12/02/2020 by Val D'Anna
The ideal job candidate, even for entry-level positions, is equipped with different skills and aptitudes than in the recent past. That’s because the complexity of collision repairs has been rapidly changing. One example of a skill you may look for today that you would not have just a few years ago is diagnostic scanning. 
While the top four in-demand skills remained the same for entry-level workers, according to findings of the last Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) Industry Snapshot, diagnostic scanning moved up by 25% as a required skill. The four “must-have” entry-level skills are: prep for paint, R & R bolted parts, repair steel metal dents and final detailing. In addition to these core skills, half of CREF’s 2019 survey respondents said they also expected technicians to be able to perform diagnostic scans. 
Increasingly, a diagnostic scan is the first step of a collision repair, says Jeff Poole, I-CAR Manager and Subject Matter Expert. “Vehicle safety features rely on sensors and sensitive, easily damaged electrical systems; and without a scan, there’s no way of detecting underlying diagnostic trouble codes or system faults. It’s no longer acceptable to rely on malfunction indicator lamps.”
Finding all damage upfront allows accurate estimates and helps keep cycle time to a minimum. OEMS have been responding with position statements on pre- and post-scanning, which in many cases simply highlight the scan requirements listed in their repair procedures. Some OEMS have also published position statements on ADAS scanning and calibration. Finding this information on OEM websites, however, can be challenging. I-CAR’s Repairability Technical Support™ (RTS), free through the end of 2020, offers the OEM Calibrations Requirements Search and helpful articles on topics like Diagnostic Trouble Codes: Don’t Just Clear Codes.
Given the talent shortage and likelihood you plan to hire a technician within the next 12 months, you may be willing to overlook a lack of scanning know-how in an otherwise qualified applicant. I-CAR can be a huge help in getting your new hire educated in scanning techniques with online training ranging from the basics to specific equipment training. 
“A good place to start your technician training plan is with Introduction to Diagnostics and Scan Tools,” recommends I-CAR’s Bud Center, Director, Technical Products and Curriculum. In addition, here are six other online courses in the I-CAR Electrical and Diagnostic technician role path that are devoted to this critical skill:
  Initialization and Calibration of Electronic Systems
Electronic System Diagnostics and Repair
Control Module Programming Overview
Applying Your Diagnostic Skills 1
Applying Your Diagnostic Skills 2