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Auto Body Technician - Auto Body Repairer

Duties

Auto body technicians in the auto body repairer branch of the trade do damage appraisals, frame and unibody structural repairs, body sheet-metal work, plastic repairs, component replacement and alignment.

In the past repairer specialists used heavy frame machines and simple gauges to repair heavy collision damage.  Today auto body repairers rely on precise factory specification charts and use sophisticated measuring and repair systems to restore damaged vehicles.  Virtually all passenger vehicles manufactured today employ unibody or monoconoque construction where each body panel contributes to the integral strength of the vehicle, maximizing passenger protection.  Supplemental restraint systems such as air bags and seat belts form a significant portion of the auto body repairer's workload.

Auto body repairers are responsible for restoring the structural integrity of damaged vehicles during the repair process.  This generally involves cutting away damaged components and welding in new or recycled replacement components.  Precise work is critical to restore the vehicle to its pre-damaged condition and to ensure that suspension and steering components are accurately aligned.

Auto body repairers also remove and install bolt-on components such as hoods, deck lids, fenders, trim, doors, glass and interior components.

After the repairs are completed the auto body repairer will verify dimensional accuracy, system functions, passenger protection and finally, test drive the vehicle to ensure proper alignment and handling.

For more information regarding tasks and activities, please review the Trade Regulation.

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Working Conditions

Auto body repairers usually work a 40-hour, five-day week with occasional overtime required. They work indoors in a noisy, sometimes dusty, environment. Although most shops are well ventilated, the work involves exposure to dust and fumes.

There is always some risk of injury involved in working with sharp metals and power tools.

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Skills and Abilities

The work is most rewarding for creative decision-makers who perform expert and very precise work.

To be successful in the trade, auto body repairers mst have:

  • strength, stamina and the use of proper lifting techniques required to handle heavy tools and parts weighing up to 25 kilograms;
  • manual dexterity;
  • creativity, patience and an eye for detail;
  • current knowledge of the annual changes manufacturers make in plastics, electronics, metals, supplemental restraints and paints;
  • good customer service skills; and
  • commitment to safe work habits.

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Employment and Advancement

Auto body repairers are employed by auto body repair shops, automobile and truck dealerships, custom shops and sometimes by companies with vehicle fleets. 

Journeyperson wage rates vary, but generally range from $19 to $35 an hour plus benefits, depending on the region. 

Experienced auto body repairers may advance to supervisory positions, start their own businesses or become automobile damage appraisers for insurance companies.

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Working in Alberta

To work as an auto body repairer in Alberta, a person must be a registered apprentice, an Alberta-certified journeyperson, or hold a valid recognized credential.

Individuals possessing a valid recognized credential in Alberta are eligible to receive a Blue Seal business credential after completing the necessary requirements.

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Apprenticeship Training

The term of apprenticeship for an auto body repairer is 3 years (three 12-month periods), including a minimum of 1600 hours of on-the-job training and 4 weeks of technical training in the first year, 1500 hours of on-the-job training and 7 weeks of technical training in each of the second and third years.

  • An applicant who previously completed courses of study or work experience related to the auto body repairer branch of the trade or holds a related journeyperson certificate and has the employer's recommendation, may qualify for credit that could reduce the term of apprenticeship. Inquiries about credit for previously completed courses of study or work experience can be directed to an apprenticeship representative toll-free at 1-800-248-4823.
  • A person who has previous training or work experience in the trade and wants to determine their level of skill and knowledge for entry or advanced standing in an apprenticeship program may complete the online Prior Learning Assessment Application.  For more information, see the online Prior Learning Assessment Guide.
  • A high school student can become an apprentice and gain credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time under the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

To learn the skills required of a auto body technician - auto body repairer in Alberta and be issued an Alberta Journeyman Certificate, a person must:

Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates and may select apprentices from among their current employees.

For holders of an existing trade certificate, it can serve as your entrance requirement equivalency when registering in an additional trade

  • complete the online Apprenticeship Application and Contract
  • pay the non-refundable application fee as part of the application process 
  • complete the required on-the-job training
    - during on-the-job training, apprentice auto body repairers earn at least 55 percent of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 70 percent in the second year, and 80 percent in the third year.
  • complete all of the program requirements as identified in the course outline
  • enroll in technical training
    - select an educational institution that offers training for auto body technician - auto body repairer apprentices, and a time to attend training
    - determine requirements for enrolling at the selected institution, and forward completed enrolment form to the selected institution
  • review books and materials required for training
  • successfully complete all required exams

An apprentice who successfully completes a program as an auto body repairer will be issued two Alberta Journeyman Certificates in the auto body technician trade: one as an auto body technician–auto body prepper and one as an auto body repairer.

When apprentices attend technical training, they are required to pay the applicable tuition fee and purchase course supplies.

Student loans, grants, scholarships and other financial assistance may be available. For more information see Financial Assistance, visit an Apprenticeship and Industry Training office or call toll-free to 1-800-248-4823.

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Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program

The auto body repairer branch of the auto body technician trade does not participate in the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program.

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Qualification Certificate Program

For a Qualification Certificate based on a recognized credential or work experience in order to prepare for the exam(s) please refer to the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available resource materials.

Time spent on supervisory or foreman duties, counter work, heading the tool crib, or on training course is NOT counted as 'hands-on' work experience.

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Equivalency Program

A person who holds a valid recognized credential does not require an Alberta equivalency document to work in the trade in Alberta.

However, some employers may require Alberta documentation as proof that the holder is allowed to work in the trade or that the holder's credential is recognized.

More information regarding the Equivalency Program can be found here.

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