Apprenticeship is a method of gaining the expertise needed to become a skilled tradesperson. This is done through a combination of on-the-job experience and classroom training.
The term of apprenticeship for auto body technician is 4 years, (four 12-month periods), including
- a minimum of 1,600 hours of on-the-job training and 4 weeks of technical training in the first year
- 1,600 hours of on-the-job training and 6 weeks of technical training in the second year
- 1,500 hours of on-the-job training and 7 weeks of technical training in the third and fourth years
Once training has been completed, the apprentice writes provincial examinations set by the Government of Alberta and becomes certified as a journeyperson.
The first period of technical training is 4 weeks in length. Apprentices are trained in regulations, component removal and installation, maintenance and identification of body shop tools, vehicle construction techniques, surface preparation, and pre-delivery skills. Apprentices are also introduced to some electrical skills.
The second period of technical training is 6 weeks in length. This period focuses on vehicle refinishing procedures and techniques. Apprentices are trained in colour matching, blending and topcoat application, as well as using a computer-operated colour mixing system. Apprentices are also trained in paint damage analysis and estimating.
The third period of technical training is 7 weeks in length. Apprentices receive more in-depth training in electrical diagnostics, cooling, heating and air conditioning systems. A considerable amount of time is spent in Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding. Apprentices are also introduced to metal repair and replacement, composite repair, non-structural damage and repair procedures.
The fourth period of technical training is 7 weeks in length. Apprentices focus on heavy collision repair, which includes topics such as estimating, collision and damage analysis, and diagnosis and repair of chassis components. Apprentices also receive training in structural and frame damage repair techniques, occupant restraint systems, glass replacement, drive train, fuel, exhaust and brake systems, and hubs, tire wheels and wheel alignment.