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ASE Certified – What does it mean?

ASE Certified – What does it mean?


This month, we are going to talk about a phrase that gets used by shops, but the details and significance of the certification are little know by consumers. Our goal as a partner of the community is to educate, so here we go!

ASE is short for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. They are a non-profit organization formed back in the early 1970’s with the main intent on helping protect the consumer, the auto repair shop, and the automotive technician. They developed a series of tests to validate the knowledge and skills of a service technician and to make sure the technician was competent to a specific standard. To this day, these tests are written by a panels of professionals and are being constantly updated and revised to keep up with constantly changing vehicles.

Now with the automotive industry, it’s a blessing and a curse we don’t have federal regulations that require us to become licensed like a plumber, electrician or even an aircraft technician. That’s also scary to think about since we all heavily rely on the safety of our vehicles on a daily basis. If something isn’t repaired properly or not caught during inspection, people can be harmed or killed if the vehicle ends up in an accident. Many other industries have licensing processes and certifications required to practice, but not the automotive world. Most countries around the world DO require technicians to obtain a license and a bachelor’s degree to repair automobiles. Canada and the UK are two countries that do have this process.

So, what we do have in the US is the ASE certification. It’s a VOLUNTARY process for any technician or shop to go through and to achieve. It is the highest honor to receive as a technician. ASE produces a certification test for each major system of the vehicle: Engine repair, automatic transmissions, manual transmissions and drivetrain, Brake and ABS systems, Electrical & Electronic systems, HVAC systems, Steering and Suspension systems, Engine performance, and Light vehicle diesel engines. To become certified in a specific area, a technician must have at least two years of hands on work experience and pass the test in the area they desire to become certified. There is also a series of tests for advanced level technicians that help separate the good from the great. These are called Advanced Level Specialist tests. These tests include; Advance gasoline engine drivability, Advanced diesel engine drivability, Hybrid vehicles and the newest test, Advanced Driver Assist Systems. ASE also has tests for Service Consultants. Each of our Service Advisors both proudly hold this credential.

Many technicians will only take a few tests based on the skills they feel most comfortable with. If a technician takes and passes 8 of the automotive tests, they are then classified as a “Master Automobile Technician”. This is a very tough and prestigious task to accomplish as each system on a vehicle takes many years of training and experience to master. ASE also requires a certified technician to re-certify every 5 years in each area they are certified in. This means they will be taking a new test based on the changes that have happened in the industry and validate their level of experience.

Most repair facilities unfortunately do not require, promote or encourage this certification process due to being voluntary. This then sets no standard for the work being performed in their shop and ultimately fails their customers in my opinion. A lot of the shops that do have ASE certified technicians take great pride in the fact that their staff do hold the credentials. They also pay for their employees to take the tests and also provide additional pay for each certification a technician holds. Today, it’s not very common for shops to have a Master Technician. This is due to workforce shortages, voluntary credentialing, and being that the average age of an automotive technician in the US is 55 years old. Most of the very experienced people are leaving the industry at a rapid rate.

Our shop is very fortunate. We currently have three ASE Master Certified Technicians on staff, both of our service advisors hold the Service Consultant Credential and we have a combined total of 37 certifications amongst all of us. We take an immense amount of pride in our craft. This is part of our dedication to our clients that we are trained, experienced, and have the RIGHT skills to keep your vehicle safe and operating properly. So if you do happen to visit another repair facility or the dealership, don’t be afraid to ask what credentials they have. You owe it to yourself to have certified professionals taking care of your car.

Thanks for reading this month. Have an automotive question you’d like answered or a suggestion for our next blog? Let us know! Email me at [email protected]