What is ASE?
ASE is short for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. They have been working to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying automotive professionals since 1972.
They exist to protect pretty much everyone involved with automotive repair and make sure that technicians are qualified to be servicing your car. Their tests are written by a national panel of seasoned professionals in the automotive industry - not by ASE itself.
Why become certified?
Certification is very important if you plan on pursuing a career as a mechanic. Your chances of success at landing any mechanic job will go up dramatically if you can show any of the ASE certifications.
Outside of your employer and pay, the ASE certification will give those whose cars you service trust and confidence that you are a professional and you know what you’re doing. It will give the customers peace of mind, and they know you’re a mechanic they can trust.
Types of certifications
There are many different certifications you can complete, and completing all of them in a specific area (i.e. Automobile, Collision Repair, Truck Equipment, etc..) will earn you the status of ASE Master Technician, and you’ll get a certification to show it off to everyone.
Before we get into showing off, here is the breakdown of the certifications for the Automobile specific Master Status - information about the others can be found in the Master Status section of ASE’s website:
A1 – Engine Repair (50 scored questions)
A2 – Automatic Transmission/Transaxle (50)
A3 – Manual Drive Train & Axles (40)
A4 – Suspension & Steering (40)
A5 – Brakes (45)
A6 – Electrical/Electronic Systems (50)
A7 – Heating & Air Conditioning (50)
A8 – Engine Performance (50)
A9 – Light Vehicle Diesel Engines (50) **this test is not required for Master Status, but A1-A8 are required.
Along with the passed tests, you will need at least two years relevant hands-on work experience to earn the certification. Each area completed will need to be re-evaluated every five years in order to stay active.
If you do not re-certify in your test area(s) every five years, you will lose your certified status until you have passed re-certification in each area. If you have Master Technician Status, you will lose that until all certifications are current. Thankfully, the Recertification Tests are all that is required after the original has been passed, no matter how long it’s been.
If you aren’t interested in becoming a Master Technician, then just complete the work experience and pass the certification test to become certified in any given area.
Each certification is awarded to the individual, not to the shop you work at or your employer. These are yours to keep and you take them with you everywhere.
Where to start
Register online/Create an account
First things first. Go to the ASE Website and click on the ‘Create myASE Account’ button.
Put in your information and follow the steps, if you are creating a new account keep going to create your profile. After you given all the necessary information, go ahead and set a password and recovery question. If you are currently employed, add that information too.
Once you’re through with that, your account has been created! From here, you can keep track of your certifications and designations, certification status, and even find & register for your tests. You’re well on your way!
Choose your tests
Now that we have created our account, you can start looking into what tests you want to take and where you want to start. If you’re interested in auto, we recommend starting at the ‘A1 - Engine Repair’ test and working through the ‘A’ series. Decide which tests you want to complete and keep note of them.
Before you decide to take any of the official tests, it is highly recommended that you take advantage of ASE’s study guides and practice tests. These will give you a good idea of what you might like and what is involved in each area.
It is also worth noting that you shouldn’t register for tests until you are ready or close to being ready to take your tests and pass. Once registered, you have 90 days to complete it.
Study for tests
It is a good idea to be prepared for your test before you register. Take some time and get familiar with the materials well before your test date.
ASE offers some really good resources to help with this.
All of these are resources provided by ASE to help you succeed. There’s no reason not to take advantage and give yourself everything you need to pass! We recommend going through everything at least a few times before your test so you arrive confident and ready to go.
Register for tests
Once you are ready for your test, it’s time to get registered. Depending on the test you decide to take, there is a $36 registration fee and each test costs on top of that. The advanced L1. L2 and L3 tests are $82 each. All the other tests are $41 each.
** If you are re-certifying, the tests cost the same as the original certification, but the most you will pay is $123 per person, per registration window. It is cost-efficient to bundle your re-certification tests together and buy them all within a single registration window.
It is also possible to register for tests over the phone if you call (877) 346-9327. You will be connected with ASE’s testing partner, Prometric, where you can register and make an appointment.
If you choose to register online, go to the myASE account that you just created and click the ‘Register Now’ button on the left side of the page. Find the test you wish to register for and you can see the allotted time and questions. Click on any test to get additional details.
Select the test(s) you want to take in the checkbox under the ‘Regular Tests Time Required’ column and scroll to the bottom of the page to hit ‘Continue.’ Let the next page load and generate your summary. You should see your estimated cost. Follow the steps and pay for your order.
**Remember to only register once you are ready to take the test. Don’t pay for a test you aren’t ready to take!
Find a test location
Now that you’ve prepared for the tests you want to take and registered for them, it’s time to find a test center and schedule your test!
Go to the myASE account you created and right below the ‘Register Now’ button, you will see the ‘Find a Test Center’ button. From here, you can figure out when and where to take your test. ASE requires that you take your test at an authorized Prometric test center or Satellite site.
Depending on what you’re looking for, click either ‘Find a Test Center’ or ‘Find a Seat’ and follow the instructions to make an appointment. You can also watch their video preview to see what you can expect and how to best prepare. There are hundreds of testing centers across the nation, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one near you.
Once you know where you want to take your test, you can either schedule it online or over the phone (see phone number above). To schedule it online, locate the ‘Find a Seat’ button in the ‘Register Now’ section of myASE. Enter your zip code, choose your location and find a date that has availability that you can take your test.
From here, you will see available times on your selected date for you to take the test(s). Schedule an appointment, and you’re ready to go!
Take the test
Now that all the preparation has been made, it’s time to take the test. By this point, you should be more than ready on everything for the book knowledge part of your test. Show up on your scheduled date, and pass the test!
Most of the testing centers have some form of security and do not allow you to take anything into the test with you. Any items you do bring must be stored in a locker provided by the center.
It is not a bad idea to have some real-world work experience prior to taking your tests as well (it is required to have real-world experience for your certification, but you are allowed to take most of the tests without it). Real experience will help to solidify difficult concepts and give you a better understanding of the concepts you will be tested on.
Complete the required work experience
Work experience form
Before you can become ASE certified, you must complete some work experience. You can take most of the tests without any work experience, but you must have it to become certified. You can find out more information about ASE work experience requirements here.
After you have some work experience, go to ASE’s Add Work Experience section and enter all the required information. You will need to enter some personal information and some employer information. This can all be done online and no mailing or faxing is required.
Wait to be contacted
After you have submitted your form with work experience and completed the required tests, all that’s left to do is wait to be contacted! If everything is good, ASE will reach out and let you know that you are now a certified technician. Congratulations!
Become a master technician
Complete all the required tests in a given area and get the work experience that goes with it, and you can become a Master Technician! This will make you a highly desired mechanic and you can ask for higher pay and a better job. It will take work, but it’s definitely worth it.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s required to become an ASE certified technician:
- Create an account on ASE’s website
- Find & register for the tests in the areas you want to become certified in
- Get some real-world, hands-on work experience
- Prepare and study for your test(s) with ASE’s free tools and guides
- Find a test location near you and register to take your test at an approved testing center
- Take your test and get your official certification!
What has been the best part about getting ASE certified for you? What is the hardest? Let us know!