Cars are becoming increasingly more complex, and the similarities can be difficult to see when you start adding in different parts, makes, and models. The intricate interplay of mechanics and electronics requires a specialized set of skills that goes beyond changing out an oil pan or swapping a tire. Customers rely on the knowledge and skills of trained mechanics. Certifications from respectable institutions could give drivers the peace of mind to put their vehicle in your care, improve your paycheck, and possibly even make you more hireable.
Getting ASE Certified
The Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) line of certifications are the industry standard for determining the skill of auto mechanics. Receiving a certification requires that you pay for and take a computer-based exam at a monitored testing location.
The Core 8
The ASE is divided into vehicle types (cars, trucks, buses) and secondary systems. These tests cover the broadest range of comprehensive automobile care for a modern technician. For each vehicle type, there are eight core certifications that satisfy the minimum knowledge for maintenance and repair. We’ll look at A1-A8 for basic automotive service, the place where most technicians will begin.
- A1 Engine Repair
- A2 Automatic Transmission/Transaxle
- A3 Manual Drive Train and Axles
- A4 Suspension and Steering
- A5 Brakes
- A6 Electrical/Electronic Systems
- A7 Heating and Air Conditioning
- A8 Engine Performance
These same eight topics are covered in sections T for trucks and H for transit buses. Section S includes school buses that do not have air conditioning.
ASE Masters Certification
After achieving all eight of the core certifications in Section A, you are then eligible to take the ASE Masters Certification test for automotive technicians. Each vehicle type has differing requirements on the prerequisites to take the test; school buses only require certifications S1-S6, and the medium-heavy truck and transit bus paths have some flexibility. Having a Masters will indicate that you have the breadth of knowledge necessary to be a valuable mechanic in any owner’s shop.
Once you have taken on the core eight and achieved a Master’s certification, the next step in the ASE pipeline is the collection of several dozen secondary certifications and re-certifications. These are available to refresh your accreditation on the core lessons you already have, a requirement every five years. Others become increasingly more specific to service types or vehicle makes.
There is no definitive list of what additional ASE certifications you should get. Instead, use them to flesh out your versatility and improve your specialties to both improve your technical ability and present a more attractive resume to a prospective employer. For example, applying to a company that primarily performs maintenance on trucks, and other large diesel vehicles will be easier with certifications like E1-E3. On the other hand, when applying to a shop that focuses on AC repairs, you would be more likely to land the job if you have certifications for a broad range of vehicles. The more certifications you have, the more attractive you become to future bosses.
Like any piece of tech, being more familiar with a particular version of it makes you better at repair and maintenance. Manufacturers offer training and certification for technicians who wish to improve their technical skills. The requirements to earn these certifications can vary wildly between manufacturers, but they often require a mixture of extra courses and experience working on the manufacturer’s vehicles.
The First Step is a Good Education
Completing any of the certifications on the list will require a mixture of secondary training on automobiles and hands-on experience. The comprehensive Automotive Technology with Service Management (AOS Degree) from Advanced Technical Institute will guide you through achieving your first ASE Masters Certification with both academic coursework and time spent actually working on cars, sending you into the workplace with the tools you need to thrive. With education and drive, the certifications will naturally start piling up, and your work will reflect your efforts.
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