Automotive Body and Glass Repairers

Summary

automotive body and glass repairers image
Automotive body repairers restore automobile frames to factory specifications.
Quick Facts: Automotive Body and Glass Repairers
2015 Median Pay $39,880 per year
$19.17 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training See How to Become One
Number of Jobs, 2014 169,100
Job Outlook, 2014-24 9% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 15,300

What Automotive Body and Glass Repairers Do

Automotive body and glass repairers restore, refinish, and replace vehicle bodies and frames, windshields, and window glass.

Work Environment

Automotive body repairers work indoors in body shops, which are often noisy. Most shops are well ventilated, so that dust and paint fumes can be dispersed. They sometimes work in awkward and cramped positions, and their work can be physically demanding. 

Automotive glass installers and repairers often travel to the customer’s location to repair damaged windshields and window glass.

How to Become an Automotive Body or Glass Repairer

Most employers prefer to hire automotive body and glass repairers who have completed a formal training program in automotive body or glass repair. Still, many new automotive body and glass repairers begin work without formal training. Industry certification is becoming increasingly important.

Pay

The median annual wage for automotive body and glass repairers was $39,880 in May 2015.

Job Outlook

Employment of automotive body and glass repairers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Job opportunities should be very good for jobseekers with industry certification and formal training in automotive body and glass repair.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for automotive body and glass repairers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of automotive body and glass repairers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about automotive body and glass repairers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Automotive Body and Glass Repairers Do About this section

automotive body and glass repairers image
Automotive body and glass repairers inspect car frames for structural damage.

Automotive body and glass repairers restore, refinish, and replace vehicle bodies and frames, windshields, and window glass.

Duties

Automotive body repairers typically do the following:

  • Review damage reports, prepare cost estimates, and plan work
  • Inspect cars for structural damage
  • Remove damaged body parts, including bumpers, fenders, hoods, grilles, and trim
  • Realign car frames and chassis to repair structural damage
  • Hammer out or patch dents, dimples, and other minor body damage
  • Fit, attach, and weld replacement parts into place
  • Sand, buff, and prime refurbished and repaired surfaces
  • Apply new finish to restored body parts

Automotive glass installers and repairers typically do the following:

  • Examine damaged windshields and assess reparability
  • Clean damaged areas and prepare the surfaces for repair
  • Stabilize chips and cracks with clear resin
  • Remove glass that cannot be repaired
  • Check windshield frames for rust
  • Clean windshield frames and prepare them for installation
  • Apply urethane sealant to the windshield frames
  • Install replacement glass
  • Replace any parts removed prior to repairs

Automotive body and glass repairers can repair most damage from vehicle collisions and make vehicles look and drive like new. Repairs may be minor, such as replacing a cracked windshield, or major, such as replacing an entire door panel. After a major collision, the underlying frame of a car can become weakened or compromised. Body repairers restore the structural integrity of car frames to manufacturer specifications.

Body repairers use many tools for their work. They use pneumatic tools and plasma cutters to remove damaged parts, such as bumpers and door panels. They also often use heavy-duty hydraulic jacks and hammers for major structural repairs, such as aligning the body. For some work, they use common hand tools, such as metal files, pliers, wrenches, hammers, and screwdrivers.

In some cases, body repairers complete an entire job by themselves. In other cases, especially in large shops, they use an assembly line approach in which they work as a team with each individual performing a specialized task.

Although body repairers sometimes prime and paint repaired parts, painting and coating workers generally perform these tasks.

Glass installers and repairers often travel to the customer’s location and perform their work in the field. They commonly use specialized tools such as vacuum pumps to fill windshield cracks and chips with a stabilizing resin. When windshields are badly damaged, they use knives to remove the damaged windshield, and then they secure the new windshield using a special urethane adhesive.

Work Environment About this section

Automotive body and glass repairers
Automotive body repairers often remove paint from a car frame.

Automotive body and glass repairers held about 169,100 jobs in 2014. About 66 percent worked in automotive repair and maintenance shops and 17 percent worked for automobile dealers. About 1 in 10 automotive body and glass repairers were self-employed in 2014.

Body repairers typically work indoors in body shops, which are often noisy. Most shops are well ventilated, so that dust and paint fumes can be dispersed. Glass installers and repairers often travel to the customer’s location to repair damaged windshields and window glass.

Automotive body and glass repairers sometimes work in awkward and cramped positions, and their work can be physically demanding.

Injuries and Illnesses

Automotive body repairers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. These workers commonly suffer minor injuries, such as cuts, burns, and scrapes. Following safety procedures helps to avoid serious accidents.

Work Schedules

Most automotive body and glass repairers work full time. When shops have to complete a backlog of work, overtime is common. This often includes working evenings and weekends.

How to Become an Automotive Body or Glass Repairer About this section

automotive body and glass repairers image
Automotive glass repairers replace broken windshields and window glass.

Most employers prefer to hire automotive body and glass repairers who have completed a formal training program in automotive body or glass repair. Still, many new body and glass repairers begin work without formal training. Industry certification is increasingly important.

Education

High school, trade and technical school, and community college programs in collision repair combine hands-on practice and technical instruction. Topics usually include electronics, repair cost estimation, and welding, all of which provide a strong educational foundation for a career as a body repairer. Although not required, postsecondary education often provides the best preparation.

Trade and technical school programs typically award certificates after 6 months to 1 year of study. Some community colleges offer 2-year programs in collision repair. Many of these schools also offer certificates for individual courses, so students can take classes part time or as needed.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, certification is recommended because it shows competence and usually brings higher pay. In some instances it is required for advancement beyond entry-level work.

Certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is a standard credential for body repairers. In addition, many vehicle and paint manufacturers have product certification programs that train body repairers in specific technologies and repair methods.

A few states require a license to perform automotive glass installation and repair. Check with your state for more information.

Training

New workers typically begin their on-the-job training by helping an experienced body repairer with basic tasks, such as fixing minor dents. As they gain experience, they move on to more complex work, such as aligning car frames. Some body repairers may become trained in as little as 1 year, but they generally need 2 or 3 years of hands-on training to become fully independent body repairers. 

Basic automotive glass installation and repair can be learned in as little as 6 months, but becoming fully independent can take up to a year of training.

Formally educated workers often require significantly less on-the-job training and typically advance to independent work more quickly than those who do not have the same level of education.

Throughout their careers, body repairers need to continue their education and training to keep up with rapidly changing automotive technology. Body repairers are expected to develop their skills by reading technical manuals and by attending classes and seminars. Many employers regularly send workers to advanced training programs, such as those offered by the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR).

Advancement

Automotive body and glass repairers earn more money as they gain experience, and some may advance into management positions within body shops, especially those workers with 2- or 4-year degrees.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. Automotive body and glass repairers must be able to evaluate vehicle damage and determine necessary repair strategies. In some cases, they must decide if a vehicle is “totaled,” or too damaged to justify the cost of repair.

Customer-service skills. Automotive body and glass repairers must discuss auto body and glass problems, along with options to fix them, with customers. Workers must be courteous, good listeners, and ready to answer customers’ questions.

Detail oriented. Automotive body and glass repairers must pay close attention to detail. Restoring a damaged auto body or windshield to its original state requires workers to have a keen eye for even the smallest imperfection. 

Dexterity. Many body repairers’ tasks, such as removing door panels, hammering out dents, and using hand tools to install parts, require a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination.

Mechanical skills. Body repairers must know which diagnostic, hydraulic, pneumatic, and other power equipment and tools are appropriate for certain procedures and repairs. They must know how to apply the correct techniques and methods necessary to repair modern automobiles.

Physical strength. Automotive body and glass repairers must sometimes lift heavy parts, such as door panels and windshields.

Time-management skills. Automotive body and glass repairers must be timely in their repairs. For many people, their automobile is their primary mode of transportation.

Pay About this section

Automotive Body and Glass Repairers

Median annual wages, May 2015

Automotive body and related repairers

$40,970

Vehicle and mobile equipment mechanics, installers, and repairers

$40,160

Automotive body and glass repairers

$39,880

Total, all occupations

$36,200

Automotive glass installers and repairers

$33,830

 

The median annual wage for automotive body and related repairers was $40,970 in May 2015. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,030, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $69,510.

The median annual wage for automotive glass installers and repairers was $33,830 in May 2015. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,390, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $50,080.

The majority of repair shops and auto dealers pay automotive body and glass repairers on an incentive basis. In addition to receiving a guaranteed base salary, employers pay workers a set amount for completing various tasks. Their earnings depend on both the amount of work assigned and how fast they complete it.

Trainees typically earn between 30 percent and 60 percent of experienced workers’ pay. They are paid by the hour until they are competent enough to be paid on an incentive basis.

Most automotive body and glass repairers work full time. When shops have to complete a backlog of work, overtime is common. This often includes working evenings and weekends.

Job Outlook About this section

Automotive Body and Glass Repairers

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Automotive body and related repairers

9%

Automotive body and glass repairers

9%

Automotive glass installers and repairers

8%

Total, all occupations

7%

Vehicle and mobile equipment mechanics, installers, and repairers

6%

 

Employment of automotive body and glass repairers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.

While the frequency of accidents has declined in recent decades, an increase in the number of vehicles on the road should bolster demand for automotive body and glass repair over the next decade. In some cases, demand may fluctuate throughout the year due to the seasonality of inclement weather in some regions. The need for repair may be greater during the winter months in areas with snow and ice, for example, because these conditions increase the chance of accidents.

The adoption of advanced safety features, such as automatic braking for collision avoidance and more durable automotive glass, may reduce future demand for automotive body and glass repair work, but this technology will take time to become commonplace.

Job Prospects

Job opportunities are projected to be very good for automotive body and glass repairers. The best opportunities in automotive body repair will be available to those with industry certification and formal training in automotive body repair and refinishing, and in collision repair. Those without any training or experience will face strong competition for jobs.

The need to replace experienced automotive body and glass repairers who retire, change occupations, or stop working for other reasons will also provide many job opportunities.

Employment projections data for automotive body and glass repairers, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Automotive body and glass repairers

169,100 184,300 9 15,300

Automotive body and related repairers

49-3021 149,700 163,500 9 13,700 [XLSX]

Automotive glass installers and repairers

49-3022 19,300 20,800 8 1,500 [XLSX]

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of automotive body and glass repairers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2015 MEDIAN PAY Help
Automotive service technicians and mechanics

Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics

Automotive service technicians and mechanics, often called service technicians or service techs, inspect, maintain, and repair cars and light trucks.

Postsecondary nondegree award $37,850
Diesel service technicians and mechanics

Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanics

Diesel service technicians and mechanics inspect, repair, and overhaul buses and trucks, or maintain and repair any type of diesel engine.

High school diploma or equivalent $44,520
Glaziers

Glaziers

Glaziers install glass in windows, skylights, and other fixtures in storefronts and buildings.

High school diploma or equivalent $39,440
Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians

Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technicians

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles and machinery used in construction, farming, rail transportation, and other industries.

High school diploma or equivalent $47,120
Painting and coating workers

Painting and Coating Workers

Painting and coating workers paint and coat, often with machines, a wide range of products, including cars, jewelry, and ceramics.

See How to Become One $34,340
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Automotive Body and Glass Repairers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/automotive-body-and-glass-repairers.htm (visited September 27, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015

What They Do

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Work Environment

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Pay

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State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's Career InfoNet.

Job Outlook

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Similar Occupations

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Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2014

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2014, which is the base year of the 2014-24 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2014-24

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.