How to become a Panel Beater

Panel Beater

Panel beaters repair damage to metal, plastic and fibreglass bodywork on vehicles. They also make and form vehicle panels using machines or hand tools.

Personal requirements for a Panel Beater

  • Enjoy practical and manual activities
  • Able to work with hand tools and machines
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Able to visualise the end product
  • Normal colour vision
  • Aptitude for technical activities

Education & Training for a Panel Beater

To become a panel beater you usually have to complete an apprenticeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.


Duties & Tasks of a Panel Beater

Panel beaters:

  • Remove damaged panels and components by unbolting or cutting them away
  • Repair damaged body panels with specialist tools and equipment
  • Use measuring, mechanical and hydraulic equipment to restore vehicles to factory clearances
  • Cut and join replacement sections or damaged panels using correct welding procedures
  • Repair dents with plastic fillers, and file, grind and sand repaired surfaces using power and hand tools
  • Fit the repaired panels on the framework of the vehicle and refit body hardware, such as door locks and door trims
  • Replace badly damaged sections with new or second-hand panels
  • Realign chassis and body frames using chassis aligners and measuring systems
  • Remove and replace accident-related mechanical items
  • Remove and replace auto-electric components
  • Help vehicle body builders to build custom-designed, speciality or vintage vehicles
  • Assist with spray painting vehicles.

Tasks

  • Filling depressions with plastic filler, and filing, grinding and sanding repaired surfaces.
  • Removing damaged panels and parts, and removing upholstery and accessories to gain access.
  • May assist vehicle body builders in constructing and restoring custom-designed, vintage and other specialty vehicles.
  • Replacing badly damaged sections with new or second-hand panels.
  • Removing dents by hammering panels.
  • May spray-paint vehicles.
  • Straightening damaged vehicles and parts using mechanical and hydraulic equipment.
  • Cutting and joining replacement sections using welding equipment.
  • Fitting repaired or replacement panels on vehicles and refitting body hardware such as door locks and trims.

Working conditions for a Panel Beater

Panel beaters work in workshops and wear protective clothing.


Employment Opportunities for a Panel Beater

Panel beaters mainly work for crash repairers, new and used car dealers and motor vehicle manufacturers. A few work for motor body builders on the construction of new bodywork. Panel beaters may progress to supervisory and management positions, especially in larger organisations. They may also establish their own motor vehicle repair businesses. Others may move across from panel beating to related occupations such as vehicle painting and welding. Some become loss assessors in insurance companies or take up sales positions in industrial machinery and equipment. Employment opportunities depend on the number of cars on the road, the number of accidents and technological change, especially in vehicle body structures and materials.


Specializations

Panel Beater

Panel beaters repair damage to metal, plastic and fibreglass bodywork on vehicles. They also make and form vehicle panels using machines or hand tools.

  • Average age
    Average age
    41 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Stable
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    2% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    43 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,280
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Medium skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    89% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    16,100 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.1%
    NSW: 32.9%
    NT: 0.7%
    QLD: 18.4%
    SA: 8.1%
    TAS: 2.0%
    VIC: 27.3%
    WA: 9.6%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 5.3%
    20-24: 10.4%
    25-34: 20%
    35-44: 22.3%
    45-54: 23.1%
    55-59: 9.3%
    60-64: 6.1%
    65 and Over: 3.4%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 1.6%
    Bachelor degree: 0.8%
    Certificate III/IV: 78.9%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 0.1%
    Year 10 and below: 9.6%
    Year 11: 2.7%
    Year 12: 6.3%
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