Vehicle body builder

Also known as:

  • Vehicle Body Maker

What they do

Vehicle body builders manufacture purpose built vehicles from engineering plans. They manufacture purpose-built bodies for buses, coaches, horse floats, ambulances, firetrucks and other vehicles. They construct complex frameworks which are then welded, glued and bolted to the vehicle's chassis. These specialist panels are shaped from materials such as metal, aluminium and reinforced plastic using equipment such as a guillotine. Once the vehicle's framework is completed they fit axles, suspension, brakes, handles, locks, hinges, hydraulics and pneumatic systems.

Specialisations include: Coach Builder

Working conditions

Vehicle body builders work in factories or workshops which can at times be busy and noisy. They tend to spend the majority of their day on their feet working around vehicles. These workers are often required to alter assembly line vehicles to meet specific requirements, such as converting standard sedans into the high performance pursuit cars used by the Western Australian Traffic Police.

Tools and technologies

Vehicle body builders work with an array of workshop tools including welding, cutting and shaping machinery. At times they may also use mechanised equipment such as hoists to aid them with tasks. When operating such machinery vehicle body builders are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) for their own safety.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a vehicle body builder, you usually have to complete a vehicle body builder apprenticeship. The apprenticeship usually takes 42 months to complete and is available as a school-based apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Required registration and licensing

To work as a vehicle body builder in Western Australia, you will need to acquire a Motor Vehicle Repairer's Certificate, or work under the supervision of someone who holds a current certificate. A National Police Certificate is required to gain a Motor Vehicle Repairer's Certificate. The certificate is available from the Commissioner of Consumer Protection at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

You may also be interested in