If you work as an automotive technician or in a service position within the automotive industry, you might consider voluntary certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). The highly-regarded ASE certification reflects your special skills, attention to quality, and professional experience. It’s worth the effort to obtain ASE certification.
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Secure a position as a technician or service employee in the automotive industry. To achieve ASE certification, you need at least two years of experience working in the industry in some capacity. You can elect to take the test first, provided you’ve secured employment, but it won’t go into effect until after you’ve worked for two years. It’s up to you if you want to work first or take the test.
The two-year experience requirement can be waived if you have completed a three- to four-year apprenticeship program or two-year co-op program.
The two years of shop experience or automotive schooling proof sign off form is required and available on ASE.com web site.
There is also a student ASE program. You can pass the ASE tests as you take them in school and get a student ASE certification. As soon as you finish the school or the two year experience requirements, you would be awarded the full ASE certification.
Specialize. There are specific certifications and corresponding tests for those certifications. As you work in a garage or other kind of auto shop, decide what you’d like to ultimately specialize in. What do you like working on best? What are you the best at? Use your two years of experience to practice and answer that question.
Select a specific certification to seek out. Each certification involves a series of tests, covering a specific subject matter. For instance, you can become certified in:
- Automobile/Light Truck
- Medium/Heavy Truck
- Parts Specialist
- Truck Equipment
- Undercar Specialist
- Advanced Engine Performance Specialist
- Damage Analysis and Estimating
- Engine Machinist
- Alternate Fuels
Understand why certification matters. ASE is a non-profit organization that formed as a way of improving the quality of automotive services in the United States. It serves car owners by making experienced and certified technicians easy to find, and it helps technicians drum up visibility for their skills and abilities. Business is better for everyone, and many shops will be more willing to hire ASE-certified technicians. Typically, you’ll renew every five years, making it an important investment for your career. The more certifications and the more experience you have, the more valuable of a technician you will be to your customers and employer.
Choose a certification test. There are more than 40 tests available, some of which may be required for the particular kind of certification you hope to attain, some of which may be required by your employer. Choose the kind of certification you’ve specialized in.
If you want to become certified in Automotive and Light Truck work, for example, you’ll need to take the A Series tests, which includes nine tests on subjects like Brakes, Suspension & Steering, and other topics. If you pass all the tests in a given series then you will be awarded a master certification.
Register for the test. You can register for the test online by logging on to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence website at www.ase.com and submitting your registration materials, including your experience requirement signed off by your employer. You can browse the various types of certification, the tests involved, and time frames the test would be open. Then you can find a test center close to you, and request study materials from the website.
If you favor the analog, you can call the ASE toll-free number, at 1-866-427-3273 and mail completed registration materials and payment for fees to ASE, P.O. Box 4007, Iowa City, IA 52243 regular mail, or overnight to ASE, Tyler Building (86), 301 ACT Drive, Iowa City, IA 52245.
Request study materials and study hard. You can request sample tests from ASE for between $12 and $15 and it’s strongly recommended that you request these materials to use in your test preparation. It’s better to spend a little money now and do your best possible job on the test so you don’t have to take it more than once, paying another registration fee and stressing yourself out about a test.
Even if you know your stuff, get a sample test. Just looking at the kinds of questions you’ll be asked will be helpful. You can also go to your local book store and look at the ASE test prep books they may have. ASE also offers free test review tips on their website.
Find a test center in your area. ASE works with a company called Promeric who provides several hundred testing centers across the US and Canada. Find one close to you. Once you’ve registered, you can schedule an appointment to come in and take the test any time you’re ready. These tests are done on a computer unless you request the written test.
Take the test. Report to the ASE testing center at the required time on the day of testing. Arrive a little early to fill out any paperwork for the test center. To be admitted, you’ll need to provide the admission ticket printed out online or received in the mail within 14 days after your registration submission. You will also need to provide proof of work experience or completion of approved training or apprenticeship programs. Do not forget to bring picture identification and admission ticket or you will not be able to take the test.
Relax and do your best on the test, then go home and wait. You’ll receive your test results about 4 weeks after the testing. If you pass, celebrate. If you don’t, keep studying and take the test again.
Some of the new computer tests will give you results in as little as 10 days. If you passed, then you will be mailed out the awarded certification. You can print a temporary certification from the web site.
Using Your Certification
Display the ASE logo on your website and at your garage. Smart consumers know to look for the very best in the field. If you’re an ASE-certified technician, that means you’re the best. Display the logo prominently to let people know you’re good at what you do.
If you want to use the logo in print, contact ASE for information. Send them the URL of your website for approval. The logo is trademarked, but you’re strongly encouraged to go through the extra step of getting it onto your publicity materials.
Consider going for your Master Technician status. Keep climbing the ranks and working, making you an attractive candidate for better and better jobs, including pay raises. Master Technician status can be achieved by passing a certain groups of tests in the specialization series of your choice.
You can achieve master certifications in multiple areas, like light and heavy vehicles or buses. See the ASE.com web site for requirements, since they may change at any time.
Keep your certification up to date. Take the recertification exam every 5 years to maintain your credentials.