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Autobody Repair Technology Courses in FL with School Options

Roughly 25 schools in Florida have autobody repair technology courses and programs. Read an overview of 11 of the largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Essential Information

Students interested in pursuing autobody repair careers typically complete formal training programs in automotive collision repair and refinishing. While requirements vary by school, many programs call for students to complete 1,400 hours of coursework. Some programs in Florida culminate in an undergraduate certificate, while others may confer an associate degree. Some autobody repair technicians also receive on-the-job training through internships or apprenticeships, though students applying to work as apprentices may need to be 18 years old.

Career Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers prefer hiring individuals who have completed training programs and have a professional certification. Certification can be obtained from agencies such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) or the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR). Read on to learn about several colleges and educational centers in Florida for autobody repair training.


College of Central Florida

The College of Central Florida in Ocala offers a 1,400-hour automotive collision repair and refinishing program that prepares students for industry certifications and employment in automotive repair shops. Students learn autobody repair techniques and develop communication, business and leadership skills. Through classroom and lab courses, students learn about trim-hardware maintenance, using fillers, frame and unibody alignment, paint and undercoats, welding techniques and sheet metal repairs. The student also gains hands-on experience through a cooperative work experience. A postsecondary adult vocational certificate is awarded upon completion of all requirements.

  • Program Offered: Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing Postsecondary Adult Vocational Certificate
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $2,522 in-state; $10,126 out-of-state (2012-2013)*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, primarily associate's; public; small city

Daytona State College

Located in Daytona Beach, Daytona State College offers a two-year automotive collision repair and refinishing program that trains students for careers in autobody repair. Through lecture-based and experiential learning, students are prepared for ASE and I-CAR certification exams. Students typically spend the first semester of the program taking courses in auto refinishing, which includes skills-based training in spray gun use and application of corrosion resistant materials. Other courses cover detailing and refinishing safety practices.

In the second semester, students learn collision repair. Courses review cost estimating, repair planning and repair practices for various auto components. Following the first year, students take courses intended to develop advanced repair skills, such as frame repair, glass installation and electrical systems analysis. By the conclusion of the program, students have accumulated 1,400 contact hours and more than 45 vocational hours.

  • Program Offered: Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing Vocational Certificate
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $3,371 in-state; $12,441 out-of-state (2012-2013)*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, primarily associate's; public; small city

Florida State College at Jacksonville

Florida Coast Career Tech, a division of Florida State College at Jacksonville, offers courses in autobody repair technology. Florida Coast Career Tech has nine campuses and education centers in and around Jacksonville, offering courses during the day, in the evenings and on weekends. Offered through the Automotive and Diesel Technologies Department, the automotive collision repair and refinishing program prepares students for work in autobody and paint shops, auto garages or auto dealerships.

There are 12 core courses in the program, all of which include a combination of workforce credits and direct contact hours. Additionally, each student completes an internship to gain real-world experience in autobody repair. The courses in the program cover many facets of autobody repair, including welding, painting and frame straightening. Students are also trained in the analytical aspects of autobody repair; these range from damage report writing to safety regulations. Upon completion of this 1,400-contact hour program, students are prepared to take ASE certification exams.

  • Program Offered: Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing Workforce Certificate
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $2,790 in-state; $9,903 out-of-state (2012-2013)*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, primarily associate's; public; large city

Hillsborough Community College

Hillsborough Community College (HCC) in Tampa offers an automotive restoration technology program at the Ybor City Campus Training Center. The three-semester program, which offers evening classes, provides lectures that are complimented with lab courses. Students learn about chassis and drive train solutions, painting and refinishing, non-structural damage repair, and wood and metal restoration. The program also focuses on safety and environmental issues in the workplace. After completion of the required 1,000 contact hours, students are prepared for entry-level work in automotive repair or restoration shops.

HCC also offers a 1,400-hour automotive collision repair and refinishing program that covers structural and nonstructural damage, electrical and mechanical repair, automotive painting, estimating and welding. Students attend day classes Monday through Friday. Courses in this program can be transferred to the industrial management associate's degree program.

  • Programs Offered: Automotive Restoration Technology Certificate,
    Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing Academy
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $2,506 in-state; $9,111 out-of-state (2012-2013)*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year; public; large city

Indian River State College

The auto collision repair and refinishing program at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce is aimed at students looking to enter the autobody repair field as well as those already in the business looking to advance their skills. The majority of the learning is based on lab or shop work, allowing students to obtain hands-on training. The curriculum consists of nine automotive collision repair and refinishing courses, and each one entails at least 150 hours of training. Students also learn about occupational safety, legal issues, industry materials, shop tools and automotive equipment.

  • Program Offered: Auto Collision Repair and Refinishing Program
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $2,764 in-state; $10,201 out-of-state (2012-2013)*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, primarily associate's; public; large suburb

Manatee Technical Institute

Bradenton-based Manatee Technical Institute has an auto collision repair and refinishing program that prepares students for entry-level employment as automotive repair and refinishing technicians. Offering both day and evening sessions, this 1,400-hour program consists of five courses. Students learn about sheet metal repair, basic refinishing, unibody squaring and aligning, cost estimating, trim-hardware maintenance and paint, filler and undercoat usage.

  • Program Offered: Auto Collision Repair and Refinishing Program
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $4,298 estimated program cost (2013-2014)**
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year; public; large suburb

Miami Lakes Educational Center

The auto collision repair and refinishing program at Miami Lakes Educational Center in Miami Lakes prepares students for employment in automotive repair shops, while providing training that meets the needs of the auto collision industry. This National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF)-certified program provides a mix of classroom theory and practical experience. Topics of study include shop management, body shell alignment equipment, welding/brazing techniques, refinishing techniques and basic auto mechanics. Students entering this program must be at least 16 years old, be out of high school and have adequate assessment scores in reading, language and math. Students can complete this 1,400-hour program in around 16 months.

  • Programs Offered: Auto Collision Repair and Refinishing Program
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $4,121 total cost (2012-2013) **
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year; public; large suburb

Mid-Florida Tech

Orlando-based Mid-Florida Tech, an I-CAR-approved Level II training site, offers an automotive collision repair and refinishing program that meets NATEF standards and prepares students for ASE and I-CAR certifications. The program consists of six sequential courses. Students learn to prepare a vehicle for repair and refinishing, select and apply correct paints and finishes, maintain/operate spray equipment and use business management and occupational safety skills.

  • Program Offered: Auto Collision Repair and Refinishing Program
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: about $3/hour for residents; about $11/hour for non-residents (no date given)**
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year; public; large suburb

Pinellas Technical Education Center

Pinellas Technical Education Center offers an automotive collision repair and refinishing program at its Saint Petersburg location. The 1,400-hour program consists of two parts: automotive collision repair and refinishing I (750 hours) and automotive collision repair and refinishing II (650 hours). Courses cover automotive body repair, automotive refinishing and auto collision estimation. The program can be completed in 18 months. In addition to tuition, students pay fees for books, supplies and tools, which total more than $2,900.

The school also offers an auto collision repair and refinishing apprenticeship. The four-year apprenticeship program consists of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and at least 144 hours of classroom training. To be eligible for the apprenticeship, the student must be 18, currently employed in this field and be able to work and attend classes. As per Florida law, students in apprenticeships are not required to pay tuition and fees.

  • Programs Offered: Auto Collision Repair and Refinishing Program,
    Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing Apprenticeship
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: about $3/hour for residents; about $12/hour for non-residents; no tuition cost for apprenticeship students (2012-2013)**
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year; public; midsize city

Robert Morgan Educational Center

This Miami institution features an automotive collision repair and refinishing program. Students can expect a mix of classroom and lab experiences in this 1,400-hour program. The program is divided into five areas, and students can earn a Certificate of Completion for each course they complete. Courses cover frame and body repair, refinishing, collision estimation and autobody repair. Incoming students must be at least 16 years of age and not currently enrolled in school.

  • Program Offered: Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing Program
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $4,021 for total program (2012-2013)**
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year; public; large suburb

South Florida State College

Located in Avon Park, South Florida State College offers a two-year automotive collision repair and refinishing program that prepares students for careers as auto collision painters or auto repair technicians. Requiring 1,650 contact hours, this program includes classroom and lab courses, as well as a 240-hour cooperative education experience. The lab courses provide extensive training in auto collision repair and refinishing. Other course topics include panel repair and replacement, basic sheet metal repairs and painting techniques.

  • Program Offered: Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing Occupational Certificate
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $3,160 in-state; $11,854 out-of-state (2012-2013)*
  • School Type & Setting: Four-year, primarily associate's; public; distant town

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Autobody Repair Technology Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees
College of Central Florida Four-year, primarily associate's; public; small city Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing Postsecondary Adult Vocational Certificate $2,522 in-state; $10,126 out-of-state (2012-2013)*
Daytona State College Four-year, primarily associate's; public; small city Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing Vocational Certificate $3,371 in-state; $12,441 out-of-state (2012-2013)*
Florida State College at Jacksonville Four-year, primarily associate's; public; large city Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing Workforce Certificate $2,790 in-state; $9,903 out-of-state (2012-2013)*
Hillsborough Community College Two-year; public; large city Automotive Restoration Technology Certificate,
Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing Academy
$2,506 in-state; $9,111 out-of-state (2012-2013)*
Indian River State College Four-year, primarily associate's; public; large suburb Auto Collision Repair and Refinishing Program $2,764 in-state; $10,201 out-of-state (2012-2013)*
Manatee Technical Institute Two-year; public; large suburb Auto Collision Repair and Refinishing Program $4,298 estimated program cost (2013-2014)**
Miami Lakes Educational Center Two-year; public; large suburb Auto Collision Repair and Refinishing Program $4,121 total cost (2012-2013) **
Mid-Florida Tech Two-year; public; large suburb Auto Collision Repair and Refinishing Program about $3/hour for residents; about $11/hour for non-residents (no date given)**
Pinellas Technical Education Center Two-year; public; midsize city Auto Collision Repair and Refinishing Program,
Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing Apprenticeship
about $3/hour for residents; about $12/hour for non-residents; no tuition cost for apprenticeship students (2012-2013)**
Robert Morgan Educational Center Two-year; public; large suburb Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing Program $4,021 for total program (2012-2013)**
South Florida State College Four-year, primarily associate's; public; distant town Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing Occupational Certificate $3,160 in-state; $11,854 out-of-state (2012-2013)*

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics, **Schools' websites.

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