Auto Body Repair is a very competitive field, and to excel in it you will need training from a reputable Auto Body Repair School. This is no longer one of those trades that you can “get by” with learning as you go unless you want a low paying job cleaning up after others. Experience is the only way to go far in this career and the only way you are going to get it at this point is with schooling.
Lucky for us auto body repair schools can be found nationwide with little effort. They range from 2 year programs at community colleges that incorporate a traditional college curriculum into the trade to dedicated trade schools that teach only auto body repair. My personal preference is the dedicated trade school route. Most schools will divide time equally between theory in the classroom and hands on training in the shop. Some people may argue that hands on training is the only training needed, but that is simply not true anymore. In fact not learning the theory behind some of today’s complex automobile systems can be downright dangerous! Complex circuits, high voltage hybrids, and air bag components are just some of the systems that a auto body repair technician will have to encounter in the field that the old “learn from your mistakes” mentality will NOT help you with! The solution to this is simple, learn the information in books first, then apply the new found knowledge in the shop. Here are a few options for you to consider in choosing a Auto Body Repair School.
Lincoln Tech, my first choice for a school is a simple one. I am a LTI Alumni and can attest for their high quality of education. Using a systems approach they break down different systems of the automobile and then apply it later in the shop. With joint efforts between them and major auto makers they can provide specialized training for different makes and models. Tool companies are also linked up with LTI and provide tools to students at discounted rates. They also DBA Lincoln College of Technology and Nashville Auto/Diesel College.
Wyotech: Wyotech’s Collision refinishing technology program is also widely known. Branded as the official school tech school of the NHRA this school has no shortages in ties to the motor sports industry. Among others former Xtreme 4×4 host Jessi Combs was a Wyotech grad in their collision repair program. In addition to taking the core curriculum students are allowed to major in specialty areas including trim and upholstery, applied service management, motor sports chassis fabrication, and street rod and custom fabrication.
If a dedicated trade school is not for you then perhaps looking into local colleges is a better option for you. Look for ones that offer a collision repair or auto body repair program.