“Auto Body and Collision Technician” is this trade’s official Red Seal occupational title approved by the CCDA. Prior to October 2018, the trade name was Motor Vehicle Body Repairer (Metal and Paint). This standard covers tasks performed by auto body and collision technicians whose occupational title may vary across provinces and territories of Canada. For official provincial or territorial names, please refer to the Ellis Chart.
Auto body and collision technicians repair and restore damaged motor vehicles. They assess body damage and develop repair estimates and repair plans. Their repair work may range from correcting minor structural damage and cosmetic scratches and dents to fixing extensive structural damage to motor vehicles. Some parts may need to be removed for access or during repairs. Vehicle parts that are damaged beyond repair are replaced. The alignment and replacement of suspension and steering components is also performed in this trade. Restoring interior components of vehicles falls within the scope of the trade. Auto body and collision technicians may work with mechanical and electronic components such as air conditioning (A/C) systems, exhaust systems, drivetrain, engine cooling systems, advanced electronic components (adaptive cruise control and lane departure features), and passenger restraint systems (seat belts and air bags).
In this sector, most auto body and collision technicians work in private enterprises or are self-employed. They may be employed by body repair facilities, auto and truck dealerships, custom repair facilities, and trucking and bus companies. In larger repair facilities or dealerships, there may be a division of responsibilities among the team of repair professionals. Some may work exclusively on collision specialization such as damage repair, frame straightening, refinishing, suspension, detailing, or auto glass installation. Generally in smaller repair facilities, auto body and collision technicians tend to be responsible for a wider range of these duties. While they may work as part of the repair team, which includes other auto body and collision technicians, automotive refinishing technicians, automotive service technicians, and others in the automotive sector, journeypersons tend to work independently.
Auto body and collision technicians require proficiency with a variety of tools and equipment, some of which are technologically advanced. Diagnostic scanning equipment is used for diagnosis and programming electronic and electrical systems. Hand and power tools are used in the repair and replacement of motor vehicle parts. Welding and cutting equipment is also used. Auto body and collision technicians work with a number of materials such as metal, glass, plastic and composites. Surface repairs may require the application of repair materials. In addition, they may prepare surfaces for refinishing and apply a variety of appropriate refinishing products. They have refinishing application and detailing skills.
Working environments vary in this trade. Typically, auto body and collision technicians work indoors in an environment that may be noisy and dusty. However, many repair facilities are well ventilated to reduce health risks from dust and fumes. Health and safety are important issues as these workers are frequently in contact with chemicals (e.g. paints, solvents and fillers) and physical hazards (e.g. lifting heavy objects, frame equipment and sharp metal). Ongoing safety training and safe work practices are important.
Key attributes for people entering this trade are good communication skills, mechanical aptitude, problem solving skills, an eye for detail, computer literacy and a commitment to ongoing training. The work often requires considerable standing, kneeling, lifting, climbing, pulling and reaching.
With experience, auto body and collision technicians may move into supervisory positions, start their own business, or become auto damage appraisers. Some of the skills of this trade may be transferred to other occupations such as sheet metal worker, industrial painter, welder, automotive refinishing technician, truck and transport mechanic, recreation vehicle service technician, glazier or automotive service technician and to other sectors such as manufacturing, aviation and marine.
For more information, see Red Seal Trades – Auto Body and Collision Technician