Technologies in the paint protection film, ceramic coating, and window tint industries are advancing all the time — and opportunities to earn a living and create an exciting career only keep expanding.
If you are a recent high school graduate (or just looking for a change), you may be wondering how to get started on the path to becoming a professional automotive detailer. Fortunately, reputable paint protection (PPF) and window tint installation companies are always on the lookout for hardworking, eager-to-learn trainees. Here’s how to get a foot in the door and learn the industry from the ground up.
In any career field, seasoned professionals have to start by learning the fundamentals.
All vehicles require proper cleaning and preparation prior to film and coating installation, and many future technicians begin their journey by learning how to thoroughly prep surfaces for tint and paint protection. Starting with the basics allows apprentices to learn about the chemicals used in installation and other tools of the trade under the guidance of master technicians.
Once you have mastered an entry-level position and demonstrated a commitment to the profession, your employer will likely be more open to sponsoring your formal training at an outside installation certification facility. It’s also possible to finance your own certification if you have the funds and a few years to devote to training, but be aware that this is the more costly option.
It can take many hours of practice to become a certified installer and this education can be quite expensive, so previous on-the-job training can pay dividends at this stage of your career. If you’re given the opportunity to learn from a seasoned installer and utilize their connections within the industry for top-of-the-line training, you’ll establish a more direct and affordable path to certification.
Once you complete the training programs, you’ll need to work under a reputable installer to gain experience and improve your marketability as a professional. With patience, passion, and hard work, you can build your portfolio and establish yourself as a sought-after installation technician.
As the name suggests, the automotive detailing industry is best suited for those with an eye for detail. A career as a technician may be great for you if you’re:
Pay for new automotive detailers-in-training is comparable to typical service industry entry-level wages. However, future technicians generally consider this stage of their career as an opportunity to access free education and potentially have their certification sponsored by their employer.
As you grow in your field and apply your new skills, your compensation will increase. Properly certified, established professionals can expect an annual gross income between $70K to $100K depending on their location and the quality of their work.
If you’re interested in automotive detailing, learning more about the industry can help you determine if this career is right for you.
Ask working technicians about their experience in the field, and take advantage of online resources. XPEL expert Marco Cazorla, aka “The Film Trainer” produces a blog filled with insider information about the window tint industry from a professional’s perspective — dive in and get a more complete picture of a day in the life of an automotive detailer.
Are you passionate about the automotive industry? ATD would love to help you get started on your path as a PPF, ceramic coating, or window tint installer.
Reach out to learn more about our current opportunities and requirements.