SPRINGFIELD — The Workforce Development Center at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will offer a certified auto-damage appraisal course beginning Tuesday, Nov. 28.
The 60-hour course is designed to train insurance-claims professionals and auto-body technicians for the Massachusetts Auto Damage Appraisers License Examination. Twenty sessions will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., through Feb. 8. The fee is $599, which includes the cost of class materials.
The idea for the course came from William Johnson, a member of the STCC board of trustees, who owns Pleasant Street Auto Body & Repair in South Hadley and Belchertown.
“STCC changed my life,” Johnson said. “I took the course in the late ’70s. I never attended college. I took this one course, and I got my appraiser’s license, which allowed me to open my body shop. It allowed me to expand into the mechanical, towing, and other business entities. It truly was a life-changing experience.”
Johnson said people who complete the certificate and obtain an appraiser’s license will be in demand in the job market. But what does an appraiser need to know?
“You need to have the ability to look at damage and understand the damage and the dynamics of a crash,” he said. “You have primary damage, secondary damage, hidden damage. You need to understand how to reverse that damage, whether it’s by replacing or repairing. You have to have good negotiation skills and good math skills. This course will help prepare someone looking for an entry-level job as an auto damage appraiser.”
An appraisal-industry professional, licensed since 1992, will teach the course. Approved by the Massachusetts Division of Insurance, the training offers an in-depth discussion of insurance regulations, policy arbitration, and work-completion forms. The course will include use of flat-rate manual, collision diagnosis, cost estimation, and preparation of written estimates.
To become licensed, students will need to complete the course and a three-month apprenticeship with a licensed Massachusetts automobile appraiser. In addition, they will need to obtain a certified letter verifying the apprenticeship.
For more information and to enroll online, visit www.stcc.edu/autoappraisal.