Collision Detailing Program Integration

Posted on Categories Project-based Learning, Student Engagement

At a Glance

Seniors in the collision and refinishing technology program at Dauphin County Technical School (DCTS) research local detailing shops and then create a school-based detailing service.


During the 2018-2019 school year, the collision and refinishing technology program implemented a new collision detailing program. The goal of the program is to provide students with “real world” learning experiences that allow them to develop and apply their technical and employability skills.

Seniors in the program research local detailing shops – finding out which services they provide and the pricing for these services – and then use this information to set up their own shop at the school. Students usually spend about a week researching local shops. They then determine what materials they will need for their own shop, the services they will offer, and the price for each of these services.

Typically, the detailing shop opens after the first marking period. Students in the collision and refinishing technology program collaborate with commercial art students to create commercials for the morning announcements. (Students work only on vehicles owned by faculty and staff members.) Underclassmen help with the detailing jobs in the shop. To manage the program, students sign up to be shop foreman once a quarter. They use a Google form to do this so that all students can access the form and remain aware of scheduling.

During the first year of the program, faculty and students addressed some challenges. After an abundance of teachers signed up for the detailing service, the collision and refinishing technology instructors and students realized that detailing a vehicle every day did not allow enough time for students to work on other projects. So, they decided to do the detailing work just on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Once the students became more efficient with the detailing jobs, they switched from detailing three days a week to detailing just two days a week – Tuesday and Thursday.

Students also faced a challenge in learning how to correctly include taxes when invoicing bills for services. The instructors addressed this by teaching a theory lesson on how to calculate the tax.

For other CTCs that want to implement a similar program, DCTS staff recommend that they be flexible in planning and implementing the shop and that faculty and students reflect frequently on what is and is not working. They also stress the importance of modeling for students how to follow through with management of the program.


DCTS plans to continue operating the detailing shop. Through this program, collision and refinishing technology students gain repeated experience in planning, scheduling and detailing vehicles for staff members.


Dauphin County Technical School
Megan Motto, Instructional Coach