Auto Body Painter
How to Become an

Auto Body Painter

The complete career guide to be an Auto Body Painter: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $44,920
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 5.9%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Flexible Hours
    Career Attribute

An auto body painter is a professional who applies paint via brushes or spray, on different transport such as trucks, cars, boats and ships among others. Auto body painters are primarily responsible for two main tasks: polishing old or damaged surfaces and coating or painting new cars.

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What is an Auto Body Painter?


As an auto body painter, one has to acquire expertise in a range of duties which includes the following:

  • Prepares the surfaces that need to be painted on automotive such as buses, cars and trucks and polishes painted surfaces.
  • Takes care of the parts of vehicle that have not been painted by covering with a paper and masking tape so that they do not get coated with paint.
  • Uses a spray gun to spray filler materials on the surfaces of automotive that have scratches to make sure they acquire a level and smooth surface before applying the paint.
  • Oversees other workers in performing their duties as assigned by them and gives daily instructions and attends to all their needs.
  • Passes information from the client to other staff members and monitors them to ensure perfect job is done.

A day as an auto body painter

Day to day tasks for an auto body painter includes preparing for ongoing paint projects of different vehicles such as buses, cars and trucks. It is up to the auto body painter to properly formulate all refinish coatings including primers/undercoats, base or colour coats and clear coats as directed by instructions for each product.

Once the paint is ready, using specialty painting techniques like spray painters and brushes, auto body painters apply paint to the vehicle body. Upon completing each paint job, auto body painters go on to properly clean and maintain, in proper working order, all paint formulation and spray application equipment (i.e., paint guns, mixing system, computer equipment, etc.).

In some cases, auto body painters also may have to work on repair jobs after an accident or collision, so checking for dents and cavities is also part of their responsibilities. Repairs to restore vehicles to pre-accident state, are done with a sense of urgency and detail to avoid waste and rework later in the process. The professional uses his or her auto body repair skills and experience to mix the painting solution and use the painting equipment effectively.

Growth of the job

The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics projects a consistent growth rate of 6% between 2014 and 2024 for the auto body painter profession. As the automotive industries continue to grow owing to the advanced technology, there will be demand for auto body painters in the future.

Working schedule and typical working hours

Auto body painters work five hours a day, five days a week, and mostly on a full time basis. However, there are those that opt to work on a part time basis especially if other activities are involved.

Typical employer

An auto body painter can find employment from various firms that deal with transportation services like Auction Direct USA, Group 1 Automotive, Ken Garff Auto Group, etc. These include vehicle tinting, painting and repair industries for all types of vehicles, ship building and repair industries among others. The job is well paying depending on the number of hours worked.

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How To Become an Auto Body Painter

An auto body painter requires a minimum of a high school diploma. A valid driving license is required for comfort level with both automatic and manual transmission vehicles, in case one has to move it around for auto body work. Aspiring applicants should have experience of about four years in auto body painting in order to get good opportunities. Experience can be substituted with a certificate or associate’s degree program in auto body and paint technology from a community college or technical course.

Alternatively, an auto body painter can become certified by studying for a certificate or a subsequent degree program for one or two years depending on the institution. These programs are offered in community colleges and technical schools that are widespread in the states. By the time one completes these programs, he or she becomes a qualified auto painter specialist. Students are taught pertinent aspects of the job through the lectures and practical lessons. These entail safety practices, custom finishes and paint preparations.

Relevant coursework completed by aspiring auto body painters is vital for success. For instance, classes in computer science, general mathematics, business ethics, and geometry and communication techniques will be helpful.

Auto Body Painter Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Auto Body Painter salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Auto Body Painter's can make an average annual salary of $44,920, or $22 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $32,520 or $16 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #450 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Auto Body Painters

  • 0%   Doctorate
  • 0.2%   Masters
  • 3.7%   Bachelors
  • 5.7%   Associates
  • 21.4%   College
  • 45.7%   High School
  • 23.2%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Auto Body Painter job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 3,200 jobs for a total of 57,500 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 5.9% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #381 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Auto Body Painters

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Automotive body, paint, interior, and glass repair 22,400 1,900 2%
Automobile dealers 4,300 500 1%
Self-employed workers 3,400 200 0%

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