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Career and Education Opportunities for Auto Body Painters in Salem, Oregon

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for auto body painters in the Salem, Oregon area. There are currently 980 working auto body painters in Oregon; this should grow by 12% to 1,090 working auto body painters in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for auto body painters, which sees this job pool growing by about 0.8% over the next eight years. 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 hourly or $36,730 per year on average in Oregon and about $17 hourly or $37,150 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Auto body painters earn more than people working in the category of Painting and Coating generally in Oregon and more than people in the Painting and Coating category nationally.

The Salem area is home to seventeen schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Salem where you can get a degree as an auto body painter. 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 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 Salem include:

  • 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

Linn-Benton Community College - Albany, OR

Linn-Benton Community College, 6500 Pacific Blvd SW, Albany, OR 97321. Linn-Benton Community College is a medium sized college located in Albany, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,576 students. Linn-Benton Community College has a one to two year program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated nine students in 2008.

Clackamas Community College - Oregon City, OR

Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Ave, Oregon City, OR 97045-8980. Clackamas Community College is a medium sized college located in Oregon City, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,701 students. Clackamas Community College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated zero, zero, and two students respectively in 2008.

Chemeketa Community College - Salem, OR

Chemeketa Community College, 4000 Lancaster Dr NE, Salem, OR 97305. Chemeketa Community College is a large college located in Salem, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,000 students. Chemeketa Community College has a one to two year program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated one student in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Salem, Oregon

Salem, Oregon
Salem, Oregon photo by Aboutmovies

Salem is located in Marion County, Oregon. It has a population of over 153,435, which has grown by 12.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Salem, 97, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Salem are valued at $215,800 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-nine new homes were constructed in Salem, down from five hundred forty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Salem are health care, public administration, and educational services. For men, it is construction, public administration, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 24.1% of Salem residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Salem is 10.2%, which is less than Oregon's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Salem residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Salem is home to the Oregon Women's Correctional Center and the Oregon State Penitentiary as well as Waldo Park and Olinger Pool Park. Visitors to Salem can choose from Red Lion Hotel-Salem Reservations, Shilo Inn Salem and Econo Lodge Salem for temporary stays in the area.