Automotive body and glass repairers restore, refinish, and replace vehicle bodies and frames, windshields, and window glass.
What they do
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.
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.
How to become an Automotive Body and 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 body and glass repairers begin work without previous training. Industry certification is increasingly important.
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.
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
The median annual wage for automotive body and related repairers was $43,580 in May 2019. 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 $26,710, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $73,470.
The median annual wage for automotive glass installers and repairers was $35,790 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,660, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $52,710.
Overall employment of automotive body and glass repairers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2019 to 2029, slower than the average for all occupations.
Similar Job Titles
Automotive Glass Installer (Auto Glass Installer), Automotive Glass Technician (Auto Glass Technician), Automotive Glazier (Auto Glazier), Glass Installer, Glass Installer Technician, Glass Technician, Glass Technician/Installer, Master Automotive Glass Technician (Master Auto Glass Technician), Windshield Installer, Windshield Repair Technician, Auto Body Man, Auto Body Repair Technician (Auto Body Repair Tech), Auto Body Repairman, Automotive Body Technician (Auto Body Tech), Body Man, Body Technician (Body Tech), Collision Repair Technician (Collision Repair Tech), Collision Technician (Collision Tech), Frame Man, Refinish Technician (Refinish Tech)
Engine and Other Machine Assemblers; Heat Treating Equipment Setters, Operators and Tenders, Metal and Plastic; Sawing Machine Setters, Operators and Tenders, Wood; Painters, Transportation Equipment; Molding and Casting Workers; Boilermaker; Service Unit Operators, Oil, Gas and Mining; Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers; Locksmiths and Safe Repairers; Laborers and Freight, Stock and Material Movers
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
- Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
- Auto Glass Safety Council
- Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association
- Automotive Service Association
- National Automobile Dealers Association
- National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation
- National Glass Association
- National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence
- Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair
- International Association of General Motors Automotive Service Educational Program
- International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Magazines and Publications
- AGRR Magazine
- Autobody News
- Collision Repair Magazine
- Body Shop Business Magazine
- Auto Glass Magazine
When you need the help of an Automotive Glass Installer and Repairer, it’s usually urgent! Whether due to theft or an accident, a broken car window makes your transportation and “home away from home” vulnerable to rain, snow, cold and criminal intent. The ability to fix this problem quickly and efficiently is a specialized skill in the field of auto repair. Glass installers carefully remove broken, cracked or pitted windshields and window glass. Then they prepare the edges of the replacement glass using a moisture-proofing compound. To finish, they place the glass into the vehicle, and install rubber strips around the sides of the windshield or window to make it secure and weatherproof. For less-damaged windshields, they may just patch small chips or cracks. Training for this field may be available on the job at a small auto body repair shop, or you can enroll in a collision repair program at a trade or technical school or community college. Industry certification may be required by some employers and will likely bring higher pay. To advance in this field or run your own shop, you’ll need good reading, basic math, and computer skills. You will also need patience and precision to get the job done right, and send your customer safely on their way.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org