Auto Fabrication Schools and Colleges in the U.S.
Students wishing to work in auto fabrication can find training through certificate and associate's degree programs offered at various 2-year colleges. These programs offer students the chance to work hands-on with auto technology and choose areas of specialization.
How to Select an Auto Fabrication School or College
Auto fabrication involves the repair and design of the vehicle mainframe for custom jobs and accident repair. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who complete postsecondary training have better job prospects (www.bls.gov). Students interested in this career field can pursue a limited number of fabrication programs, or they can enroll in an automotive technology, auto body repair or collision refinishing program that includes fabrication in the curriculum.
Summary of Considerations
- NATEF accreditation
- Areas of specialization
- Hands-on opportunities
Prospective students should give preference to schools that are accredited by the National Automotive Technician Education Foundation (NATEF), which is the accrediting body of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Graduation from an accredited school may increase the chances of students passing ASE certification exams. Passing the exams and gaining relevant work experience leads to certification in several specialties, including collision repair and refinishing.
Areas of Specialization
Students can focus on accident repair or custom design. Apart from these two major sectors, additional specialization options may be offered in a sequence or a single class. These options include motorsports, hot rod or street rod fabrication. This optional coursework familiarizes students with the specialized layout and design of these vehicles.
Many programs devote a majority of the curriculum to working in labs or on-campus shops. These labs allow students to gain hands-on experience with industry procedures and technology. Students interested in auto fabrication are advised to look for programs that include direct training in painting, polishing and welding.
Degree Program Overviews
Certificate Programs in Auto Body Fabrication
Certificate programs can be completed in a single semester and teach students basic fabrication skills, such as auto body design or shaping steel panels. Some programs consider these certificates advanced and require the completion of an auto body repair certificate prior to applying to auto fabrication. Course topics include:
- Auto body mechanical and electrical service
- Street rod metal fabrication
- Chassis design and development
Associate's Degree Programs in Auto Body Repair
Associate's degree programs include classroom and laboratory time. In addition to the automotive curriculum, students must pass basic math, English and communication courses. Coursework includes:
- Collision refinishing
- Safety procedures
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