Automotive Collision Repair
The Automotive Collision Repair program of study prepares students for entry into careers as professional service technicians. Content emphasizes customer service skills, proper use of tools and equipment, safety, shop operations, engine fundamentals, damage analysis, cost estimation, painting and refinishing, and structural and non-structural repair in a hands-on environment. Upon completion of this program of study, students will be eligible to take the examination for Automotive Student Excellence (ASE) Student Certification in Collision Repair or I-CAR ProLevel 1.
ASE Student Certification may be obtained any time during the third or fourth level course. No work requirements are necessary to sit for the exam. Upon completion of this program of study, students will be prepared to enter the workforce or further their training at technical schools such as Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) or enter a university. Students who obtain the ASE student certification may be able to articulate hours at TCAT. Students may gain job experience while still in high school through local and CTSO competitions and work-based learning.
The TN Department of Labor and Workforce Development projects 95 average annual openings for automotive body and related repairers due to growth and replacement from 2014 to 2024 with a total of 3,690 employed in the group in 2024. This reflects an 8 percent change in the occupation group in Tennessee for the period 2014 to 2024. Nationally, the growth rate is slightly higher with a 9 percent change predicted. Students in Automotive Collision Repair may also pursue related careers as automotive specialty technicians where there are a high number of annual average openings that are anticipated or automotive glass installers and repairers where there is a low number of annual average openings that are anticipated.
In recent years, the business layout of the automotive collision repair industry has shifted to fewer small shops and more large shops.
A 2016 survey indicated that large shops (those with annual sales over $1 million) have increased to a share of 68.1% of all shops in 2016 whereas the share was 15.3% in 1995.
Related occupations requiring associates or bachelor’s degrees include mechanical engineers and mechanical engineering technicians. The TN Department of Labor and Workforce Development projects 195 annual average openings for mechanical engineers and 35 annual average openings for mechanical engineering technicians.
Anticipated openings for automotive body and related repairers are spread fairly evenly across the state with the greatest concentration in the Nashville area and the Southeast section of the state. The job outlook for the collision repair technology group statewide is very competitive. Although the growth rate is positive, there were 3 times as many training completers (or more) in a recent year as job openings expected annually.
Upon completion of this program of study, students will be prepared to enter the workforce or to further their training at postsecondary institutions. While a high school diploma is typically the minimum requirement for an automotive service technician, some employers may prefer mechanics with training from a postsecondary institution. Automotive Technology programs are available at technical and community colleges across Tennessee. Long term on-the-job training is essential for an individual to become fully qualified in the occupation. Students who are interested in pursuing related study in a four year university may seek bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering.