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Career and Education Opportunities for Auto Body Mechanics in New Orleans, Louisiana

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for auto body mechanics in the New Orleans, Louisiana area. There are currently 2,160 working auto body mechanics in Louisiana; this should grow by 28% to 2,770 working auto body mechanics in the state 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%. In general, auto body mechanics repair and refinish automotive vehicle bodies and straighten vehicle frames.

Income for auto body mechanics is about $17 per hour or $35,390 per year on average in Louisiana. Nationally, their income is about $17 hourly or $37,040 per year. Auto body mechanics earn more than people working in the category of Automotive generally in Louisiana and more than people in the Automotive category nationally.

There are thirty-two schools of higher education in the New Orleans area, including one within twenty-five miles of New Orleans 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 New Orleans 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.
  • Mechanical Door Repairer. Install, service, or repair opening and closing mechanisms of automatic doors and hydraulic door closers. Includes garage door mechanics.
  • Medical Equipment Repairer. Test, adjust, or repair biomedical or electromedical equipment.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Auto Body Mechanic Training

Louisiana Technical College-West Jefferson Campus - Harvey, LA

Louisiana Technical College-West Jefferson Campus, 475 Manhattan Blvd, Harvey, LA 70058. Louisiana Technical College-West Jefferson Campus is a small college located in Harvey, Louisiana. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 276 students. Louisiana Technical College-West Jefferson Campus 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: New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana photo by Krakers

New Orleans is located in Orleans Parish County, Louisiana. It has a population of over 311,853, which has shrunk by 35.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in New Orleans, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in New Orleans cost $139,700 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, eight hundred eighty-two new homes were built in New Orleans, down from 1,026 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in New Orleans are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 26 minutes. More than 25.8% of New Orleans residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in New Orleans is 9.8%, which is greater than Louisiana's average of 7.1%.

The percentage of New Orleans residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.1%, is less than both the national and state average. All Saints Catholic Church, Iglesia Bautista Getsemani and Mars Hill Missionary Baptist Church are among the churches located in New Orleans. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

New Orleans is home to the Keller Market and the New Orleans Country Club as well as Harris Playground and Hardin Playground. Shopping malls in the area include Carrollton Shopping Center, Read Boulevard Shopping Center and Read Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to New Orleans can choose from Rampart Street Connection, Lafitte Guest House and HAMPTON INN & SUITES CONV CTR for temporary stays in the area.