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Career and Education Opportunities for Auto Body Mechanics in San Antonio, Texas

Auto body mechanics can find many career and educational opportunities in the San Antonio, Texas area. Currently, 12,110 people work as auto body mechanics in Texas. This is expected to grow 11% to 13,420 people 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.

The income of an auto body mechanic is about $16 per hour or $33,430 annually on average in Texas. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $17 per hour or $37,040 annually on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Automotive, people working as auto body mechanics in Texas earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Automotive nationally.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of San Antonio where you can study to be an auto body mechanic, among forty schools of higher education total in the San Antonio area. 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 San Antonio 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.
  • Medical Equipment Repairer. Test, adjust, or repair biomedical or electromedical equipment.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Auto Body Mechanic Training

St Philips College - San Antonio, TX

St Philips College, 1801 Martin Luther King Dr, San Antonio, TX 78203-2098. St Philips College is a large college located in San Antonio, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,056 students. St Philips College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Autobody/Collision and Repair Technology/Technician which graduated nine and seven 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: San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas photo by Zereshk

San Antonio is situated in Bexar County, Texas. It has a population of over 1,351,305, which has grown by 18.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in San Antonio, 80, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in San Antonio are valued at $174,900 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, 2,665 new homes were constructed in San Antonio, down from 4,253 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in San Antonio are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 24 minutes. More than 21.6% of San Antonio residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in San Antonio is 6.6%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of San Antonio residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 65.1%, is more than both the national and state average. El Buen Samaritano United Methodist Church, Pentecostal Holiness Church and Pentecostal Home Missionary Church are all churches located in San Antonio. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

San Antonio is home to the Monte Vista Residential Historic District and the Main and Military Plazas Historic District as well as Kennedy Park and Buckeye Park. Shopping centers in the area include Windsor Park Mall, Windsor Park Shopping Center and Wonderland Shopping Center. Visitors to San Antonio can choose from Alpha Hotel, Alamo Executive Suites Inc and Chevy Chase Apartments & Townhomes for temporary stays in the area.