The Auto Body Program at ACC
Auto Body Repair is a one-year vocational certificate program that prepares you for an entry-level position in the automotive collision repair industry. This career choice is a good match for you if you enjoy working with your hands and seeing a project through to completion.
The auto body repair profession has undergone significant technological changes in recent years. Some of these changes include more environmentally friendly climate-controlled baking paint booths, the use of lasers to measure and record data on damaged vehicle bodies and frames, and electronic estimating. Vehicles have also changed, with a greater number manufactured with plastics, high-strength steels, and on-board electronics.
The three-semester Auto Body Repair program at ACC starts around Labor Day and finishes in late June. You attend class five days a week, six hours per day, for a total of 1,320 hours of intensive hands-on instruction. You are only required to take auto body repair classes. All tools and equipment will be provided, however, you should be aware that most employers require a basic set of hand tools.
As part of your graduation requirements, you have to pass the State of Michigan Unibody Certification. You are also encouraged to take the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) exams given twice a year on campus. Many employers require ASE certification, and you can improve your employment potential by passing these tests.
ACC also hosts a number of seminars on our Alpena campus sponsored by collision and refinishing companies. All Auto Body Repair students participate in these seminars, and when available, I-CAR classes are also offered to both program students and interested collision repair technicians from the Northern Michigan area.
The Auto Body Repair program is housed in a 9,800 square foot facility equipped with the latest collision repair equipment available. Classroom space is adjacent to the lab, allowing for easy movement to the demonstration area and practical, hands-on activities.
In the frame area, you’ll use the uniliner frame machine for straightening and computerized laser measuring systems to validate your repairs. These systems are capable of measuring to within one millimeter of accuracy on any vehicle. You’ll also put into practice your welding skills by replacing panels and structural components.
Other equipment in the Auto Body Repair lab include a state-of-the-art downdraft bake paint booth and a cross-draft spray booth. These booths provide a safe and dust-free environment in which to do quality paint refinishing. You’ll also learn how to use a number of industry-standard spray guns in a variety of HVLP and conventional configurations. Whether you’re learning how to fix a small rust hole or do a complete vehicle restoration, you’ll have the tools and equipment available to do a quality, professional job.
After completion of the Auto Body Repair program at ACC, you’ll have a variety of job options from which to choose. You may want to work in a collision repair facility or dealership and can expect to start out as a collision repair technician or apprentice. If you enjoy refinishing work, you may want to pursue a career as a painter. You’ll begin as a painter’s apprentice and be supervised until you’re ready to assume a painter’s full responsibilities. Other career opportunities includes work in restoration and hot rod specialty facilities, glass shops, and truck refurbishing shops.