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What is the best advice you could give when searching for automotive/auto body careers? ?

I am interested in painting cars, I am a senior in high school, but I am in a trade school at the moment as well as getting my diploma while I am here. My goal is to get a job as soon as I am finished with my trade, although there is another trade available for collision repair. Would you recommend I take that trade as well?

Thank you comment icon Absolutely YES! John Bussey

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Claxton’s Answer

Hi, Melody. Collision repair is most often what drives the need to paint a car. You will definitely want to become proficient at that as you continue your studies. If you also learn how to do mechanical repairs, you can work just about anywhere. Best of all, because automotive repair is something that is always in demand, it makes for a great way to get into business for yourself if you're so inclined.
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Jen’s Answer

The auto industry is going through a lot of change now and it's a great time to pursue a career in this space to be a part of the transformation from gas powered vehicles to electric. It's never a bad idea to diversify a bit so getting multiple certifications may give you more options for different tracks within the automotive industry that you can get experience in. Good luck on your journey!
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is really helpful. Melody
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Al’s Answer

Just like Jen, I too believe that the automotive field is brimming with opportunities. Having multiple certifications can give you an edge and make you more versatile. You could consider starting work in the automotive area you're training in, and simultaneously pursue additional certifications. Having a solid understanding of electronics could also be a great advantage. Keep going, your future in the automotive industry looks promising!
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Dan’s Answer

With 40+ years in autobody and paint industries I can tell you that I don't put much stock in trade schools for this line of work. I have judged VICA grads and I can tell you , the money they spent was wasted. The programs are antiquated at best, and methods taught are worthless in todays autobody industries. What you want and need is hands on training. Get a " pro shop" list from your insurance company and start contacting them (in person) to see if they need a helper, apprentice etc. I promise you will get more than any class can teach you. That way you can learn and get paid for it. That will also help you get some of the tools you are going to need. It will also help you decide if you want to paint or do body work. I suggest that you choose paint work. Women have a much better eye for color match than men, and it is a lot easier on your body! Good Luck!
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Melody,

As an Aussie, I'm familiar with learning institutions that specialize in automobile body repairs and spray painting. They're typically referred to as technical and further education colleges here. In the USA, you'll find similar programs at community or technical colleges. If you're looking for specific schools in Troutdale, Oregon, a quick Google search for "USA automobile body repair schools Troutdale Oregon" should point you in the right direction.

Here are a couple of links to get you started:

https://www.pcc.edu/programs/auto-collision/
https://www.clackamas.edu/academics/departments-programs/auto-body-collision-repair-and-refinishing-technology-aas

And remember, there are plenty more out there too! Here's another one for good measure:
https://www.clackamas.edu/academics/departments-programs/auto-body-collision-repair-and-refinishing-technology-aas

You've got this, Melody. Chase your dreams!

Blessings,
Jim
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Jacob’s Answer

It's great to hear that you're interested in pursuing a career in automotive/auto body work, particularly in painting cars. Here's some valuable advice to consider when searching for automotive/auto body careers:

1. **Explore Your Interests:** It's wonderful that you're already pursuing a trade in automotive, but it's essential to explore various aspects of the field to find your true passion. If painting cars excites you, continue to focus on that specialization.

2. **Broaden Your Skill Set:** While specializing is crucial, having a well-rounded skill set can make you more versatile and employable. Consider completing the collision repair trade as well if it aligns with your interests and career goals. It can be valuable to understand the full spectrum of auto body work.

3. **Certification and Training:** Look for reputable automotive training programs or technical schools that offer certification in automotive painting and collision repair. These credentials can enhance your credibility and job prospects.

4. **Hands-On Experience:** Seek internships or part-time positions at auto body shops or automotive painting shops. Practical experience is invaluable in this field and can help you apply what you've learned in your trade school.

5. **Networking:** Connect with professionals in the automotive industry, including auto body shop owners, technicians, and painters. Attend industry events and join online forums or social media groups related to automotive painting to expand your network.

6. **Stay Informed:** The automotive industry is continually evolving, with advancements in technology and materials. Stay updated on industry trends and innovations to remain competitive in your chosen field.

7. **Resume Building:** Document your skills and experiences in a well-structured resume. Highlight any certifications, training, and hands-on projects related to automotive painting.

8. **Safety First:** Always prioritize safety when working in an auto body shop. Familiarize yourself with safety protocols and use protective equipment to prevent accidents and health hazards.

9. **Job Market Research:** Research the demand for automotive painters in your area or regions where you plan to work. Consider relocation if necessary to pursue the best career opportunities.

10. **Career Goals:** Set clear short-term and long-term career goals. Determine whether you aspire to work at an established auto body shop, own your own shop, or pursue other avenues within the automotive industry.

11. **Mentorship:** If possible, seek a mentor in the automotive painting field. A mentor can provide guidance, share their experiences, and help you navigate your career path effectively.

12. **Continuous Learning:** Commit to ongoing learning and professional development. Attend workshops, seminars, or additional courses to stay updated with the latest techniques and technologies.

Remember that the automotive/auto body industry offers various career paths and opportunities. Your willingness to explore different trades and your commitment to gaining knowledge and experience will serve you well as you work towards achieving your career goals. Whether you decide to specialize in painting cars or explore other aspects of auto body work, your dedication and passion will be essential factors in your success.
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