Crash course

Start an auto collision repair career in one year

We’ve all been there: you’re backing down the driveway and suddenly you hear the scraping of metal and feel a jolt as you crash into the back of a family member’s vehicle.

Okay, so maybe we haven’t all done that… but you probably have experienced a fender bender of some kind, or know someone who has. To fix the dents, scratches and crushed metal, we rely on auto collision technicians.

With more than 270 million cars on the road in the United States, the demand for these skilled professionals is high. Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC) has offered a program in the field for years, and starting this fall, students can complete their training in just one year.

Yes, you can be well on your way to a high-demand career in as little as one year. It’s a change aimed to help students enter the workforce faster and meet local demand for trained professionals.

Quick Facts

One-year Diploma program

Certificate also available

$42,350 per year: 2019 Median Annual Wage for Auto Body Technicians, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

“We need technicians badly,” said Darrell Erdman, Auto Collison Repair Instructor. “Every shop in the area needs technicians; we’re offering a one-year program so students can get started in the industry and be ready to rock and roll.”

Students are trained in areas of panel straightening, refinishing, structural and non-structural repair, plastics repair, welding, panel alignment, estimating and more. Computer and technical skills are also emphasized, with cars increasingly containing complex computer systems and sensors. In addition, the program is certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

“I’ve learned a tremendous amount,” said student Darnell Hodges. “My instructor can tell you, I didn’t know anything when I came here.”

Hodges entered the program after discovering he has a talent and passion for selling cars. He was familiar with Scott Community College (SCC) having taken liberal arts classes years ago, so started to look into the college’s auto programs to learn more about the mechanical and cosmetic side of vehicles.

“I wanted to learn more of that part of it, instead of just jumping straight into car auctions and starting a car lot. At the time, that was what I wanted to do.”

Fast-forward a year and he’s learned skills like welding, sanding and painting, just to name a few, in the college’s large shop and state-of-the-art paint booth. Receiving hands-on training in a facility that rivals many shops has only reaffirmed his decision to enroll and made him more excited for the future.

“I like to see that we put a dent in a vehicle and our instructor teaches us how to fix it, and not only just fix it, but fix it to a point where you’re super proud of yourself. I like that a lot about it; it’s fun,” Hodges said.

“When I leave here, I’ll feel like an expert. I feel like I know the things I need to know and have the tools I need in order to succeed in this career.”

In addition to Auto Collision Repair Technology, the college also offers programs in Automotive Technology and Diesel Technology at Scott Community College’s Career and Technical Education building.

Learn more about our new one-year Auto Collision Repair program at

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