one will learn more about the field of auto collision repair, the tools needed, and what schooling and skills it takes. Living on a farm, watching old cars get restored, then finally getting my own car and fixing it up with the help of my father and brother has given me a little insight into this field. Even if one doesn't have a care in the world for auto collision they should at least know the basic information in case of a break down; or know what they are paying for when they send a car into the shop and don't see it for a week. I'm conducting this research because I like old cars, and love seeing something get completely remolded and making it look like it was reborn.
How can one have a successful career in auto collision repair and what does it take?
What kind of schooling does auto collision repair require?
What skills does one need to be successful in this field?
What are the different tools one will need in this field of work?
How much will one make a year coming out of college and does amount go up much?
What kind of schooling does auto collision repair require?
According to (U.S. Bureau) with the advancement in technology and all the different materials that cars are getting made of, one should at least have a high school diploma and go on to get training at a trade or technical school. Classes such as English, physics, chemistry, computers, electronics, and mathematics where there are hands on learning will be helpful. Just like any profession one is looking into, there are schools all over the states where you could go. According to Mr. Hinrichsen, if ones looking into automotive repair the best schooling would either be at Wyotech in Laramie, Wyoming or Southeast Community College in Milford, Nebraska.
Both colleges have positive aspects and negative aspects. Entering the work force as soon as possible is a positive aspect of attending Wyotech. Wyotech's programs are set up so students have only on nine month period of classes. During these nine months students receive just as many college credits as they would at Southeast Community College in an eighteen month program. The down fall to Wyotech is the price according to (Warpness) tuition almost double the cost compared to Southeast Community College. As you can see both schools have their ups and downs about them. Individuals wishing to attend college and enjoy the college experience on a low budget would see Southeast as the perfect match for their future. But if one is looking to get out of school as soon as possible, maybe a visit out to Wyoming would be worth your while.
What skills do you need to be successful to be in this field?
There are many skills you needed to have to be successful in the field of auto collision repair. Skills will be learned during college in addition to refining skills one have always had. We will start out with the skills that you will pick up throughout your college experience. According to Mr. Hinrichsen, a graduate from Southeast in automotive collision, the skills you will acquire during school are the "basic ins and outs of collision repair". These basics consist of classes involving collision theory. The collision theory according to (Collision Theory) is steps to predict the reaction of every action that takes place, whether it be a physical or chemical reaction. Mr. Hinrichsen also stated "You will need some metal working skills."
There is a wide range of medal working; collision repair students will learn at school. Learning how to weld with a mig welder during this process one would need to learn the techniques necessary to operate the welder. This includes setting its heat and wire speed, to actually being able to lay down a good bead that is trustworthy. Also one would learn how to use a torch or a plasma cutter. These machines are used for separating metals. This is used in auto body when you need to cut out old metal and put in new. If one would like to job shadow or even work study they could get a good insight into these different things.
Now that we have covered the skills one will pick up in a class room, let's talk about skills that one is born with that could help them. Just like in everything patience is huge in auto collision repair. Just like most things in life, one won't be able to pop a dent right out of a fender; it takes a lot of time to get it just right and smooth with the rest of the surface. One won't pick up all their metal working skills in class and it helps if you are a hands on type of person. According to Mr. Hinrichsen "the biggest skill you need in the profession is desire, just like anything else, if you want to learn how to repair cars you have to want to and be willing to learn.
What are some different tools one needs in this field of work?
Like many jobs in auto body there is a tool for everything. According to (Autodata) a hammer and dolly are the most used tool out of an auto collision repair man's tool box. Next there is a welder; there are many types of welders from arc to the mig like welders discussed earlier. Then there is the sander and grinder these too are used a lot when you are preparing a car for paint. Last the little finishing touches come from the spray gun.
All of these are very popular and have their own uses. Without these tools it would take a very long time to repair or almost make it impossible to repair a car. If one would go to an auto collision shop they would see why the hammer and dolly are the most used tools. They are two tools that work together to get dents out. You hold a dolly on the dented side of a car and then tap with hammer. The dolly sends the force from the hammer back up and to the sides of it popping out dents. This is a very long process if you have a decent size dent. Then there comes the welder and torches, these come in handy when you need to put a new piece of meld on the car or cut out an old piece of rusted out metal. Usually when you cut out an old piece you will then weld in a new piece. Then there's the sander and grinder. Without these one would be sanding your car or grinding a car by hand. The sanding would not be so bad but the grinding would take forever you would be there for hours. Then last the spray gun which is pretty self-explanatory. One's gun would be hooked up to an air tank which would push the air through the can spraying your car leaving you with a nice even coat of paint. Without any of these tools one would be putting in twice as many hours and still not come out with as nice of a project.
What would the starting salary be post-graduation and how much will this base salary increase?
Now for the final question that everyone wants to know when they are looking for jobs. How much will a person that goes into this profession make a year? According to (U.S Bureau) the average wages that one will make are anywhere from $11.17 up to $17.58. Guys who aren't even at the top yet will be making this. This is just the average though so that means that one could be making a little less than this or making two times this. It all just depends on where you get a job and what your boss is like. Mr. Hinrichsen started out in 2005 working in Lincoln for his first year at 9 dollars an hour. He then went on to starting his own business and he said, "now I charge anywhere from thirty to forty dollars an hour depending on the type of work I will be doing. So as you can see it is just like any job one would start with. One won't make as much and be given the crappy hours and tough work. But as you get more experienced your wages will go up.
How can one have a successful career in auto collision? It all starts with school; you have to put in the time. Compared to most careers, an auto collision repairman won't have as much schooling are there and different schools that could fit you so one would only go for half a year. At schooling one will pick up many skills that will help them further on in the future, from metal working to learning about collision and reactions. But there is also skills you will need have before you even show up in the class room like patience and desire. These are two skills that will help one in any aspect of their life. But they play a major role in this career because ones not always going to get things right the first time and have the desire to keep going. Then there is the simple fact of owning the right tools that will get the job done. It could be anything from have the right hammer and dolly to just having a sander. Both will save extreme amounts of time. The last thing to have a successful career is enjoy what you love and not worrying about the money you bring in. If one loves working with his hands and loves to see nice cars driving down the road, there is a possibility this career could be calling your name.
(Autodata, 2009) Autodata, (2009). 7 most common collision repair tools. Retrieved from http://www.autos.com/auto-repair/7-most-common-collision-repair-tools
This little article about the 7 different tools used in a auto collision shop was a very helpful cite for me. It took me through some of the different machines and tools that one will see the most in a repair shop
(Collision theory). (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved December 23, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/125867/collision-theory
In my interview with Mr. Hinrichsen he said "that during school he learned the basic info of auto body and auto collision theory." I didn't really know what auto collision theory was and this help me learn more about it.
(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009) U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Initials. (2009). Automotive body and repairs. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos180.htm
This was a great source that had a lot of good information. It talked about everything for the certain skills one will learn in a class room to there salary.
(Warpness, 2008) Warpness, W. Guy. (2008). Wyotech-laramie. Retrieved from http://www.matchcollege.com/college/240718/Wyo-Tech---- Laramie/WY#tuition_and_fees
This website showed me the different amounts that it would cost to be a student at Wyotech. It gave all the information about housing and the school tuition. I used it when I compared Wyotech and Southeast.
(Young, 2006) Young, Dave. (2006, December). How to paint a car. Retrieved from http://www.moparmusclemagazine.com/techarticles/body/mopp_0612_how_to_paint_a_ car/index.html
Even though I learned most of the things I stated about welding from my field research this article helped me back up im thoughts. Its also talked about preparing a car for paint, which was interseting.