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Auto damage estimator

Duration of training: 8 weeks (evening)
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Description of the training

If you are passionate about bodywork, and you have excellent judgment and a keen sense of observation that can scrutinize every detail of a damaged vehicle, read on to learn more.

The job of an automobile damage estimator is very detailed and requires foundational knowledge of vehicle construction and repair, and a lot of collision repair experience. These professionals also possess a comprehensive set of skills to perform their work:

Training available in french only

  • Customer Service – Automobile damage estimators have the duty of explaining to customers the extent of vehicle damage and the necessary measures it will take to fix it, so establishing a good rapport with customers is essential.

  • Record-Keeping – Automobile damage estimators need to capture and input a lot of different information into computer systems and should be proficient in this area.

  • Communication – Automobile damage estimators need to communicate technical concepts that can be rather complex to the ordinary person; great damage estimators are very effective at breaking down those complexities for customers.

  • Mobility – Automobile damage estimators are not always going to have damaged vehicles delivered to their place of business. That means they may have to be mobile and check out the damaged cars at a variety of locations.

  • Interpersonal – Automobile damage estimators do more than assess vehicles. They also converse with people on a daily basis quite a bit, involving some uncomfortable conversations in person and over the phone, so it’s important to have strong interpersonal skills.

What we describe above are the main attributes of an established estimator. But where to start?

The first step in your journey to becoming an integral part of an auto body shop’s collision repair process as an automobile damage estimator apprentice is to choose ITA.

We get you started on day 1!  ITA courses are designed for the real world and focus on the skills that hiring managers at auto body repair shops want to see in an estimator apprentice. Here are some examples of duties you may be called upon to perform:

  • Conduct vehicle damage inspections

ITA students are taught to identify damage to the body structure, mechanical configuration, electrical engineering, or interior of the vehicle and determine what repairs will be needed to restore it. Review findings with your supervisor.

  • Prepare cost estimate recommendations

Once the damage to a vehicle has been analyzed and assessed, a review of the damage and cost of repairs generated by the system from the input entered by the estimator, is verified with the repair technician who will perform the repairs and the shop supervisor to ensure accuracy.

  • Create repair orders with a description of problems

Once all parties involved (customer, insurer, auto body repair shop) are in agreement with the final repair estimate, detailed work orders are generated, which include descriptions of the work to be performed, the estimated time to perform each task, the list of replacement auto parts, cost of labour, and other materials.

Our hands-on approach means you’ll be given the opportunity to assess damaged vehicles directly and learn the base techniques needed to produce the input information the Mitchell / Audatex automated estimating tools require. Progressing in difficulty, each estimate generated by these systems is reviewed and discussed. More complex front, side and rear impact estimates are graded so the student learns a variety of realistic estimating skills.

We want to invite you to experience our program for yourself. Our admissions team is ready to answer any questions you might have about it, so feel free to reach out for additional details. If you’re interested in visiting in person, we’d be happy to arrange a visit to our school so you can see our students and instructors in action.

The modules present in the training
Module duration: 3h

To prepare students to enter the automobile damage estimation field by leaning the base techniques of inspection of damaged vehicles, the preparation of repair costs estimates using automated estimating programs (Audatex/Mitchell).

Upon completion of the ITA Automobile Damage Estimator program, the student will have the skills and knowledge to prepare a complete and accurate electronic estimate using automated system data as well as practical repair formulas and structural analysis methods. Students will be able to...

  • Identify a road vehicle.

  • Accurately identify damage arising from an accident and relating only to this accident.

  • Provide his mandator with the origin or causes of an accident, where applicable.

  • Identify the adequate method of repair in accordance with the rules of the profession, manufacturer’s recommendations and regulations.

  • Assess the cost of repairs factoring in the competitive environment and respect all automobile damage appraisal directives, standards and procedures.

  • Determine the value of a road vehicle.

  • Ensure that an automobile damage appraisal meets the required standards.

  • Validate that the repairs made are in accordance with the damage appraisal.

  • In connection with his/her activities, draft, document and back-up any report.

The Code of Ethics for Automobile Estimators sets out the rules of conduct to which estimators must adhere in the performance of their duties as estimators.


  • The role of the estimator.

  • Standards and procedures according to the group of insurers.

Vehicles are a maze of interacting mechanical-electrical systems which on average, incorporate some 15 000 parts. Vehicle construction refers to how a vehicle is made. Different types of construction require different methods of repair.


  • Define the most important parts of a vehicle

  • Identify vehicle interior assemblies

  • Explain body design and frame variations

  • Compare unibody and body-over-frame construction

  • Identify the major structural parts, sections, and assemblies of body-over-frame vehicles

  • Identify the major structural parts, sections and assemblies of unibody vehicles

  • Describe the various types of vehicle glass, metals and other materials used in fabrication.

  • Vehicle paint types and common problems (spotting, decolouration, chipping, etc.)

Summarize how to classify vehicles by body, engine, and drivetrain configurations

Overview of the major mechanical components of a vehicle, knowledge required to assess collision-related damage to mechanical systems.


Become familiar with and quickly identify the parts integral to the following major mechanical components of a vehicle.

  • Brakes

  • Engine & Drive Train

  • Engine Cooling Systems

  • Fuel, Intake, and Exhaust Systems

  • Heating and Air Conditioning

  • Restraint Systems

  • Suspension and Steering

  • Wheels and tires

Overview of electronic systems used in vehicles, including engine management, ignition, radio, carputers, telematics, in-car entertainment systems, and others. Knowledge required to assess collision-related damage to these systems.


Become familiar with and quickly identify the parts integral to the following electronic components of a vehicle.

  • Engine electronics (engine control unit (ECU) & sensors)

  • Transmission electronics (controls shifting of gears)

  • Chassis electronics (ABS, traction & stability control, etc.)

  • Passive safety (Airbags & sensors)

  • Driver assistance (Park assist, Pre-collision assist, Blindspot detection, etc.)

  • Passenger comfort (Climate control, Electronic seat adjustment, Automatic headlamps, etc.)

  • Entertainment systems (Vehicle audio/video, Navigation, CarPlay)

  • Electronic integrated cockpit systems (Instrument cluster, Rear camera, Surround View Systems, etc.)

Auto repair labor rates vary widely across the country, and even within the same city. This module will help you better understand autobody/repair labor rates and how they’re established and can deviate from industry average.


Learn to calculate cost of labour understanding the factors autobody/repair shops use to establish labour rates, like:

  • Shop location (Urban vs rural)

  • Vehicle makes and models serviced (mainstream vs. luxury/exotic)

  • Repair shop type (dealership, independent, etc.)

  • Skill levels and certifications of autobody/repair technicians

  • National and local labour rate averages

Learn how to navigate and use estimating software to create accurate damage estimates that can be shared with all stakeholders.


  • Introduction to software-based estimating

  • The Work List

  • Starting a New Estimate

  • Adding Damages to the Estimate

  • Adding Manual Entries to an Estimate

  • Adding Photos to an Estimate

  • Close the Estimate

Through a series of practical exercises, perform the work of a damage estimator.


  • Vehicle identification – what to look for and where

  • Estimating exercises – demonstrate skills on front, side and rear impacts

  • Accurately estimate repair/refinishing time

  • Damage estimating resources – ability to use software-based research tools

  • Estimating for storm damages – water, flood, and hail

  • Determine when it’s a total loss – what to look for

  • Estimating for new generation vehicles – Hybrid and Electric

Career Opportunities

Automobile damage estimators have the option of working for a collision repair shop, insurance company or as an independent adjuster. These different options come with differences in pay. Working for a collision repair shop is likely to be a salary-based job. Meanwhile, working as an adjuster features the potential to earn a regular commission to go along with a base salary. That provides collision estimators with the incentive to work with a higher volume of clients. And in the event that there is a natural disaster or devastating storm, independent collision adjusters could see their commissions increase significantly. Whichever option you choose, ITA will help you achieve your goals.

The candidates sought are known for their rigour, courtesy, tact, flexibility and versatility. In addition, their background shows an ability to work simultaneously on different files.

Rapid access

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Targeted occupations
  • Automobile (all powered lite vehicles)

  • Heavy vehicles and equipment

Work places
  • Collision Repair Shop

  • Appraisal Companies

  • Insurance Companies

  • Independent Adjustors

  • Vehicle Manufacturer