If you have been exploring automotive schools, you have probably run across the term ASE certification. But what is it? Do you need it? And will your school prepare you for it?
What is the ASE?
ASE stands for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. This is the organization that provides professional certification for automotive service technicians and mechanics. Certification is voluntary, which means you are not required to have it, but most employers prefer to have certified technicians and most customers want to know that the person working on their vehicle is qualified.
What certification tests are available?
ASE offers several certification tests specifically for automotive service technicians, including auto maintenance and light repair and a series of tests covering engine repair, automatic transmission and transaxle, drive train, suspension and steering, brakes, electrical and electronic systems, heating and air conditioning, and engine performance. There are also more specialized and advanced certifications in the areas of collision repair and refinishing, diesel technology, alternate fuels, and more. Technicians who pass a series of tests can achieve Master Status. For example, to become a master automobile mechanic, you must pass the eight-test series described above.
If certification isn’t required, do you really need it?
It’s true that you do not need to be certified to get an entry-level job in the automotive services industry. However, if you want to advance your career, certification is something you should seriously consider. Being certified and gaining master status will enable you to both get better jobs and make more money. Many employers are willing to pay for their employees to take the tests, and they might even pay for test prep courses, so although you don’t need to rush into anything, becoming certified will only benefit you throughout the course of your career.
In addition, in many industries certification is moving from being voluntary to being mandatory. So although you might not think it is necessary now, it might be required in the not-too-distant future.
How do you prepare for ASE certification?
A vocational or degree program in automotive service technology is a great place to start preparing to take a certification test, but it isn’t enough. For most tests, the ASE requires you to have at least two years of experience or one year of formal training and one year of experience. So keep this in mind when you encounter a program that promises to prepare you for the tests—it will help you get started, but you will still need some on-the-job training before you are ready.
ASE certification is an indication of the quality of your knowledge and skills. Not only does it usually come with a larger paycheck, but it also prepares you for success in your future career.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Automotive service technicians and mechanics.