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Career and Education Opportunities for Auto Body Mechanics in Stockton, California

There are many career and education opportunities for auto body mechanics in the Stockton, California area. Currently, 15,300 people work as auto body mechanics in California. This is expected to grow 7% to 16,300 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for auto body mechanics are expected to grow by about 0.5%. Auto body mechanics generally repair and refinish automotive vehicle bodies and straighten vehicle frames.

The income of an auto body mechanic is about $18 hourly or $39,230 per year on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $17 per hour or $37,040 per year on average. Earnings for auto body mechanics are better than earnings in the general category of Automotive in California and better than general Automotive category earnings nationally.

There are twenty-two schools of higher education in the Stockton area, including two within twenty-five miles of Stockton where you can get a degree to start your career as an auto body mechanic. The most common level of education for auto body mechanics is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time studying to be 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 Stockton 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Auto Body Mechanic Training

Modesto Junior College - Modesto, CA

Modesto Junior College, 435 College Ave, Modesto, CA 95350-5800. Modesto Junior College is a large college located in Modesto, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,000 students. Modesto Junior College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated three, one, and zero students respectively in 2008.

San Joaquin Delta College - Stockton, CA

San Joaquin Delta College, 5151 Pacific Ave, Stockton, CA 95207. San Joaquin Delta College is a large college located in Stockton, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,480 students. San Joaquin Delta College has a one to two year and a two to four year program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated two and zero 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: Stockton, California

Stockton, California
Stockton, California photo by Ron Reiring

Stockton is situated in San Joaquin County, California. It has a population of over 287,037, which has grown by 17.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Stockton, 91, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Stockton cost $262,500 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, one hundred sixty-four new homes were built in Stockton, down from six hundred seventeen the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Stockton are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 27 minutes. More than 15.4% of Stockton residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.9%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Stockton is 19.4%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Stockton residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 38.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Peniel Ministries for Stockton Neighborhood Center, Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church and Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses are among the churches located in Stockton. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Stockton is home to the Calaveras Landing and the Stockton Country Club as well as Atherton Park and Williams Brotherhood Park. Shopping malls in the area include Saint Marks Plaza Shopping Center, Hammer Ranch Shopping Center and Weberstown Shopping Center. Visitors to Stockton can choose from Best Western Inn, Best Value Inn and Acorn Inn for temporary stays in the area.