How to Become an Auto Glass Technician in 5 Steps
Explore the career requirements for auto glass technicians. Get the facts about training requirements, job outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you.
What Does An Auto Glass Technician Do?
Auto glass technicians are responsible for reviewing glass damage on automobiles to decide whether it can be repaired. They then either fix the chip or crack or, if the glass cannot be repaired, remove and replace it. They must also clean the windshield frame and check to make sure it has not rusted before reapplying sealant and installing any new glass. Most employers look for auto glass technicians with formal training in the field, often through a collision repair program. The table provides information on the training, job outlook and salary potential for auto glass technicians.
|Training Required||Postsecondary certificate or associate's degree|
|Education Field of Study||Automotive body repair, collision repair, automotive refinishing|
|Key Skills||Hand-eye coordination, attention to detail, dexterity, time management|
|Certification||Certification is optional|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||4% (for all automotive glass installers and repairers)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$34,170 (for all automotive glass installers and repairers)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Is an Auto Glass Technician?
An auto glass technician is a specialist in the repair and replacement of windshields, door glass, sunroofs and rear window glass. Their job duties during an installation include removing molding and other exterior trim; removing pieces of broken glass and other debris; applying primer to metal; seating glass in its allotted space; applying adhesive; testing for leaks and noise; and restoring trim after adhesive has cured.
Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma
Entry into the auto repair field requires a high school diploma or GED, even if you have no plans for further education. Few, if any, high schools have glass repair courses, but some do have courses in auto body repair that develop your skills with hand tools and the process of shaping materials. If your school has no automotive classes, shop classes provide more general training in tools and materials handling. Mathematics courses are helpful for preparing you to measure and calculate physical areas accurately.
Step 2: Consider a Program in Collision Repair
Many collision repair certificate programs offered at community colleges and vocational schools include a course in servicing auto glass. Course content covers removal, replacement, alignment and adjustment of movable and stationary glass. You also receive instruction in all other aspects of auto body work, such as damage assessment, welding and cutting, dent removal, painting and frame repair. Having a broader skill set may be helpful in finding employment.
Step 3: Take Courses in Glass Repair
Independent courses in glass repair are also available through community colleges and vocational schools in collaboration with the National Glass Association (NGA) and through such organizations as the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR). The properties of glass, removal and installation methods, tools, adhesives and glass safety standards are among the topics you can expect to encounter. Some programs include a short internship to help you establish yourself.
Step 4: Find a Job
Auto glass installers and repairers included 19,640 workers in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Auto repair shops employ a majority of glass repairers, but you can also find a small number of opportunities with car dealers. The development of safety features designed to prevent collisions is expected to be a limiting factor on job growth. As of May 2018, the median annual salary of auto glass installers and repairers was $34,170.
Step 5: Consider Certification
Obtaining certification demonstrates your knowledge, competence and professionalism as a technician. Certification is available from at least two organizations - the Independent Glass Association (IGA) and the NGA.
To earn IGA certification, you must complete their certification course. It consists of ten modules covering such topics as stationary and movable installation, parts and supplies, glass cutting techniques, tools and adhesives. IGA requires you to have at least six months of experience in auto glass replacement and to have demonstrated competency in basic math.
NGA offers the Certified Auto Glass Technician (CAGT) and Certified Master Auto Glass Technician (CMAGT) credentials. The CAGT exam is divided into three topic areas - safety procedures, glass service and pattern making. The CMAGT exam cover five topic areas - safety, electrical, leak detection, glass cutting and industry information. To be eligible for the CAGT exam, you need a minimum of six months of work experience in auto glass replacement. Eligibility for the CMAGT exam requires three years of experience. You have the option to take both exams in one sitting if you qualify for both.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
If you complete a collision repair program, you will also be qualified for a number of other jobs, like auto body repair. These professionals perform many similar duties to those of glass technicians, but instead focus on the overall frame and body of the car. Collision repair programs may include courses in topics like welding or painting. You could choose to focus in one of these fields as well. Professional welders cut metal pieces and may work on cars or other machines and equipment with metal parts. Professional painters could specialize in auto body painting or in other areas, like cabinetry painting or exterior painting.