While there is no shortage of auto body repair and auto painting schools, finding a good one can be a major challenge. Most communities offer collision repair training at nearby two-year and technical colleges; however, not all programs are of the same quality.
The first aspect to look for in a quality collision repair program is if it is accredited by the NATEF/ASE. This accreditation ensures that the host school meets the stringent standards sent by the ASE. If the school does not have ASE accreditation, look elsewhere for training. While there may be some excellent programs without this accreditation, it is not a risk worth taking.
There are quite a few quality car painting and auto body repair schools that do not utilize I-CAR curriculum but attending a school that does is definitely a bonus. Programs that use this curriculum are also members of I-CAR Training Alliance, meaning these schools are allowed to offer the same level of training provided by the auto collision repair industry. Sometimes students are given I-CAR points, which gives them a leg up when job searching.
Of course, prospective students should always take a tour of and speak to the instructors at the auto body repair school they are thinking about attending. The 1-2 hours spent personally evaluating the program can save students from making a huge mistake when choosing a program.
Do not discount community colleges; there are quite a lot of benefits of going to a small, public school instead of a large, private institution. For starters, community colleges offer programs at a lower cost, which prevents becoming overburdened with school loan debt. In addition, community colleges have smaller class sizes, allowing for a lower student/teacher ratio and more individual attention.While there are numerous reasons regarding the advantages of going to a community college, perhaps one of the biggest benefits is that there are community colleges in most towns or if not, they are located nearby. This cuts down on the time it takes to travel back and forth to attend class and car painting students do not have to sacrifice their existing job or family life in order to get the training they need to become employed in the auto body repair industry.