April 22nd, 2019 by Fix Auto USA
Auto body repair isn’t just about making your car look good again after an accident or collision. It’s also about making sure your vehicle is structurally sound and safe to operate once you’re back on the road. For four decades, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) has dedicated itself to teaching and supporting the highest standards of repair work throughout the auto repair industry. I-CAR recognition signifies that individuals and shops have the training and knowledge to perform complete, safe, and quality repairs.
The Industry Standard
I-CAR is an international not-for-profit organization that specializes in the training and evaluation of auto repairs. Founded in 1979, I-CAR brought together experts from six segments of the collision repair industry. These included collision repair, insurance, vehicle manufacturers, education, training and research, tools, equipment and supply, and related industry services. The primary purpose of this collaboration was to provide a continuing education resource for auto body repair technicians. Since then, I-CAR has become the industry standard for excellence in auto collision repair.
Forty years later, I-CAR continues to represent and serve these six segments of the auto repair industry, with a focus on providing them with access to high-quality training solutions that can be consistently applied throughout the industry. Both training and an education organization, I-CAR also encourages ongoing conversations in the industry on issues that impact collision repair. I-CAR provides its training and educational services throughout the U.S.
Why Is I-CAR Recognition Important?
In the auto body repair industry, safety is always the top priority. Incorrect or incomplete repairs put drivers at risk, and every auto repair customer has the right to expect their car will be restored to a safe operating condition. At the same time, the auto repair industry has always been one of ongoing change and evolution, and now more so than ever.
New tools and technologies are constantly being developed to keep up with the high-tech materials and capabilities of today’s cars. As a result, today’s tools and repair procedures require a high level of expertise to use them properly. I-CAR’s ongoing training programs ensure that repair technicians, shop owners, manufacturers, and insurers stay up to date with the most current techniques and technologies while maintaining solid safety standards. When you see the I-CAR logo on the wall of an auto body repair shop, you know they have received the highest level of skill, training, and excellence in the business.
Two Levels of Expertise
I-CAR recognizes both individuals and auto body repair shops who have demonstrated mastery of their rigorous standards. Individual technicians who have completed the I-CAR training earn a Platinum designation, signifying the highest level of training in the industry. To maintain this sought-after status, technicians must take continuing education courses involving the latest techniques and safety procedures. An auto body shop that employs a minimum of four Platinum-rated technicians receives a “Gold Class Professional” designation and is entitled to display the I-CAR logo at their place of business and on their website.
To achieve the Platinum designation, technicians must successfully complete I-CAR’s Professional Development Program (PDP) – a unique training program designed and developed with input from different segments of the collision repair industry. This comprehensive training program gives collision repair professionals the knowledge and skills required to perform complete, safe, and quality repairs. More important, PDP takes every student through a distinct training path that addresses their specific role in the industry. Because PDP training is regularly updated to reflect current collision repair techniques, technicians can continually build upon their existing knowledge base and skill sets.
Specialized Training for Each Technician Role
The I-CAR PDP offers Platinum recognition in six collision repair technician roles:
- Non-structural technician
- Steel structural technician
- Refinish technician
- Aluminum structural technician
- Electrical/mechanical technician
In each role, technicians must demonstrate mastery of the knowledge by passing the classes required for three different levels of training, called “ProLevels”.
Technicians who pass ProLevel 1 earn their individual Platinum designation. This status must be renewed on an annual basis and requires passing ProLevel 2 within 12 months of earning the ProLevel 1 designation. Technicians must then pass ProLevel 3 within 12 months of passing ProLevel 2. From there, Platinum designated technicians are required to complete at least six credit hours of relevant professional training every year. This results in a targeted training program that ensures technicians stay current and expert in their specific auto body repair role.
Gold Class Professional Designation for Shops
I-CAR Gold Class Professional designation represents the highest level of professionalism and expertise an auto body repair shop can obtain. It also takes a lot of hard work and a true commitment to providing customers with the finest auto body repair experience available.
To earn the I-CAR Gold Class Professional designation, a shop must have an I-CAR Platinum Individual designated employee who serves as a role representative in each of the refinish technician, steel structural technician, non-structural technician, and estimator categories. All other employees must complete at least six credit hours of role-relevant training within 12 months of the shop applying for Gold Class designation.
I-CAR Training = Confidence in Your Repairs
I-CAR’s vision is that “every person in the collision repair industry has the information, knowledge, and skills required to perform complete, safe and quality repairs for the ultimate benefit of the consumer.” When you take your damaged car to an I-CAR Gold Class shop, you know that the repairs will be performed according to the most rigorous industry standards. Most important, you can have confidence that your car will be safe to operate when you drive away from the shop.
We are proud to say that in order to be invited to become a Fix Auto USA Franchise Location, every shop must earn the Gold Class designation. That way we know the repairs from every shop are conducted according to industry best practices and our customers’ cars will be safe to drive once they’re back on the road.