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


Automotive body and glass 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
  • Install, repair, and weatherproof windows and windshields
  • Grind, sand, buff, and prime refurbished and repaired surfaces
  • Apply new finish to restored body parts

Automotive body and glass repairers can repair most damage from vehicle collisions and make vehicles look and drive like new. Damage 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 bent out of shape. Repairers restore the structural integrity of car frames back to manufacturer specifications.

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

In some cases, repair technicians do 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 repair technician specializing.

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

The following are occupational specialties: 

Automotive body and related repairers, or collision repair technicians, straighten metal panels, remove dents, and replace parts that cannot be fixed. Although they repair all types of vehicles, most work primarily on cars, sport utility vehicles, and small trucks. 

Automotive glass installers and repairers remove, repair, and replace broken, cracked, or pitted windshields and window glass. They also weatherproof newly installed windows and windshields with chemical treatments.

Is This the Right Career for You?

Not sure how to choose the best career for you? Now, you can predict which career will satisfy you in the long term by taking a scientifically validated career test. Gain the clarity and confidence that comes from understanding your strengths, talents, and preferences, and knowing which path is truly right for you.

Take The Test






Work Environment

Automotive body and glass repairers held about 172,200 jobs in 2012. About 65 percent worked in automotive repair and maintenance shops, 16 percent worked for automobile dealers, and another 12 percent were self-employed.

Collision repair technicians typically work indoors in body shops, which are often noisy. Most shops are well ventilated to disperse dust and paint fumes. Repair technicians 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.

Injuries and Illnesses

Automotive body and related repairers have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average. Technicians commonly suffer minor injuries, such as cuts, burns, and scrapes. Following safety procedures, helps to avoid serious accidents.

Work Schedules

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

Education and Training

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


High school, trade and technical school, and community college programs in collision repair combine hands-on practice and classroom instruction. Topics usually include electronics, physics, and mathematics, which provide a strong educational foundation for a career as a repair technician. 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.

To keep up with rapidly changing automotive technology, repair technicians need to continue their education and training throughout their careers. Repair technicians 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.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

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

Certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is a standard credential for repair technicians. Many repair technicians get further certification through the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair.

In addition, many vehicle and paint manufacturers have product certification programs that train repair technicians in specific technologies and repair methods.


New workers typically begin their on-the-job training by helping an experienced repair technician with basic tasks. As they gain experience, they move on to more complex work. Some workers may become trained in as little as a 1 year, but generally, workers may need 2 years of hands-on training to become fully certified repair technicians. 

Basic automotive glass installation and repair can be learned in as little as 6 months, but becoming fully qualified can take up to 1 year.

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.

Personality and Interests

Automotive body and glass repairers typically have an interest in the Building, Persuading and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Building or Persuading or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as an automotive body and glass repairer, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Automotive body and glass repairers should also possess the following specific qualities:

Critical-thinking skills. Repair technicians must be able to evaluate vehicle damage and determine necessary repair strategies for each vehicle they work on. In some cases, they must decide if a vehicle is “totaled,” or too damaged to justify the cost of repair.

Customer-service skills. Repair technicians must discuss auto body and glass problems, along with options to fix them, with customers. Because self-employed workers depend on repeat clients for business, they must be courteous, good listeners, and ready to answer customers’ questions.

Detail oriented. Repair technicians must pay close attention to detail. Restoring a damaged auto body to its original state requires workers to have a keen eye for even the smallest imperfection. 

Dexterity. Many repair technicians’ 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. Repair technicians must know which diagnostic, hydraulic, pneumatic, and other power equipment and tools are appropriate for certain procedures and repairs. They must be skilled with techniques and methods necessary to repair modern automobiles.

Time-management skills. Repair technicians must be timely in their repairs. For many people, their automobile is their primary mode of transportation.              


The median annual wage for automotive body and related repairers was $38,380 in May 2012. 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 $22,530, and the top 10 percent earned more than $65,390.

The median annual wage for automotive glass installers and repairers was $32,650 in May 2012. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,590, and the top 10 percent earned more than $47,730.

The majority of repair shops and auto dealers pay repair technicians 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 skilled workers’ pay. They are paid by the hour until they are competent enough to be paid on an incentive basis.

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

Job Outlook

Employment of automotive body and glass repairers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

The growing number of vehicles in use should increase overall demand for collision repair services during the next decade. In some cases, demand may fluctuate throughout the year due to the seasonality of inclement weather in some regions. For example, the need for repair may be greater during the winter months in areas with snow and ice, because this may increase the chance of accidents. However, overall job growth will be limited because new repair technology allows fewer workers to do more work.

The increasing safety features in cars are likely to reduce demand for automotive body and glass repair work. For example, sensor technology, such as back up and parking assist, may decrease collisions. This, in turn, may lessen the need for replacing car bumpers that might otherwise have been damaged in a collision.

In addition, advances in automotive technology have raised the prices of new and replacement parts. This increases the likelihood that a damaged car is declared ""totaled""—where repairing the car costs more than its overall value. This scenario will also likely reduce demand for repair work.

Job Prospects

Job opportunities are projected to be very good for jobseekers 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 repair technicians who retire, change occupations, or stop working for other reasons also will provide some job opportunities.


Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

I would like to cite this page for a report. Who is the author?

There is no published author for this page. Please use citation guidelines for webpages without an author available. 

I think I have found an error or inaccurate information on this page. Who should I contact?

This information is taken directly from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Truity does not editorialize the information, including changing information that our readers believe is inaccurate, because we consider the BLS to be the authority on occupational information. However, if you would like to correct a typo or other technical error, you can reach us at

I am not sure if this career is right for me. How can I decide?

There are many excellent tools available that will allow you to measure your interests, profile your personality, and match these traits with appropriate careers. We recommend the Career Personality Profiler assessment ($29), the Holland Code assessment ($19), or the Photo Career Quiz (free).

Find Jobs Near You