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How Do I Become an Auto Body Mechanic?

An auto body mechanic focuses on a vehicle's body.
Auto body mechanics may specialize in painting.
Article Details
  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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There are four steps required to become an auto body mechanic: post-secondary training, related work experience, obtaining the certification, and complete the job interview process. An auto body mechanic is a skilled trades person who repairs, paints, and upgrades the body of a car or truck. Upon graduation, an auto body mechanic can find employment opportunities in auto body repair shops, collision repair centers, and car dealerships.

People who are mechanically inclined, detail-oriented, and enjoy seeing the result of their work can find being an auto body mechanic rewarding. This job requires a great deal of physical effort and often has prolonged exposure to paint fumes and other chemicals. There are many opportunities for creative expression as an auto body mechanic, and this has a great appeal for many people with a good eye for aesthetics.

The first step to become an auto body mechanic is to complete a post-secondary education program. This program is available from a wide range of community and career colleges. Typically one to two years in length, most programs offer a combination of course work and job placement opportunities.

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Related work experience to become an auto body mechanic includes any home renovation project, building structures or devices, working with tools, and painting. All these jobs build experience working with your hands, physical labor, and being accountable for your time. The most important skills to develop are fine muscle control and physical strength. Both these skills take time and effort to develop, but are absolutely essential in this role.

In order to work as an auto body mechanic, most states have a certification process. Candidates are required to have a combination of education and experience to qualify for the certification examination. The exam itself is a combination of multiple choice and problem solving questions, designed to measure process and safety knowledge. Upon successful completion, the candidate is a licensed auto body mechanic.

When applying for a job as an auto body mechanic, be sure to proofread your resume and cover letter, double-checking for any grammar or spelling mistakes. During the job interview process, most auto body shops have one interview, and may ask for references. Prepare a list of at least three professional references in advance.

Potential references include satisfied customers, course instructors, or previous employers. Even if the previous job was not related to auto bodywork, the reference can speak about your work ethic, attendance, attitude, and attention to detail. All these items are important if you want to become an auto body mechanic.

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