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Career and Education Opportunities for Auto Body Painters in St. Paul, Minnesota

There are many career and education opportunities for auto body painters in the St. Paul, Minnesota area. About 1,360 people are currently employed as auto body painters in Minnesota. By 2016, this is expected to shrink 4% to about 1,310 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for auto body painters are expected to grow by about 0.8%. In general, auto body painters operate or tend painting machines to paint surfaces of transportation equipment, such as automobiles, buses, and airplanes.

A person working as an auto body painter can expect to earn about $17 per hour or $36,990 annually on average in Minnesota and about $17 hourly or $37,150 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for auto body painters are better than earnings in the general category of Painting and Coating in Minnesota and better than general Painting and Coating category earnings nationally.

There are seventy-seven schools of higher education in the St. Paul area, including five within twenty-five miles of St. Paul where you can get a degree to start your career as an auto body painter. Auto body painters usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be an auto body painter if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Auto Body Painter

In general, auto body painters operate or tend painting machines to paint surfaces of transportation equipment, such as automobiles, buses, and airplanes.

Auto body painters spray prepared surfaces with specified amounts of primers and decorative or finish coatings. They also decide on the correct spray gun system for the material being applied. Equally important, auto body painters have to pour paint into spray guns, and adjust nozzles and paint mixes so as to get the proper paint flow and coating thickness. They are often called upon to remove grease and rust from vehicle surfaces in preparation for paint application. They are expected to disassemble and reassemble sprayers and power equipment, using solvents and cloths for cleaning duties. Finally, auto body painters paint by hand areas that cannot be reached with a spray gun, or those that need retouching, using brushes.

Every day, auto body painters are expected to be able to distinguish between colors. It is also important that they twist and stretch their arms and legs to get work done.

It is important for auto body painters to remove accessories from vehicles, such as chrome or mirrors, and mask other surfaces with tape or paper so as to protect them from paint. They are often called upon to decide on paint in line with company requirements, and match colors of paint following specified color charts. They also fill small dents and scratches with body fillers, and smooth surfaces in order to ready vehicles for painting. They are sometimes expected to mix paints to match color specifications or vehicles' original colors, then stir and thin the paints, using spatulas or power mixing equipment. Somewhat less frequently, auto body painters are also expected to decide on the correct spray gun system for the material being applied.

They also have to be able to apply rust-resistant undercoats, and caulk and seal seams and assemble portable equipment such as ventilators and scaffolding. And finally, they sometimes have to adjust controls on infrared ovens and exhaust units so as to speed the drying of vehicles between coats.

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

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in St. Paul include:

  • Decorative Painter. Paint, coat, or decorate articles, such as furniture, glass, or leather.
  • Photographic Processing Machine Operator. Operate photographic processing machines, such as photographic printing machines, film developing machines, and mounting presses.
  • Solderer. Braze or solder together components to assemble fabricated metal parts, using soldering iron, torch, or welding machine and flux.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Auto Body Painter Training

Dakota County Technical College - Rosemount, MN

Dakota County Technical College, 1300 145th Street East, Rosemount, MN 55068-2999. Dakota County Technical College is a small college located in Rosemount, Minnesota. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,919 students. Dakota County Technical College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated two, five, and six students respectively in 2008.

Saint Paul College - A Community and Technical College - Saint Paul, MN

Saint Paul College - A Community and Technical College, 235 Marshall Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55102-9808. Saint Paul College - A Community and Technical College is a medium sized college located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,388 students. Saint Paul College - A Community and Technical College has a one to two year program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated ten students in 2008.

Century Community and Technical College - White Bear Lake, MN

Century Community and Technical College, 3300 Century Ave N, White Bear Lake, MN 55110. Century Community and Technical College is a medium sized college located in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,384 students. Century Community and Technical College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated six, four, and three students respectively in 2008.

Hennepin Technical College - Brooklyn Park, MN

Hennepin Technical College, 9000 Brooklyn Blvd, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445. Hennepin Technical College is a medium sized college located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,617 students. Hennepin Technical College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated fifteen and sixteen students respectively in 2008.

Dunwoody College of Technology - Minneapolis, MN

Dunwoody College of Technology, 818 Dunwoody Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55403-1192. Dunwoody College of Technology is a small college located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,611 students and an admission rate of 68%. Dunwoody College of Technology has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated ten and three students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: St. Paul, Minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota
St. Paul, Minnesota photo by Gridge

St. Paul is located in Ramsey County, Minnesota. It has a population of over 279,590, which has shrunk by 2.6% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in St. Paul, 99, is near the national average. New single-family homes in St. Paul are valued at $213,300 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, thirty new homes were built in St. Paul, down from seventy-four the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in St. Paul are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 21 minutes. More than 32.0% of St. Paul residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in St. Paul is 7.4%, which is greater than Minnesota's average of 7.0%.

The percentage of St. Paul residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 61.3%, is more than both the national and state average. Zion Church, Convent of the Visitation and Saint Paul Cathedral are some of the churches located in St. Paul. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Baptist General Conference.

St. Paul is home to the Saint Paul Orphange and the Wilder Center as well as Terrace Park and East View Playground.