Overview

Learn to repair and replace damaged motor vehicle structures, body parts, interior and exterior finishes.

If you are creative and like being hands-on while performing precise work, you'll enjoy working in the auto body trade. In Alberta, auto body journeypersons may specialize as Auto Body Preppers, Repairers, Refinishers or Technicians.

  • Auto Body Preppers restore anti-corrosion treatments, substrate identification, surface preparation, undercoat product mixing and application.
  • Auto Body Refinishers do damage appraisals, surface preparation, minor damage repairs, masking, accurate colour matching and top coating. Refinishers may also restore anti-corrosion treatments, substrate identification, product mixing and application.
  • Auto Body Repairers do damage appraisals, frame and unibody structural repairs, body sheet metal work, plastic repairs, component replacement and alignment.
  • Auto Body Technicians are trained to do all tasks in the auto body trade. They may specialize in damage appraisals, frame straightening, surface preparation, sheet metal work and refinishing.

To work in this trade, certification is required. This means that you must either be a registered apprentice working under the guidance of a certified journeyperson or be a certified journeyperson yourself.

Auto Body Technicians are skilled tradespeople who are self-motivated, driven to provide good customer service and can find unique solutions to problems. This line of work is most fulfilling for those who enjoy creative work, working with their hands and having an eye for detail.

To thrive in this career, it is important to have the following traits:

  • good customer service and communication skills
  • creative problem solvers, able to find unique solutions
  • patient and detail-oriented, with an eye for detail
  • strong physical abilities, including the strength and stamina to handle heavy tools and parts
  • manual dexterity and mechanical aptitude
  • good colour vision
  • willingness to keep learning as manufacturers make changes in plastics, electronics, metals, supplemental restraints, and paints
  • commitment to safe work habits

Upon successfully completing the required working hours and apprenticeship education periods, graduates will be awarded an educational credential in addition to journeyperson status by Alberta’s Apprenticeship and Industry Training. 

Education credential earned by specialization: 

Auto Body Technician  Diploma
Auto Body Technician - Auto Body Prepper Certificate of Achievement
Auto Body Technician - Auto Body Refinisher  Certificate
Auto Body Technician - Auto Body Repairer Certificate

Auto Body Technicians and Refinishers are Red Seal Endorsed trades – a recognizable standard allowing tradespeople to work across Canada.

Auto Body Prepper and Auto Body Repairer are not a Red Seal Endorsed trade.

Download program info

Careers and opportunities

Our graduates may work in the following occupations. Some careers require additional experience and education.

Associated National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes: 72020, 72411, 74203.

Apprenticeship training

Depending on the specialization, apprentices will spend two to four periods of apprenticeship education and work experience before becoming a journeyperson.

The term of apprenticeship for an Auto Body Prepper is two years (two 12-month periods), including a minimum of 1620 hours of on-the-job training and six weeks of classroom instruction in the first year and 1800 hours of on-the-job training in the second year.

Year 1 | Period 1

You will start by learning workplace safety, industry overview, regulations and administration. You will then learn component removal, installation, final detail as well as substrate preparation.

Training length: 6 weeks

The term of apprenticeship for an Auto Body Refinisher is two years (two 12-month periods), including a minimum of 1620 hours of on-the-job training and six weeks of classroom instruction in the first year, and 1620 hours of on-the-job training and six weeks of classroom instruction in the second year.

Year 1 | Period 1

You will start by learning workplace safety, industry overview, regulations and administration. You will then learn component removal, installation, final detail as well as substrate preparation.

Training length: 6 weeks

Year 2 | Period 2

You will learn shop practices and procedures, product preparation and topcoat application.

Training length: 6 weeks

The term of apprenticeship for an Auto Body Repairer is three years (three 12-month periods), including a minimum of 1620 hours of on-the-job training and six weeks of classroom instruction in the first year, 1590 hours of on-the-job training and seven weeks of classroom instruction in each of the second and third years.

Year 1 | Period 1

You will start by learning workplace safety, industry overview, regulations and administration. You will then learn component removal, installation, final detail and substrate preparation.

Training length: 6 weeks

Year 2 | Period 2

You will learn heating, cutting and welding, repair planning for non-structural damage, non-structural repair as well as vehicle support systems.

Training length: 7 weeks

Year 3 | Period 2

You will learn repair planning for structural repair, structural components, mechanical as well as safety systems and final assembly.

Training length: 7 weeks

The term of apprenticeship for an Auto Body Technician is four years (four 12-month periods). This includes 1620 hours of on-the-job training and six weeks of classroom instruction in the first year; 1620 hours of on-the-job training and six weeks of classroom instruction in the second year; 1590 hours of on-the-job training and seven weeks of classroom instruction in the third years; and 1590 hours of on-the-job training and seven weeks of classroom instruction in the fourth year.

Year 1 | Period 1

You will start by learning workplace safety, industry overview, regulations and administration. You will then learn component removal, installation, final detail and substrate preparation.

Training length: 6 weeks

Year 2 | Period 2

You will learn shop practices and procedures, product preparation and topcoat application.

Training length: 6 weeks

Year 3 | Period 3

You will learn heating, cutting and welding, repair planning for non-structural damage, non-structural repair, as well as vehicle support systems.

Training length: 7 weeks

Year 4 | Period 4

You will learn repair planning for structural repair, structural components, mechanical and safety systems and final assembly.

Training length: 7 weeks

Apprenticeship education performance

To succeed in apprenticeship education, you must pass each section of the course and the AIT exam.

The passing grade for each section in a course is 65%. A passing mark on each provincial exam and the interprovincial qualification (or Red Seal Exam) is 70%.

View Alberta's Apprenticeship and Industry Training procedures

 

Training pathways

You can earn your journeyperson designation in the following ways.

The traditional training pathway begins with finding a job with an employer willing to indenture you as an apprentice. Once you are an apprentice, you will alternate between on-the-job training and educational periods. 
 
You must apply for an apprenticeship through Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training before attending your first education period at SAIT. 

A woman in coveralls works on a car engine.

Pre-employment pathway

SAIT’s Pre-employment Auto Body program prepares you to enter into an apprenticeship with hands-on skills. Upon successfully completing the program, you’ll qualify to challenge the first-year Auto Body apprenticeship exam.

Pre-employment Auto Body

Admission requirements

To enter an apprenticeship, you must have the educational qualifications required or recommended education for the trade to which you apply.

Entrance requirements are monitored and set by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Minimum requirements

Successful completion of the following courses:

  • English 10-2
  • Math 10-3
  • Science 10

OR

A pass mark in all five Canadian General Educational Development (GED) tests

OR

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Entrance Exam

Recommended requirements

Apprentices with an Alberta High School Diploma that includes the following courses:

  • English 30-2
  • Math 30-3
  • Physics 20 OR Chemistry 20 OR Science 20
  • Related career and technology studies (CTS) courses
A woman wearing coveralls and a welding helmet poses for a photograph in a SAIT welding lab.

MyTradeSecrets

Once you have begun working as an apprentice, you can attend SAIT to complete your technical training.

You'll register for technical training at SAIT on MyTradeSecrets or you can register by phone.

How to register

Available intakes

Costs

2024/25 tuition and fees

The following costs are effective as of July 1, 2024.

Auto Body Prepper

The estimated total cost of 2024/25 tuition and fees in each period of technical training.
Period Number of weeks Tuition fees Additional fees Total
1 6 $864 $311 $1,175
Total cost:
$1,175

Auto Body Refinisher

The estimated total cost of 2024/25 tuition and fees in each period of technical training.
Period Number of weeks Tuition fees Additional fees Total
1 6 $864 $311 $1,175
2 6 $864 $311 $1,175
Total cost:
$2,350

Auto Body Repairer

The estimated total cost of 2024/25 tuition and fees in each period of technical training.
Period Number of weeks Tuition fees Additional fees Total
1 6 $864 $311 $1,175
2 7 $1,008 $320 $1,328
3 7 $1,008 $320 $1,328
4 7 $1,008 $320 $1,328
Total cost:
$5,159

Auto Body Technician

The estimated total cost of 2024/25 tuition and fees in each period of technical training.
Period Number of weeks Tuition fees Additional fees Total
1 6 $864 $311 $1,175
2 6 $864 $311 $1,175
3 7 $1,008 $311 $1,328
4 7 $1,008 $311 $1,328
Total cost:
$5,006

Books or modules, along with other items for classes, are approximately $600 per period.

It's recommended you don't purchase books or modules ahead of time as they might be outdated by the time you attend classes, and they cannot be returned to the Bookstore.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be required for the program, which may be an additional cost to apprentices.

2023/24 tuition and fees

The following costs are effective until June 30, 2024.

Auto Body Prepper

The estimated total cost of 2023/24 tuition and fees in each period of technical training.
Period Number of weeks Tuition fees Additional fees Total
1 6 $792 $301 $1,093
Total cost:
$1,093

Auto Body Refinisher

The estimated total cost of 2023/24 tuition and fees in each period of technical training.
Period Number of weeks Tuition fees Additional fees Total
1 6 $792 $301 $1,093
2 6 $792 $301 $1,093
Total cost:
$2,186

Auto Body Repairer

The estimated total cost of 2023/24 tuition and fees in each period of technical training.
Period Number of weeks Tuition fees Additional fees Total
1 6 $792 $301 $1,093
2 7 $924 $310 $1,234
3 7 $924 $310 $1,234
4 7 $924 $310 $1,234
Total cost:
$4,795

Auto Body Technician

The estimated total cost of 2023/24 tuition and fees in each period of technical training.
Period Number of weeks Tuition fees Additional fees Total
1 6 $792 $301 $1,093
2 6 $792 $301 $1,093
3 7 $924 $310 $1,234
4 7 $924 $310 $1,234
Total cost:
$4,654
A man crosses his arms over planks of wood and smiles at the camera.

Funding options for apprentices

Apprentices get to learn while they earn, but there are still costs to consider. Many resources are available at SAIT and federally to help support apprentices.

Financial aid

Information sessions

Prepare for a strong start in your chosen program or get the details you need to decide your future path.

Our expert staff and faculty are ready to answer your questions and provide information about the following:

  • What sets SAIT apart
  • An introduction to the program and area of study
  • Admission requirements
  • Future career paths
  • Information on the earning potential and graduate employment rates.

Contact

Have more questions?

Technical training at SAIT

School of Transportation

Phone
403.284.8471
Email
transportation.info@sait.ca

Apprenticeship training and registration

Apprenticeship and Industry Training Client Services

Phone
1.800.248.4823
tradesecrets.alberta.ca