Training options abound for collision repairers

Sept. 5, 2022
From the latest technology to improving operations, help is available, sometimes for free and at your convenience.

There has never been a greater need for formal training than now. Advanced materials and other construction techniques have long required training and referring to OEM repair procedures to keep vehicle occupants safe. ADAS has added another layer of complexity to that responsibility. But now, with the advent of electric vehicles, what your technicians don’t know can kill them. And on the management side, profitability has never been more challenging, with increasing paint and material costs, supply chain challenges, and insurer pressures.

The good news is there is help available from the industry, with multiple training options ranging from free online classes that can be taken on a lunch break, to multiple-day in-person, fee-based courses.

Here are just some training options available, with topics ranging from proper body filler application to EV safety. OEM certification programs and multi-shop networks also have training available.

3M Collision Repair Academy

The 3M Collision Repair Academy ( offers a total of 39 classes, including one in-person, two-and-a-half-day class for collision repair instructors offered at no cost. Six on-demand classes are offered by 3M that, through the I-CAR’s Sustaining Partners Program, allow the attendee to earn credit toward knowledge areas and training requirements for the I-CAR Gold Class Professionals and Platinum Individual designation programs.

Automotive Management Institute

The Automotive Management Institute (AMi, offers a number of collision repair-oriented courses, including accredited collision repair estimator and accredited master collision repair estimator. In June, it announced it was adding on-demand EV technical training to its offerings through a partnership with vehicle electrification expert and former GM engineer Dr. Mark Quarto, who is an instructor for Future Tech.

The subscription provides 51 hours of 15 course modules that the student can take at his or her own pace over the course of a year Courses include safety and personal protective equipment, various EV-specific systems and how to analyze them, and how the charging systems work. The $1,200 tuition fee allows up to three students with their own logins. Each can track his or her progress, or AMi can provide updates. Upon successful completion, the student will graduate with the newly created professional designation of Accredited Master Electric Vehicle Manager (AMEV).

Automotive Training Institute

The Automotive Training Institute ( offers onsite and virtual training (including some no-charge webinars, such as “Top Collision Strategies for Growing Shop Profits”) and coaching from a team of 34 full-time certified coaches in estimating skills, performance-based production solutions, and insurer negotiations.


DRIVE ( is an automotive, collision, and truck repair consulting and training group that offers coaching and informative workshops. According to the company, “the purpose of DRIVE is to enhance the quality of life and improve the standard of living of shop owners throughout the automotive repair industry. The entire DRIVE team believes shop owners deserve to be well compensated for their hard work. They have earned it. Success and profit go hand-in-hand. An increase in shop profits requires sharp management skill. The mission of DRIVE is to fully arm shop owners with every executive ability needed to win.”


About 40 years after its founding, “An even better I-CAR” launched Oct. 7, 2019, with an updated curriculum, enhanced recognition programs, and the use of more sophisticated technology to ease business.

One change is that welding certification must be renewed every three years, and structural technicians must be trained on welding.

Companies that are members of the Industry Training Alliance ( offer training that can be applied toward I-CAR credits. There is no longer a fee associated with applying credit for those courses, a benefit of I-CAR’s Sustaining Partner Program.

Paint manufacturers

Every major brand paint manufacturer offers technical training at its regional training/business development center. Even veteran painters who go into the training with an open mind can benefit from breaking bad habits or observing new application techniques. There are also demand-based (watch anytime) or scheduled webinars. Some have a tuition fee, and some are at no cost to customers; check with your paint supplier for details and an updated class schedule. Also be sure to check with your paint and parts suppliers for training they offer. Help is available; you just have to be open to looking for it.

About the Author

Jay Sicht | Editor-in-Chief, FenderBender and ABRN

Jay Sicht is editor-in-chief of FenderBender and ABRN. He has worked in the automotive aftermarket for more than 28 years, including in a number of sales and technical roles in paint/parts distribution and service/repair. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Central Missouri with a minor in aviation, and as a writer and editor, he has covered all segments of the automotive aftermarket for more than 20 of those years, including formerly serving as editor-in-chief of Motor Age and Aftermarket Business World. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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