Many industries in the United States have governing bodies that exist to help establish industry standards. The automotive, diesel and collision repair fields are no different — they feature the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), a nonprofit, independent organization tasked with testing and certifying automotive mechanics and technicians. It exists as a stamp of approval that can help give consumers confidence that technicians have the proper education and skills to make repairs. 

While you can work as a technician without ASE certification, having it distinguishes you from others and can help improve 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.


What Is ASE Certification?

ASE certification exists to improve and maintain the quality of vehicle repair and service. It sets the bar for the entire industry and holds 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, diesel, and collision repair industries.

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, diesel, and collision repair training programs aside from the certification program. Universal Technical Institute (UTI) holds this prestigious accreditation, and you can enroll today to start training toward becoming ASE certified.16

ASE History: Where It All Began

So, what does ASE mean? ASE is an abbreviation used for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

ASE is an independent, nonprofit organization that was created to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying automotive professionals. Since 1972, ASE has issued certifications to more than 250,000 automotive technicians and service professionals.

The ASE certification program benefits car owners, repair shops and auto professionals in the following ways:

  • Car owners can count on ASE-certified technicians to complete even the most complex repairs.
  • Repair shops can qualify for the Blue Seal of Excellence Recognition Program, increasing visibility in their markets.
  • Auto professionals can earn the recognition and respect they deserve in the industry based on their knowledge and skills.

ASE tests are designed by a panel of seasoned professionals that includes manufacturers, educators and technicians.

Types of ASE Certifications

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, ASE recommends familiarizing yourself with the following information:

  • Format: Certification tests are typically between 40 and 75 scored, multiple-choice questions. These questions are designed to measure your knowledge in various content areas specific to your certification.
  • Test Development: Test questions are crafted and approved by carefully selected industry experts and focus on the scenarios technicians may experience in day-to-day work situations.
  • Recognition: Upon fulfilling your work experience requirement and psassing one or more tests, you will receive the Blue Seal of Excellence.
  • Fees: At each registration window, there’s a $34 registration fee. There’s an additional $53 fee per test and $106 for the L1, L2 and L3 tests. Recertification tests costs the same: $53 per test and $106 for advanced tests.
  • Work Experience: ASE certification requires you to have full-time, hands-on work experience, or a combination of formal training and experience. To learn more, visit the ASE website.

The individual test series offered by ASE ranges from truck equipment certification tests to damage analysis and estimating certification tests. To learn about the individual tests within each series on the certifications shown below, visit the ASE test series page:

  • Automobile & Light Truck Certification Tests
  • Collision Repair & Refinish Certification Tests
  • Damage Analysis & Estimating Certification Test
  • Automobile Service Consultant Certification Test
  • Truck Equipment Certification Tests
  • Alternate Fuels Certification Test
  • Auto Maintenance and Light Repair Certification Test
  • Transit Bus Certification Tests
  • Advanced Engine Performance Specialist Certification Test
  • Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist Certification Test
  • Light Duty Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Specialist Test
  • Engine Machinist Certification Tests
  • Parts Specialist Certification Tests
  • School Bus Certification Tests
  • Medium-Heavy Truck Certification Tests
  • Undercar Specialist Exhaust Systems Test
  • ASE Military Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Certification Tests
  • Non-Certification Assessments

Say you’re new to the automotive industry and have pursued a career in auto repair. You might take one of the tests that’s part of the Automobile & Light Truck Certification series.

Within this category are nine tests (A1-A9), each with between 40 and 50 multiple-choice questions.

  • A1 – Engine Repair
  • A2 – Automatic Transmission/Transaxle
  • A3 – Manual Drivetrain & Axles
  • A4 – Suspension & Steering
  • A5 – Brakes
  • A6 – Electrical/Electronic Systems
  • A7 – Heating & Air Conditioning
  • A8 – Engine Performance
  • A9 – Light Vehicle Diesel Engines

Take one test in the series for certification in a specific area or work toward passing A1-A8 for Master Automobile Technician Status (A9 is not a requirement for Master status).

Benefits of Becoming ASE Certified

Automotive, diesel and collision repair technicians nationwide hold ASE certification, and for good reason — becoming ASE certified has a long list of benefits. Among them:

  • It shows customers you know your craft. Cars today are complex machines. When customers come in and ask questions, they want clear, concise answers from a knowledgeable technician. An ASE certification is a subtle way to say, “I’m an expert,” without sounding arrogant.
  • It shows your employer you’re serious. An ASE certification shows employers you’re committed to what you do. Because this is an optional certification, working toward it shows you are interested in perfecting your craft and pursuing excellence in your field.
  • It broadens your knowledge. To pass the ASE test, you’ll have to know your stuff forward and backward. Studying will reinforce your trouble areas and make you extra confident in the areas you already know well.
  • It could affect your earning potential. Salary and wage increases are based on both performance and education level. Keep your skills up and promotion opportunities are likely to follow.1
  • There’s demand for ASE-certified mechanics. Since ASE is an independent organization, certification is a universal and impartial way to grade potential technicians. An auto repair facility might only extend offers to certified technicians, in which case you’d have a leg up on noncertified applicants.

If you’re considering becoming an automotive, diesel or collision repair technician, completing ASE certification requirements is a solid career decision.

How to Get ASE Certified

All UTI instructors hold ASE certification, making them a good resource once you consider trying to earn your own.

As an Automotive, Diesel or Collision Repair program graduate, you’ll be prepared to take the exams required to earn ASE certifications. Having ASE certification can make you stand out among other technicians and are valued by the industry. Plus, you can substitute your training for one of the two years of work experience required to become ASE certified. It’s often one of the first steps graduates take when they enter the automotive industry.1

To become certified, you must:

  • Gain hands-on training and experience. You’ll need two years of on-the-job training. As a UTI graduate you will automatically receive one year of that two-year requirement. Read more about the rules on the ASE website, which is where you can also submit the form for work experience.
  • Pass a written test. There are more than 50 different ASE tests available — everything from electronic diesel engine diagnosis to school bus certification. Find the specialty you want. Then pop the hood and get studying. These certification tests aren’t easy. In fact, only two-thirds of test takers pass on their first try. Let this motivate you to study hard, not discourage you from taking the tests altogether.

What to Expect & How to Prepare

Maybe you looked into tech schools so you could pursue a career in automotive, diesel, or collision repair because you’re not the book-studying, test-taking type. You should know that the tests are created by committees of industry professionals, technicians and aftermarket manufacturers, not by academics who’ve never laid hands on a vehicle before. This means the questions are relevant and process based. They’re about practical issues you might run into every day. They’re also screened by multiple people, meaning poorly written or confusing questions are unlikely to squeak by.

ASE offers study guides, and 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.

How to Become an ASE Master Technician

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:

  • Automobile: The tests needed for Master status are A1 – A8.
  • Collision Repair: The tests needed for Master status are B2 – B5.
  • Medium-Heavy Truck: The tests needed for Master status are T2 – T8.
  • School Bus: The tests needed for Master status are S1 – S6.
  • Transit Bus: The tests needed for Master status are H1 or H2 and H3 – H8.
  • Truck Equipment: The tests needed for Master status are E1 – E3.

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. The requirements are as follows:

  • Diesel Engines: Pass one or more tests in H2, S2 or T2
  • Drive Train: Pass one or more tests in H3. S3 or T3
  • Brakes: Pass one or more tests in H4, S4 or T4
  • Suspension & Steering: Pass one or more tests in H5, S5 or T5
  • Electrical/Electronic Systems: Pass one or more tests in H6, S6 or T6
  • Heating, Ventilation & A/C: Pass one or more tests in H7, S7 or T7

To learn more details about earning Master Technician status, click here.

ASE Recertification: How the Process Works

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 would 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 it’s most convenient for you, as long as you answer them within the allotted time provided. You can then find out whether your answers were correct and why. To learn more about the app and to start your free trial, visit here.

ASE Certification FAQs

Are ASE Certifications Worth It?

Having an ASE certification can be beneficial for professional growth, as it shows your dedication and may be valuable to employers As the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that many employers require industry certification.

What Is the Pass Rate for ASE Certification?

As previously mentioned, two out of three people pass the ASE certification exam on their first try. However, over 80 percent of candidates who use study guides and practice tests beforehand pass.

How Long Do ASE Certifications Last?

ASE certification lasts five years. Technicians must take a recertification exam before then to remain certified.

Ready to Start Your Training?

From automotive to diesel to collision repair, UTI offers a variety of programs for those who aspire to pursue a career in the skilled trades and take steps toward becoming ASE certified. 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 program outcome information and other disclosures, visit
16 )  Not all programs are accredited by the ASE Education Foundation.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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