Careers in Collision Repair

Explore a Rewarding Career in Collision Repair

If you enjoy working with your hands, have a mechanical aptitude, take pride in your work, and are passionate about cars, then you might consider a career in collision repair. An experienced technician has high income potential, excellent job security and ample opportunities for career advancement within the automotive industry.

Many people are surprised to learn that a collision repair technician’s income, on average, is better than comparable trades. A 2013 survey from the Collision Repair Education Foundation found that collision repair technicians average nearly $53K in income. Almost one in five technicians earned $70K or more, demonstrating the attractive earning potential of the trade.

In addition, the demand for new technicians is growing. The average age of the collision repair technician has increased by 10 percent since 1995. As more industry veterans approach retirement age, many new technicians will be needed to fill the positions they leave vacant.

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Education Pays

Nearly half of entry-level technicians hired are selected from career or technical school programs. Many high schools, vocational schools, private trade schools, and community colleges around the country offer collision repair training. Some students enter the collision repair profession right out of high school, while others pursue additional training from a post-secondary institution before starting their career. In either circumstance, they are usually hired as entry-level technicians, doing basic repairs or detail work until they gain additional professional experience.

What does a collision repair technician do?

Thousands of motor vehicles are damaged in traffic accidents every day. While some are totaled, most can be repaired by collision repair technicians to look and drive like new. This can be challenging because each damaged vehicle presents a different problem. Collision repair technicians must develop appropriate repair plans for each job, using their knowledge of collision repair techniques.

The general tasks of a collision repair technician include estimating damage, straightening, repairing dents, replacing parts that are beyond repair, mixing and matching paint colors, spraying paint and refinishing the vehicles.

The Need for Training

Today's vehicles are made of more than just ordinary steel. Many automobile manufacturers now use high-strength steel, aluminum and plastic, each of which present unique challenges for the repairer. Many parts are designed to fail in such a way to absorb energy during a collision, rather than transfer that energy to the vehicle occupants. It is the role of the repair technician to re-establish the safety features of a vehicle following a collision, and to restore the automobile to factory specifications.

Ongoing advances in technology and repair standards have increased the skill level required of collision repair professionals. In a world of increasingly complex and diverse vehicle designs, highly specialized and current training is needed to perform the proper repairs that keep drivers safe. Few people realize that collision repair technicians work with computers and high-tech equipment. Good reading and basic mathematical skills are a requirement, as technicians must consistently refer to technical manuals and make very precise measurements.


Over 1,100 high schools, vocational schools, private trade schools and community colleges offer collision repair training in this country. While most high schools offer only introductory or basic repair courses, some provide as much in-depth technical training as a post-secondary or vocational school. Nearly 200 of these schools offer the industry standard for collision repair training — the I-CAR® Professional Development Program™, which is offered to schools in a special Education Edition adapted to meet the needs of technical school students and instructors.

The I-CAR® Professional Development Program - Education Edition™

The I-CAR Professional Development Program - Education Edition (PDP-EE) trains technical school students using the same curriculum favored by industry professionals. Students graduate with technical knowledge they can apply on the job and the employability that comes from earning the industry-recognized Platinum™ designation.


Learn more about the PDP-EE today!