This industry has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. Cars, construction methods and materials have changed as well, and continue to do so. If you are going to repair vehicles safely, you better understand how to do it properly. Where do you turn for help? There are many different training providers to choose from when looking to educate yourself and your crew on new repair methodology or just to brush up on the basics.
The recognized industry standards are I-CAR, AMI and ASE. Training through these providers is universally regarded as pertinent and up-to-date by collision repairers and insurance companies. This is important because these entities frequently form partnerships through direct repair program (DRP) agreements and need to have a training standard that both groups agree upon.
In recent years, much to my delight, I-CAR has begun to recognize the value of other industry training and apply the credits earned in these areas to I-CAR totals. Doing so has allowed great training, such as from OEMs and paint companies to name a few, to mean something in the world of I-CAR recognized training. Many times in the past, repairers were reluctant to become involved in training that provided only an educational benefit and didn’t allow them by a points system to be part of a DRP. However, I have seen recently a consistent effort by many repairers to stay on top of new industry trends for the educational benefit alone.
So just what are the benefits of investing in training? Let’s take a look.
- The ability to perform repairs on continually more complex vehicles. Today’s automobile is vastly different from the ones of years past. Hybrid technology, lightweight plastics and aluminum construction are part of the everyday reality of working on a modern vehicle. Vehicles are not going to get less complex.
It’s imperative for today’s collision repairer to maintain a high level of knowledge about these newer technologies to stay competitive. I suggest trying to take OEM courses if possible, maybe sponsored by a dealer you partner with. Many OEMs try to keep specific information about new models they produce proprietary, so it is hard for a collision repairer to get valid information on new models without attending classes through an OEM.
In the Midwest, there is a company that offers OEM model-specific classes on many new models before any other source, even before the dealer does. The company is called ATEG, and holds some interesting, detailed and informative classes that go way beyond general repair principals. If you can attend these, I highly recommend it. If they are not available to you, certification by an OEM may be an option. Ask the dealers you buy parts from for information about classes. Email me directly, and I can provide you with contact information for ATEG.