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When you’re looking for a doctor, you might seek out a clinician who is “board certified.” This stamp of approval by the American Board of Medical Specialties gives consumers confidence the doctor has all the proper education and skills to provide quality care within that specialty. This certification is not the same as a license, as in, it’s not necessary to practice medicine but it’s a big selling point for patients and a prestigious distinction for doctors.
The automotive industry may not have a board, but it does have the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), a non-profit, independent organization tasked with testing and certifying automotive mechanics and technicians. It exists for the same purpose as the medical board: to ensure proper education and skills within various specialties.
While you can work as a mechanic without ASE certification, having it distinguishes you from others and improves your employability. Keep reading to learn all about the history of ASE, the various types of ASE certifications and tests, the benefits of becoming certified, how to become an ASE master technician and more.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence is an independent, non-profit organization that was created to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying automotive professionals since 1972. In its 47-year history, ASE has certified almost 300,000 automotive technicians and service professionals.
The ASE certification program benefits car owners, repair shops and auto professionals:
ASE certification exists to improve and maintain the quality of vehicle repair and service. It sets the bar for the entire industry and keeps individual technicians accountable to a set of standards. It’s not a regulatory body but it does vouch for reputation, specialty and quality within the automotive industry.
ASE works in a few different ways. First, technicians are certified, not the service facilities they work in. Everyone within a service facility can be certified but the shop itself cannot be. Second, students can work toward certification before graduation. Finally, ASE has a unique process for accrediting automotive training programs, aside from the certification program. UTI holds this prestigious accreditation.
All Universal Technical Institute instructors hold ASE certification, making them a go-to resource as you consider earning yours. Because of the rigorous and comprehensive curriculum at UTI, graduates are well prepared to undergo the ASE certification requirements, and it’s often one of the first steps graduates take as they enter the automotive industry.
To become certified, you must:
The ASE offers a wide variety of certification tests that cover almost every aspect of the automotive service and repair industry. When you’re just starting out, the ASE recommends familiarizing yourself with the following information:
The individual test series offered by ASE range from truck equipment certification tests to damage analysis and estimating certification tests. To learn about the individual tests within each series, select your desired certification below.
Say you’re new to the automotive industry and have pursued a career in auto repair. You might take one of these tests, all part of the Automobile and Light Truck Certification (A1-A9).
Within this category are nine tests offered, each with between 40 and 50 multiple-choice questions.
Take one test for certification in a specific area or work toward passing eight (A1-A8) for Master Automobile Technician Status.
Maybe you looked into tech schools so you could work in automotive because you’re not the “book-studying, test-taking” type. You should know the tests are created by committees of automotive professionals, technicians and aftermarket manufacturers, not by academics who’ve never laid hands on a car before. This means the questions are relevant and process-based. They’re about practical issues you might run into on a daily basis. They’re also screened by multiple people, meaning poorly written or confusing questions are unlikely to squeak by.
ASE offers study guides,
as well as official ASE practice tests to help. It even provides
a series of sample questions you can answer within the testing platform, so you’ll know exactly what to expect on test day. You can take the exam at an ASE test center,
or UTI students can take them on campus. Once you’re ready, register for the test
by creating a myASE account.
ASE offers study guides, as well as official ASE practice tests to help. It even provides a series of sample questions you can answer within the testing platform, so you'll know exactly what to expect on test day. You can take the exam at an ASE test center, or UTI students can take them on campus. Once you're ready, register for the test by creating a myASE account.
At this point, you may be wondering how to achieve ASE master technician status. In addition to documenting two years of relevant hands-on work experience, you must pass a specified group of tests in a series. The tests required for each series are listed below:
Those who are certified in any combination of tests 2 through 7 in the Medium-Heavy Truck, Transit Bus or School Bus test series also have the opportunity to earn Master Medium-Heavy Vehicle Technician Status. Requirements include:
To learn more details about earning Master Technician status, visit the ASE website.
Those who hold ASE certifications must recertify every five years. If you previously achieved Master Technician status and one of your required certifications expires, you lose your Master Technician status. However, you can regain it by taking ASE’s recertification tests, even after your certification expires. Upon passing your original ASE test, you only need to take the recertification test—no matter how much time has passed since it expired.
To make the renewal process simple, ASE offers a myASE Renewal app. Using your desktop, tablet or mobile device, you can keep up with your ASE certifications without having to visit a test center.
The myASE Renewal app will send you one question per certification area every month. You can view the questions whenever is most convenient for you, as long as you answer them within the allotted time provided. You can then find out whether or not your answer was correct and why. To learn more about the app and start your free trial, visit www.myaserenewal.com/.
Automotive mechanics and technicians across the country hold ASE certification, and for good reason — becoming ASE certified has a long list of benefits. Among them:
If you are considering becoming an automotive technician, completing ASE certification requirements is a solid career decision as you advance your career post-graduation within the automotive industry.
From motorcycle and marine to automotive and diesel, UTI offers a wide variety of programs for those who aspire to pursue a career in the skilled trades. To learn more, visit our programs page and request information today.
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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2) For important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rates of students who attended this program, and to review the applicable Gainful Employment disclosure, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.
6) UTI graduates' achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on personal credentials and economic factors. Work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer and their compensation programs affect wages. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
7) Some programs may require longer than one year to complete.
10) Financial aid and scholarships are available to those who qualify. Awards vary due to specific conditions, criteria and state.
12) Based on data compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections (2016-2026), www.bls.gov, viewed October 24, 2017. The projected number of annual job openings, by job classification is: Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, 75,900; Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists, 28,300; Automotive Body and Related Repairers, 17,200. Job openings include openings due to growth and net replacements.
15) Manufacturer-paid advanced training programs are conducted by UTI’s Custom Training Group on behalf of manufacturers who determine acceptance criteria and conditions. These programs are not part of UTI’s accreditation.