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Career and Education Opportunities for Auto Body Mechanics in Simi Valley, California

If you want to be an auto body mechanic, the Simi Valley, California area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 15,300 people are currently employed as auto body mechanics in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 7% to 16,300 people employed. This is better than the national trend for auto body mechanics, which sees this job pool growing by about 0.5% over the next eight years. Auto body mechanics generally repair and refinish automotive vehicle bodies and straighten vehicle frames.

A person working as an auto body mechanic can expect to earn about $18 hourly or $39,230 yearly on average in California and about $17 per hour or $37,040 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Auto body mechanics earn more than people working in the category of Automotive generally in California and more than people in the Automotive category nationally.

The Simi Valley area is home to 175 schools of higher education, including five within twenty-five miles of Simi Valley where you can get a degree as an auto body mechanic. Auto body mechanics usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become an auto body mechanic if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Auto Body Mechanic

Auto Body Mechanic video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, auto body mechanics repair and refinish automotive vehicle bodies and straighten vehicle frames.

Auto body mechanics file, grind, sand and smooth filled or repaired surfaces, using power tools and hand tools. They also sand body areas to be painted and cover bumpers, windows, and trim with masking tape or paper to safeguard them from the paint. Equally important, auto body mechanics have to remove damaged sections of vehicles using metal-cutting guns, air grinders and wrenches, and install replacement parts using wrenches or welding equipment. They are often called upon to position dolly blocks against surfaces of dented areas and beat opposite surfaces to remove dents, using hammers. They are expected to mix polyester resins and hardeners to be used in restoring damaged areas. Finally, auto body mechanics fit and secure windows, vinyl roofs, and metal trim to vehicle bodies, using caulking guns and mallets.

Every day, auto body mechanics are expected to be able to distinguish between colors. They need to visualize how things come together and can be organized. It is also important that they twist and stretch their arms and legs to get work done.

It is important for auto body mechanics to cut and tape plastic separating film to outside repair areas to avoid damaging surrounding surfaces during repair procedure, and remove tape and wash surfaces after fixes are complete. They are often called upon to fill small dents that cannot be worked out with plastic or solder. They also remove upholstery, accessories, electrical window-and-seat-operating equipment, and trim to get access to vehicle bodies and fenders. They are sometimes expected to fit and weld replacement parts into place, using wrenches and welding equipment, and grind down welds to smooth them, using power grinders and other tools. Somewhat less frequently, auto body mechanics are also expected to inspect damage reports, ready or review repair cost estimates, and plan work to be performed.

They also have to be able to remove small pits and dimples in body metal using pick hammers and punches and cut openings in vehicle bodies for the installation of customized windows, using templates and power shears or chisels. And finally, they sometimes have to soak fiberglass matting in resin mixtures, and apply layers of matting over repair areas to specified thicknesses.

Like many other jobs, auto body mechanics must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Simi Valley include:

  • Auto Glass Installer. Replace or repair broken windshields and window glass in motor vehicles.
  • Auto Mechanic. Repair automobiles, trucks, and other vehicles. Master mechanics repair virtually any part on the vehicle or specialize in the transmission system.
  • Farm Equipment Mechanic. Diagnose, adjust, or overhaul farm machinery and vehicles, such as tractors, harvesters, and irrigation systems.
  • Medical Equipment Repairer. Test, adjust, or repair biomedical or electromedical equipment.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Auto Body Mechanic Training

Citrus College - Glendora, CA

Citrus College, 1000 W Foothill Blvd, Glendora, CA 91741-1899. Citrus College is a large college located in Glendora, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 13,501 students. Citrus College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician.

El Camino Community College District - Torrance, CA

El Camino Community College District, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90506. El Camino Community College District is a large college located in Torrance, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,825 students. El Camino Community College District has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician.

Oxnard College - Oxnard, CA

Oxnard College, 4000 S Rose Ave, Oxnard, CA 93033-6699. Oxnard College is a medium sized college located in Oxnard, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,639 students. Oxnard College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated nine, two, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Antelope Valley College - Lancaster, CA

Antelope Valley College, 3041 West Ave K, Lancaster, CA 93536-5426. Antelope Valley College is a large college located in Lancaster, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,800 students. Antelope Valley College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated eleven, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Los Angeles Trade Technical College - Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles Trade Technical College, 400 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015-4181. Los Angeles Trade Technical College is a large college located in Los Angeles, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,565 students. Los Angeles Trade Technical College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated seven and four students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Master Collision Repair & Refinishing Technician: The ASE Collision Repair Test Series includes one test for paint refinishers and three other tests for repair technicians, covering non-structural damage repair, structural damage repair, and vehicle mechanical and electrical system repair.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Collision Repair and Refinish: Damage Analysis and Estimating : The ASE Damage Analysis and Estimating (B6) Test complements the other tests in the Collision Repair Test series that identify and recognize collision repair technicians and refinishers.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Undercar Specialist: Exhaust Systems: Successfully passing test X1 will certify you as an undercar specialist in exhaust systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Collision Repair and Refinish: Painting and Refinishing Technician: Successfully passing test B2 will certify you in collision repair and refinish: painting and refinishing.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Collision Repair and Refinish: Non-Structural Analysis and Damage Repair: Successfully passing test B3 will certify you in collision repair and refinish: non-structural analysis and damage repair.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

Collision Repair and Refinish: Structural Analysis and Damage Repair: Successfully passing test B4 will certify you in collision repair and refinish: structural analysis and damage repair.

For more information, see the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Simi Valley, California

Simi Valley, California
Simi Valley, California photo by Happyme22

Simi Valley is situated in Ventura County, California. It has a population of over 120,543, which has grown by 8.3% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Simi Valley, 131, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Simi Valley are valued at $451,000 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, nineteen new homes were built in Simi Valley, down from one hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Simi Valley are finance and insurance, educational services, and health care. For men, it is construction, finance and insurance, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 29 minutes. More than 24.9% of Simi Valley residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Simi Valley is 9.2%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Simi Valley residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Alliance Church, Grace Brethren Church of Simi Valley and Valley Bible Community Church are some of the churches located in Simi Valley. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Simi Valley is home to the Simi Valley Historical Society Archives and the Simi Civic Center as well as Stargaze Park and Atherwood Park. Shopping centers in the area include Mountain Gate Plaza Shopping Center, Royal Plaza Shopping Center and Regency Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Simi Valley can choose from 4 Hotel Now Com and 5 Star Linens for temporary stays in the area.