Students working at table
Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

Certificate of Applied Science (CAS)

It’s no secret that fender-benders and deer collisions are frequent happenings here in Montana.  What is less well known is that City College at MSU Billings offers the state’s only post-secondary Automobile Collision Repair and Refinishing (ACR&R) program to train the skilled workers necessary for getting those vehicles back on the road and looking like new.  Our hands-on approach to education and high-tech lab setting gives you the confidence and skills that you need to estimate the cost of a repair job, repair damage to the frame and body of vehicles (including aluminum repair and paintless dent repair), and refinish repaired surfaces.  Our close connections to the local industry mean you can pick up real-world experience through internship opportunities.  City College has a variety of services available to help you land your dream job either close to home or across the country!

Program Details

Cost of Attendance

City College - Associate Degrees & Certificates

  • Additional program fees are listed at bottom of the COA page
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Automobile Body Repairers

Median Wage (MT)* $38,450 yearly
  $18.48 per hour

Median Wage (US)* $41,970 yearly

$20.18 per hour

City College entry-level wages of graduates:
 $21,500  (2014-2017)**

Expected Growth (MT)* 15%
Expected Growth (US)* 9%

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Employment Projections; MT Dept. of Labor and Industry, Research and Analysis Bureau; (projections through 2024)

»»  Graduate Placement Data 

As an ACR&R technician, you will find employment in a variety of settings, such as:

  • Major Dealerships
  • Independent and Specialty Body Shops
  • Detailing Shops
  • Vehicle Restoration Shops
  • Specialty Parts Shops
  • Insurance Companies

 Examples of where recent City College graduates are working:

  • Denny Menholt Chevrolet, Billings, MT
  • American Auto Body, Billings, MT
  • National Coatings and Supplies, Billings, MT
  • Boeing Co, Helena MT


  • First-time college students must have high school diplomas from an accredited high school, a GED/HiSET, or passed the MSUB Readiness Exam offered through our university.
  • Transfer students will need to submit records from all regionally accredited institutions.

Montana State University Billings is accredited by the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).  

In addition, the Automobile Collision Repair and Refinishing program at City College is accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). 

Upon completion of this program, students are encouraged to sit for the ASE (Automotive Services Excellence) Certification Tests. 

Automobile Collision Repair Technology


Automobile Refinishing Technology
» »

Automobile Collision Repair and Refinishing Technology

A student may exit this program after completing two semesters and receive a Certificate of Applied Science (CAS) in Automobile Collision Repair Technology or a Certificate of Applied Science (CAS) in Automobile Refinishing Technology. For those wanting to attend four semesters, the college offers an Associate of Applied Science degree (AAS) in Automobile Collision Repair and Refinishing Technology.

Automobile Collision Repair and Refinishing Technology » »


Students who earn an AAS degree and want to further their education and thus, career, are able to go on for a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) Degree through MSU Billings.  Students can focus on various thematic concentrations to earn a BAS degree.  Contact the MSU Billings Advising Center at 406-657-2240 for further details. 

Q: Is this program hands-on?

A: Yes! The majority of your time in the program is spent working hands-on in our high-tech lab. In addition, our program contains core auto body classroom work to help build a strong foundation for how the industry works and some general education courses to help not only land your dream job but to continue growing within your field.  

Q: What skills are covered in the program?

A: The Automobile Collision Repair & Refinishing AAS degree covers collision and cosmetic repairs, as well as refinishing skills (prep and painting). Specific skills include: plastic repair; minor sheet metal repair; welding; panel replacement; measuring with laser and mechanical measuring systems; removal and replacement of sheet metal panels, glass, and plastic body parts; damage analysis and estimation; electrical wiring for vehicles; paintless dent repair; panel and overall refinishing using the latest techniques and equipment; paint blending and color matching; waterborne paint; custom painting; determining causes and cures of surface defects; undercoats, types and applications, and automotive plastic identification.  

Q: Do I have to purchase my own tools?

A: Yes, there are required tools for the Auto Collision Repair & Refinishing programs. These required items are tools that you will need to own and continue to use when you begin a career in the ACR&R field, so purchasing a good set of tools as a student is a long-term investment in your career.  Please visit the Tool Room Website for more information on required tools.   

Q: When do I need my tools by?

A: It is highly recommended that students wait until the first week of classes to purchase any new tools. At the beginning of each fall and spring semester, City College invites tool vendors to campus to display and sell their tools at discounted prices (usually around 50% discounts).

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