Car lovers of all stripes can turn their love for automobiles into a thriving career. Whether you want to repair engines, do routine maintenance, or fix damaged vehicles, there are plenty of money making opportunities for those with the right skills. Although some positions offer on-the-job training, many employers seek applicants with some type of postsecondary technical skills training.
Florida auto body repair technician programs prepare students for rewarding careers in the collision repair and refinishing industry. These programs are generally offered at vocational and technical colleges, and completion typically results in the award of a diploma or certificate. At some schools, credits may be applied toward earning an Associate's degree. Certificate programs generally take less than two years to complete, while Associate's degrees usually require two years of full-time study.
Auto Body Repair Technician Schools in Florida
Auto body repair technicians in Florida are not required to be licensed but may wish to pursue a postsecondary education to advance their career to the next level. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that many employers prefer hiring technicians with postsecondary training, which also may be needed for promotions beyond entry-level positions.
- Lake Technical College: Formerly known as Lake County Area Vocational Technical Center, Lake Technical College serves students throughout Central Florida. Located in Tavares, this public institution offers real world career training through vocational and technical programs as well as high school diploma equivalency courses. In addition to the auto body repair program, Lake Tech teaches programs in business, health science, hospitality, manufacturing, information technology, and more. Online classes are also available for some academic areas. The auto body repair program can be completed in just 47 weeks.
- Fort Meyers Technical College: Boasting a beautifully manicured 30-acre campus, Fort Meyers Technical College provides career training in over 30 different occupational disciplines. The school was founded in 1966 and is governed by the rules of The School District of Lee County. There are 2 campuses, the Main Campus and the Southwest Florida Public Service Academy, both located in Fort Meyers. The Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing program lasts 13 months and prepares students to earn their ASE certification through the Refinishing B-2 Test. The school also offers related programs in automotive and marine service technologies.
- South Florida State College: Founded in 1965, South Florida State College (SFSC) held its first classes in an old hotel and used a former grocery store as its library. The school now boasts 4 campuses and a staff of over 400 people, with the main campus located in Avon Park. SFSC offers a variety of academic programs leading to Bachelor's degrees, Associate's degrees, occupational certificates, and diplomas. The Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing program may be completed in four terms, resulting in an occupational certificate. Related programs include auto service technology and commercial vehicle driving.
- Hillsborough Community College: Hillsborough Community College (HCC) serves the Tampa Bay area with 5 primary locations, 3 satellite campuses, and a continuing education center. The school offers academic majors in more than 30 disciplines. In addition to degree programs, HCC also offers career training, certificate programs, and short-term training opportunities. The Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing program prepares students to sit for their ASE certification exams, although graduation is not dependent upon passing them. Students may apply the credits they earn toward an Associate's degree in industrial management.
Florida Auto Body Repair Technician Programs
In Florida, auto body repair technician programs can be found at a number of schools located throughout the state. In addition to the cost and length of these programs, students should consider whether a program's curriculum and training facilities meet their individual needs. Students are advised to visit several locations prior to making a final decision on attendance.
Since auto body repair technicians in Florida are not required to be licensed, curriculum varies slightly between schools. However, many schools prepare students to sit for ASE certification exams. Thus, many of the same issues are covered in the lab and classroom in order to prepare for these exams. Typical courses at Florida auto body repair technician programs include:
- Automotive Refinishing
- Paint and Body Helper
- Paint and Body Assistant
- Auto Collision Estimator
- Automobile Body Repairer
- Auto Collision Estimator
- Frame and Body Repairman
As with most service based careers, technical skill only provides one part of the recipe for success. Auto body repair technicians in Florida must also be able to communicate effectively with customers and colleagues. Some artistic ability, critical thinking skills, and a keen eye for detail are also imperative.
Additional Requirements for Auto Body Technicians in Florida
Auto body repair technicians are not required to be individually licensed, although obtaining industry recognized certifications may improve career and earnings prospects. The State of Florida does require all automotive repair shops and self-employed auto body repair technicians to register their business on a two-year basis.
- Automotive Body and Glass Repairers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2015-16 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/automotive-body-and-glass-repairers
- Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing, Ft. Meyers Technical College, https://www.fortmyerstech.edu/content.php?program=90
- Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing, Hillsborough Community College, https://www.hccfl.edu/auto-collision.aspx
- Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing, Lake Technical College, http://www.laketech.org/programs/automotive-collision-repair-and-refinishing
- Collision Repair and Refinishing - OC, South Florida State College, http://www.southflorida.edu/current-students/degrees-programs/academics/automotive-programs/collision-repair-refinishing-3210
- Motor Vehicle Repair, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Consumer-Services/Consumer-Resources/Consumer-Protection/Motor-Vehicle-Repair