How Long Does It Take to Get an Auto Collision Degree?

Cars are an essential component of most Americans’ lives. They serve an important function, but one of the drawbacks is the inevitability of accidents. Even minor fender-benders can mean a significant amount of repair work before a car is able to get back on the road.

If you have a love of cars, of fixing things, and of working with your hands instead of sitting in an office all day, becoming an auto collision repairer, mechanic, or technician could be the perfect career path for you.

But what does the training include and how long does it take to finish school?

What You’ll Learn

In an auto collision technology program, you’ll get the opportunity to learn how to repair, rebuild, and restore cars and trucks. From inspecting vehicles, assessing damage, and preparing cost estimates to performing realignments, repairing damage, replacing parts, and refurbishing exteriors, you’ll learn all of the skills needed to ensure success as an auto repairer or service technician.

Many programs also include brand-specific training to help you become familiar with some of the biggest names in the industry, getting you ready to use the most common tools and techniques for collision repair work.

How Long Will It Take?

Many programs can take as little as one year, but program length can vary based on a few different factors, such as the program’s outcome (whether you will pursue a diploma, a certificate, or an associate degree), when classes start and how they’ll fit into your schedule, and whether you attend school on a full-time basis or a part-time basis. Plus, some programs include externships, an opportunity for you to get extra hands-on experience in a real-world environment—which may add more time to the total program length.

For auto collision technicians or mechanics, the training doesn’t usually stop when you graduate, however. Most entry-level techs can expect to go through some on-the-job training, both when you’re first getting started in the industry and as a way to stay on top of new trends, evolving technologies, and updated best practices.

Getting Started

Ready to find an auto collision program near you? The Imagine America Foundation has a robust network of schools that offer the hands-on training you need to begin your journey toward an automotive collision career.

IAF is proud to work with partner institutions like Universal Technical Institute, who offers training programs in a variety of technical fields—including collision repair.