Auto body repair careers are growing at a faster than average rate, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. So the industry actively recruits future technicians.
“We realize there aren’t as many people coming into the trade as there used to be,” says Jim Champion of Charlie Graham Body & Service. “As a result, auto body repair is a booming field – one that consistently looks for new technicians to join its ranks.”
It’s why Champion speaks at local schools to get students interested in careers in auto body repair.
“We’re recruiting all the way down to the grade school level,” he says.
Education and training
Champion says that Metro Community College’s auto collision technology program is a great option for adults who want to start a new career. The school offers nine-month and two-year certificate degrees.
“Years ago, every school had shop classes, but that fell by the wayside,” he says. “Different school districts do still have shop classes, and the OPS career center is an excellent program.”
OPS offers automotive technology programs that include Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing classes for students who want a career in auto body repair when they graduate.
“In theory, a person could do nine months of classes, go to work and then finish the two-year program with night classes,” he says.
Pair school with experience
It’s a fast track to a new career in a rapidly growing field. Champion recommends experience paired with education as the best way to be most attractive to potential employers.
“It’s tough to make your way up with no experience at all, but some shops are at a point where they’re willing to talk because of the shortage of technicians.”
Champion says inexperienced technicians likely start in the detailing area of an auto body shop because that gives shop owners the opportunity to see that person’s work ethic.
Leads to a long career
The technician may then work his or her way up to the auto body repair section.
“Four years of college isn’t for everyone,” Champion says, reminding everyone that to enter a booming trade can start a long and happy career.