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Career and Education Opportunities for Auto Body Painters in St. Louis, Missouri

Auto body painters can find many career and educational opportunities in the St. Louis, Missouri area. There are currently 1,230 jobs for auto body painters in Missouri and this is projected to shrink by 3% to about 1,200 jobs by 2016. 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%. Auto body painters generally operate or tend painting machines to paint surfaces of transportation equipment, such as automobiles, buses, and airplanes.

The income of an auto body painter is about $20 per hour or $42,340 per year on average in Missouri. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $17 per hour or $37,150 annually on average. Auto body painters earn more than people working in the category of Painting and Coating generally in Missouri and more than people in the Painting and Coating category nationally.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of St. Louis where you can study to be an auto body painter, among seventy-one schools of higher education total in the St. Louis area. Given that the most common education level for auto body painters is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time training to become an auto body painter if you already have a high school diploma.


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. Louis include:

  • Decorative Painter. Paint, coat, or decorate articles, such as furniture, glass, or leather.
  • Solderer. Braze or solder together components to assemble fabricated metal parts, using soldering iron, torch, or welding machine and flux.


Ranken Technical College - Saint Louis, MO

Ranken Technical College, 4431 Finney Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63113-2811. Ranken Technical College is a small college located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,626 students. Ranken 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 eighteen, seven, and thirty-five students respectively in 2008.

Southwestern Illinois College - Belleville, IL

Southwestern Illinois College, 2500 Carlyle Ave, Belleville, IL 62221-5899. Southwestern Illinois College is a large college located in Belleville, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,308 students. Southwestern Illinois College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated thirty-eight and eight students respectively in 2008.


St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri photo by Dschwen

St. Louis is located in St. Louis City County, Missouri. It has a population of over 354,361, which has grown by 1.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in St. Louis, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in St. Louis are priced at $111,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty-seven new homes were built in St. Louis, down from two hundred sixty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in St. Louis are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 19.1% of St. Louis residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in St. Louis is 10.9%, which is greater than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

Nativity of Our Lord Church, Church of the Good Shepard and Church of the Holy Communion are among the churches located in St. Louis.

St. Louis is home to the Terminal Railroad Association Building and the Memorial Home as well as Washington Park and Willmore Park. Shopping malls in the area include Hampton Village Shopping Center and Loughborough Shopping Center.