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
2019 Median Pay $qf_median_annual_wage_html $qf_median_hourly_wage_html
Typical Entry-Level Education $qf_education_html
Work Experience in a Related Occupation $qf_experience_html
On-the-job Training $qf_training_html
Number of Jobs, 2018 $qf_number_jobs_html
Job Outlook, 2018-28 $qf_outlook_html
Employment Change, 2018-28 $qf_openings_html

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. Shops are typically well ventilated, so that dust and paint fumes can be dispersed. Repairers 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 training program in automotive body or glass repair. Still, many new automotive body and glass repairers begin work without previous training. Industry certification is becoming increasingly important.

Pay

Job Outlook

Overall employment of automotive body and glass repairers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job opportunities should be best for jobseekers with industry certification and 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

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 glass or windshields and assess repairability
  • 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 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

Automotive body and glass repairers
Automotive body repairers typically work indoors in body shops.

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 glass installers and repairers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. These workers may 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

automotive body and glass repairers image
Automotive glass repairers receive hands-on practice while attending programs in collision repair.

Most employers prefer to hire automotive body and glass repairers who have completed a training program in automotive body or glass repair. Still, many new body and glass repairers begin work without previous 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.

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.

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.

Workers who complete programs in collision repair often require significantly less on-the-job training. They 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 training to keep up with rapidly changing automotive technology and materials. 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).

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 are used to 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.

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 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 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 requires workers to have a keen eye for even the smallest imperfection.

Dexterity. Automotive 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. Automotive 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 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

Automotive Body and Glass Repairers

Median annual wages, May 2019

Vehicle and mobile equipment mechanics, installers, and repairers

$46,530

Automotive body and related repairers

$45,350

Total, all occupations

$41,950

Automotive glass installers and repairers

$37,710

 

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.

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

Automotive Body and Glass Repairers

Percent change in employment, projected 2018-28

Total, all occupations

4%

Automotive body and related repairers

3%

Automotive glass installers and repairers

0%

Vehicle and mobile equipment mechanics, installers, and repairers

0%

 

Overall employment of automotive body and glass repairers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

An increase in the number of vehicles on the road should bolster demand for automotive body and glass repair over the next decade. 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

Some job opportunities will arise from the need to replace automotive body and glass repairers who change occupations, retire, or stop working for other reasons.

The best opportunities in automotive body repair will be available for those with industry certification and training in automotive body repair and refinishing, and in collision repair.

Employment projections data for automotive body and glass repairers, 2018-28
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2018 Projected Employment, 2028 Change, 2018-28 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

$occ_name

$tools.number.format($emp_current) $tools.number.format($emp_projected) $emp_percent_change $tools.number.format($emp_net_change)

Automotive body and related repairers

49-3021 155,500 159,900 3 4,400 Get data

Automotive glass installers and repairers

49-3022 24,300 24,200 0 -100 Get data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) 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.

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.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop 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

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 2019 MEDIAN PAY
Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians

Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians repair and perform scheduled maintenance on aircraft.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Automotive service technicians and mechanics Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics

Automotive service technicians and mechanics inspect, maintain, and repair cars and light trucks.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators

Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators evaluate insurance claims.

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Diesel service technicians and mechanics Diesel Service Technicians and Mechanics

Diesel service technicians and mechanics inspect, repair, and overhaul buses, trucks, or any vehicle with a diesel engine.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Glaziers Glaziers

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

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
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, and other industries.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html
Painting and coating workers Painting and Coating Workers

Painting and coating workers paint and coat a wide range of products, often with the use of machines.

$qf_education_html $qf_median_annual_wage_html

Contacts for More Information

For more information about careers in automotive body and glass repair, visit

Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair

National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation

National Glass Association

National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence

Society of Collision Repair Specialists

CareerOneStop

For a career video on automotive glass installers and repairers, visit 

Automotive Glass Installers and Repairers

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Automotive Body and Glass Repairers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/automotive-body-and-glass-repairers.htm (visited July 27, 2021).

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 4, 2019