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Auto Care and Safety

How to Find a Career That’s A “Wreck” and Rewarding

Photo: Courtesy of Collision Repair Education Foundation

When speaking to thousands of high school and college auto body/collision repair students nationwide each year, even they are surprised to hear they can graduate with minimal student debt, earn six-figure salaries (after a few years of hard work), and be in high demand from auto industry employers around the country who are facing an aging workforce. 

This is in comparison to many students who are misdirected by guidance counselors and/or parents into believing that college is their only option, and upon graduation find themselves with crippling student debt and limited career opportunities. 

Now more than ever is the ideal time for students to be properly informed about opportunities that exist within the technical trades, and specifically the automotive collision industry. 

Today’s auto techs

When envisioning an auto repair technician, many mistakenly think of the stereotypical, greasy technician in a dungeon-like garage. However, as vehicles become more complex in the materials with which they are constructed (aluminum, high-strength steel) and move toward essentially being moving computers, repair technicians need to be highly skilled and trained to ensure vehicles are repaired properly and safely. 

Also, the number of career paths within the industry stretch far beyond physically repairing vehicles, and include opportunities within other companies, such as insurance, rentals, tools, equipment, paint, dealerships, vehicle manufactures, and more.  

As the average age within the auto industry nears 45, multi-million and billion dollar companies are in a panic to find their future workforce.

Get involved

If you are interested in working in this industry, contact the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF). CREF is the auto collision industry’s national 501c3 charity that focuses on attracting students to local high school and college collision/auto body programs, supporting students and instructors while in school, and connecting graduates with national and local industry employers. 

CREF has raised millions of dollars in monetary and in-kind donations for these programs nationwide, and is now organizing transportation student career fair events around the country to connect these students with employers. 

Whether you are a car enthusiast and want to support future auto industry professionals or you need help identifying local high school and college collision programs, visit us at

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