Automotive Glass Repairers

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Automotive glass repairers restore and replace vehicle windshields and window glass.

Quick Facts: Automotive Body and Glass Repairers
2019 Median Pay $42,350 per year
$20.36 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Yes
Number of Jobs, 2019 179,700
Job Outlook, 2019-29 2% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2019-29 4,300

 

Automotive body and glass repairers restore, refinish, and replace vehicle bodies and frames, windshields, and window glass.

Duties

Automotive glass installers and repairers typically do the following:

  • Examine damaged glass or windshields and assess repairability
  • Clean damaged areas and prepare the surfaces for repair
  • Stabilize chips and cracks with clear resin
  • Remove glass that cannot be repaired
  • Check windshield frames for rust
  • Clean windshield frames and prepares them for installation
  • Apply urethane sealant to the windshield frames
  • Install replacement glass
  • Replace any parts removed prior to repairs

Automotive glass repairers can repair most windows and mirrors from vehicle collisions and make vehicles look new. After a major collision, the underlying frame of a car can become weakened or compromised. Glass repairers restore the structural integrity of car to manufacturer specifications.

Glass installers and repairers often travel to the customer’s location and perform their work in the field. They commonly use specialized tools such as vacuum pumps to fill windshield cracks and chips with a stabilizing resin. When windshields are badly damaged, they use knives to remove the damaged windshield, and then they secure the new windshield using a special urethane adhesive.

Automotive body and related repairers held about 155,500 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of automotive body and related repairers were as follows:

Automotive glass installers and repairers held about 24,300 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of automotive glass installers and repairers were as follows:

Automotive body, paint, interior, and glass repair 73%
Self-employed workers 19
Construction 2

Glass installers and repairers often travel to the customer’s location to repair damaged windshields and window glass.

Automotive glass repairers sometimes work in awkward and cramped positions, and their work can be physically demanding.

Work Schedules

Most automotive glass repairers work full time. When shops have to complete a backlog of work, overtime is common. This often includes working evenings and weekends.

Most employers prefer to hire glass repairers who have completed a training program in automotive body or glass repair. Still, many new glass repairers begin work without previous training. Industry certification is increasingly important.

Education

High school, trade and technical school, and community college programs in collision repair combine hands-on practice and technical instruction. Topics usually include electronics, repair cost estimation, and welding, all of which provide a strong educational foundation for a career as a body repairer.

Trade and technical school programs typically award certificates after 6 months to 1 year of study. Some community colleges offer 2-year programs in collision repair. Many of these schools also offer certificates for individual courses, so students can take classes part-time or as needed.

Training

New workers typically begin their on-the-job training by helping an experienced repairer with basic tasks, such as fixing minor issues. As they gain experience, they move on to more complex work. Basic automotive glass installation and repair can be learned in as little as 6 months, but becoming fully independent can take up to a year of training.

Throughout their careers, glass repairers need to continue their training to keep up with rapidly changing automotive technology and materials. They are expected to develop their skills by reading technical manuals and by attending classes and seminars.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, certification is recommended because it shows competence and usually brings higher pay. In some instances it is required for advancement beyond entry-level work.

A few states require a license to perform automotive glass installation and repair. Check with your state for more information.

Advancement

Automotive glass repairers earn more money as they gain experience, and some may advance into management positions within body shops, especially those workers with 2- or 4-year degrees.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. Automotive glass repairers evaluate vehicle damage and determine necessary repair strategies. In some cases, they must decide if a vehicle is “totaled,” or too damaged to justify the cost of repair.

Customer-service skills. Automotive glass repairers discuss auto glass problems, along with options to fix them, with customers. Workers must be courteous, good listeners, and ready to answer customers’ questions.

Detail oriented. Automotive glass repairers must pay close attention to detail. Restoring a damaged auto body or windshield requires workers to have a keen eye for even the smallest imperfection.

Dexterity. Automotive body repairers’ tasks, such as removing door panels, hammering out dents, and using hand tools to install parts, require a steady hand and good hand–eye coordination.

Mechanical skills. Automotive glass repairers must know how to apply the correct techniques and methods necessary to repair windshields, and windows.

Physical strength. Automotive glass repairers must sometimes lift heavy parts, such as door panels and windshields.

Time-management skills. Automotive glass repairers must be timely in their repairs. For many people, their automobile is their primary mode of transportation.

Pay

The median annual wage for automotive glass installers and repairers was $35,790 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,660, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $52,710.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for automotive glass installers and repairers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Construction $36,840
Automotive body, paint, interior, and glass repair $35,530

The majority of repair shops and auto dealers pay automotive body and glass repairers on an incentive basis. In addition to receiving a guaranteed base salary, employers pay workers a set amount for completing various tasks. Their earnings depend on both the amount of work assigned and how fast they complete it.

Most automotive body and glass repairers work full time. When shops have to complete a backlog of work, overtime is common. This often includes working evenings and weekends.

Overall employment of automotive body and glass repairers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2019 to 2029, slower than the average for all occupations.

Job Prospects

Despite limited employment growth, about 15,700 openings for automotive body and glass repairers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

The best opportunities in automotive body repair will be available for those with industry certification and training in automotive body repair and refinishing, and in collision repair.




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Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Automotive Body and Glass Repairers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/automotive-body-and-glass-repairers.htm


Written by Phillip

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