Each year American drivers log millions of miles on the highways, and each year there are thousands of accidents that will require the service of a trained technician to repair these vehicles. The Auto Collision Repair & Refinish program teaches students to examine vehicles to determine type and extent of damaged parts, both cosmetic and structural. This program is fast-paced and intensive, as today's complex vehicles are constructed with high strength steel, plastics and computer systems. During the year, the student learns mig welding, straightening techniques, proper use of plastic fillers, surface preparation, and refinishing techniques. This program is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Education Foundation.

  • Overview
  • Is This Program for You?

    If you are driven, highly motivated, love cars, possess a keen eye for detail, and love hands-on work, this field may be just the career for you.

    Students entering the Auto Collision Repair & Refinish Technician program should:

    • Enjoy working on all types of cars.
    • Work well with details and have good hand dexterity.
    • Have good communication and human relation skills.
    • Be able to lift 60 pounds and have good vision.
    • Like the challenge of fixing things.
    • Appreciate the beauty of returning an auto to pre-accident condition.

    Program Basics

    • Technical diploma, requiring a minimum of one year to complete.
    • Day classes.
    • High school articulation courses accepted.
    • Financial aid available.
    • Classes start in the fall.
    • ASE Master Certified program.
  • Curriculum & Costs
  • Cost of Attendance (COA) 24-25

    Cost of Attendance (COA) is a total of all the usual expenses of being a student. The COA sets the maximum amount of financial aid a student can receive.

    Category Amount
    Tuition and Fees $4,820
    Living Expenses (Housing and Food) $9,148
    Books and Supplies $1,466
    Personal Expenses $3,608
    Transportation $4,018
    Charger Tech 360 Fee $600
    Loan Fees $84
    Yearly Total (Living Away from Home) $23,744
    1 Semester Total (Living Away from Home) $11,872

    Based on Wisconsin Residents.

    Approximate school costs are for a full-time (12 credit) student over a semester span of 17 weeks.

    Fees are legislated by the Wisconsin Technical College System Board.

    These costs are estimates and are subject to change without notice.

  • Requirements
  • Admission and Program Requirements

    • Submit Application
    • To make sure your classes are the right fit, we consider any previous college credit you've earned, Accuplacer or ACT scores, high school GPA, or an assessment at your registration session. Submit High School Transcripts, College Transcripts, and Test Scores to: Southwest Tech, Attn: Admissions, 1800 Bronson Blvd, Fennimore, WI 53809
    • Admissions Preference Policy

      Priority for program acceptance will be given in this order until May 1, 2024:

      1. Southwest Wisconsin Technical College District Residents (permanent address is in one of Southwest Tech’s 30 school districts the College serves) Southwest Tech District Information
      2. Non-District State Residents
      3. Out-of-State Residents

    Helpful Academic Background

    • Math, communications, and technical education courses.

    Program Fees

    • This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
    • Estimated cost for each semester can be found under the Curriculum tab. Please note that costs are approximate and are based on the current academic year.
    • Please discuss additional fee questions with the program advisor or instructor.

    Additional requirements

    Students must have eyewear protection (safety glasses with side shields or wrap around safety glasses over prescription glasses) and must meet OSHA Z87.1 or greater at all times within the lab areas. These glasses are included in the student supplies kit through the Bookstore.

  • Outcomes
  • Program Outcomes

    At the completion of the program, students are expected to be able to:

    • Straighten Collision Damaged Sheet Metal
    • Refinish Automobile Body Parts
    • Replace Non Structural Panels and Parts
    • Perform collision repair welding procedures​

    Technical Skill Attainment (TSA)

    This TSA scoring guide will be used to document your attainment of technical program outcomes for the Auto Collision Repair & Refinish Degree. To meet the requirements on the scoring guide, you will be asked to draw upon the skills and concepts that have been developed throughout the program and are necessary for successful employment in your field. Results will be used to inspire continual improvement of teaching and learning in Wisconsin Technical College System. In addition, this assessment will provide feedback to you about your performance.

    If you are unable to access documents here, please contact Technical Skill Attainment Team (tsa@swtc.edu, 608.822.2464)
  • Career Opportunities
  • With an increase in the number and value of autos on the road, there is also an increasing need for graduates from this program. The following are some career possibilities:

    • Auto Body Technician: Repairs damage or replaces parts and then refinishes.
    • Painting Technician: Paints vehicles or works as an industrial painter.
    • Auto Glass Replacement Specialist: Removes and replaces or repairs all types of glass or glass-related problems.
    • Estimator: Works in larger shops doing initial estimates and work schedules.
    • Custom Painter: Designs and applies custom paint and graphics.
    • Paint and Equipment: Works for distributor supplying products to repair facilities.
    • Insurance Adjustor: Works for insurance companies determining repair costs.
    • Frame and Alignment Technician: Straightens, welds, replaces, and aligns all types of frames and unibody structures.

    Southwest Tech's Career Connections Center offers Services to assist students looking for job placement.

  • Transfers
  • Prior Learning
  • Credit for Prior Learning

    Experience Pays! You've Been There... You've Done That... Let's See If You Can Get Credit For It!

    Credit for prior learning gives you opportunities to earn credit for college-level knowledge that you have already acquired. This may be the result of work or volunteer experiences, certifications, apprenticeships, military training, extensive self-instruction, or professional development. Credit for Prior Learning affords you the opportunity to accelerate the completion of your educational goals.

    For more information on Credit for Prior Learning see our Credit for Prior Learning page.

    At any time, you may Request Credit for Prior Learning.

    Auto Collision Repair & Refinish Technician Courses that may have Credit for Prior Learning options:

    Course # Course Title
    Challenge Exam
    Challenge Exam
    31-804-305Applied MathematicsYes
    College Mathematics CLEP Test would also be accepted.
  • Accreditation