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Career and Education Opportunities for Auto Body Mechanics in Omaha, Nebraska

Auto body mechanics can find many career and educational opportunities in the Omaha, Nebraska area. There are currently 1,310 jobs for auto body mechanics in Nebraska and this is projected to grow 8% to about 1,410 jobs 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.

A person working as an auto body mechanic can expect to earn about $16 hourly or $34,220 yearly on average in Nebraska and about $17 per hour or $37,040 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for auto body mechanics are better than earnings in the general category of Automotive in Nebraska and better than general Automotive category earnings nationally.

There are thirty-one schools of higher education in the Omaha area, including two within twenty-five miles of Omaha 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 Omaha 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Auto Body Mechanic Training

Southeast Community College Area - Lincoln, NE

Southeast Community College Area, 301south 68th Street Place, Lincoln, NE 68510-2449. Southeast Community College Area is a large college located in Lincoln, Nebraska. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,557 students. Southeast Community College Area has an associate's degree program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated thirty-one students in 2008.

Metropolitan Community College Area - Omaha, NE

Metropolitan Community College Area, 30 & Fort Street, Omaha, NE 68111-1610. Metropolitan Community College Area is a large college located in Omaha, Nebraska. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,055 students. Metropolitan Community College Area has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated zero and three 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: Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska photo by Yassie

Omaha is located in Douglas County, Nebraska. It has a population of over 438,646, which has grown by 12.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Omaha, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Omaha are valued at $105,100 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,576 new homes were built in Omaha, down from 1,905 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Omaha are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 28.7% of Omaha residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Omaha is 4.7%, which is greater than Nebraska's average of 4.5%.

The percentage of Omaha residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 54.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Calvary Baptist Church, Calvary Chapel of Omaha and Calvary Foursquare Gospel Church are all churches located in Omaha. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church.

Omaha is home to the Gibson and the Cedar Hills Golf Course as well as Al Caniglia Field and Adams Park. Shopping malls in the area include Frederick Square Shopping Center, North Park Shopping Center and Oak View Mall. Visitors to Omaha can choose from Countryside Suites, Hampton Inn Omaha-Central and Townhouse Inn for temporary stays in the area.