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Career and Education Opportunities for Auto Body Mechanics in Miami, Florida

If you want to be an auto body mechanic, the Miami, Florida area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 10,070 people work as auto body mechanics in Florida. This is expected to grow by 10% to 11,110 people by 2016. 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 $16 per hour or $34,620 per year on average in Florida and about $17 hourly or $37,040 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for auto body mechanics are better than in the overall category of Automotive in Florida, and better than the overall Automotive category nationally.

There are ninety-eight schools of higher education in the Miami area, including four within twenty-five miles of Miami where you can get a degree to start your career 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 Miami 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.
  • Machine Repairman. Lubricate machinery, change parts, or perform other routine machinery maintenance.
  • Medical Equipment Repairer. Test, adjust, or repair biomedical or electromedical equipment.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Auto Body Mechanic Training

Robert Morgan Educational Center - Miami, FL

Robert Morgan Educational Center, 18180 SW 122nd Ave, Miami, FL 33177. Robert Morgan Educational Center is a small school located in Miami, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,254 students. Robert Morgan Educational Center has a one to two year program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated eight students in 2008.

Sheridan Technical Center - Hollywood, FL

Sheridan Technical Center, 5400 Sheridan St, Hollywood, FL 33021. Sheridan Technical Center is a small school located in Hollywood, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,526 students. Sheridan Technical Center has a one to two year program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated ten students in 2008.

Atlantic Technical Center - Coconut Creek, FL

Atlantic Technical Center, 4700 Coconut Creek Pky, Coconut Creek, FL 33063-3902. Atlantic Technical Center is a small school located in Coconut Creek, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,091 students. Atlantic Technical Center has a one to two year program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Miami Lakes Educational Center - Miami Lakes, FL

Miami Lakes Educational Center, 5780 NW 158th St, Miami Lakes, FL 33014. Miami Lakes Educational Center is a small school located in Miami Lakes, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,376 students. Miami Lakes Educational Center has a one to two year program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician.

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: Miami, Florida

Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida photo by Averette

Miami is located in Miami-Dade County, Florida. It has a population of over 413,201, which has grown by 14.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Miami, 140, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Miami cost $273,500 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, thirty-seven new homes were built in Miami, down from seventy-three the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Miami are health care, accommodation and food services, and educational services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 28 minutes. More than 16.2% of Miami residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Miami is 12.5%, which is greater than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Miami residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Church of Resurrection, Church of the Ascension and Church of the Incarnation are all churches located in Miami. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

Miami is home to the Edison West Little River Neighborhood Center and the Miamarina South Pier Light as well as Belle Meade Park and 54th Street Mini Park. Shopping malls in the area include Central Shopping Center, Northside Mall and Northside Shopping Center. Visitors to Miami can choose from AmeriSuites Miami / Kendall, Four Seasons Hotel Miami and Airways Airport Inn & Suites for temporary stays in the area.