Are you considering being certified as a mechanic? Have you conducted a cursory internet search regarding the requirements involved, but cannot seem to find all the information you need in one place?
Becoming an ASE certified mechanic is an important step when building your career within the automotive industry. If you want to give yourself a competitive edge to potential employers and increase your options for career mobility, the best way to do this is by studying for and taking the ASE certification exam.
What Is an ASE Certified Mechanic?
Perhaps you are unsure what an ASE certified mechanic even is. The designation was created by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence to allow professionals in the automotive field to become fully certified within their respective industry. Becoming an ASE certified mechanic is the gold standard in the automotive field and is the best route to take if you want to advance on this career path.
While we delve into the details of becoming an ASE certified mechanic further down, allow us to provide you a summary of what is required to earn this designation. Before you can take the exam, you must complete relevant training, either through classroom study or via online technical and vocational institutions. ACE certified mechanics need to have strong skills in reading, math, and computers in congruence with deep technical knowledge of automotive functions.
Before taking the exam to become an ASE certified mechanic, you must have two years of related work experience under your belt too. Preparation is essential to take and pass the ASE certification exam. You can use ASE study guides and practice tests from The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence to prepare. You can also take prep courses through technical and vocational schools.
To take the exam, you must register for your specified date at of over 500 testing centers throughout the U.S. The ASE certification exam is administered on a computer, so you receive your scores immediately upon completion. If you pass, your designation as an ASE certified mechanic is in force for 5 years, after which time you will need to go through the process again to become re-certified.
The Benefits of Earning Your ASE Certification
Why should you earn your ASE certification? Like any field, the more education and training you have in your chosen career, the better your opportunities will be for jobs and role growth. This field has grown considerably in recent years, so competition is increasing.
Professionals without formal education and certification in the field could find themselves up against tough competition when trying to find work. In the modern automotive industry, the ASE certification has become a hallmark for excellence. It stands as the educational credential most employers looks for when hiring mechanics with a few years of work experience or more.
While it is not impossible to get a job as an automotive technician without becoming an ASE certified mechanic, it will be more difficult. You will also probably not have as many opportunities for advancement either.
You can choose a concentration for your ASE certification in 8 different specialties. These are suspension and steering, brakes, automotive transmission/transaxle, heating and air conditioning, electrical/electronic systems, manual drivetrain and axles, engine repair, and engine performance.
How to Become an ASE Certified Mechanic
Choose Your Certification
The first step to becoming an ASE certified mechanic is to choose the area of specialty you want to become certified in. You must meet the experience qualifications associated with any area of speciality you choose, so do your research on any program you select to make sure you have fulfilled those requirements.
Build Your Resume
The next thing you need to do to become an ASE certified mechanic is build your resume. Before you can study for and take the exam, you must have 2 years of work experience already completed, at a minimum. Search and apply for entry level automotive technician jobs that will enable you to receive the on-the-job experience you require. Websites like Indeed and Monster are great job search tools.
When creating your resume, if you do not have any work experience relevant to the field yet, be sure to list the work history you have for potential employers to review. Always put your name and contact details on your resume, include your work history and education, and proofread for errors before submitting to each employer. Be sure to dress professionally and be fully prepared before going to any interview.
Once you have secured an entry level position as an automotive technician, finish at least 2 years of work experience before taking the ASE certified mechanic exam. When gaining this experience, remember it does not have to be all at one place.
If you find you need to switch employers partway through, this will not affect your eligibility for the exam. However, the experience you gain needs to be related to auto repair and completely hands-on.
Make Sure You Meet the Requirements
Besides gaining at least 2 years of relevant work experience, you need to make sure you meet the requirements to enroll in a training course before taking the exam. You will find many vocational and technical institutions offering prep courses for the ASE exam, but you must typically have your GED or high school diploma to apply.
Identify Your Ideal Learning Environment
When choosing the institution you want to take your prep course from, identify your ideal learning environment, whether it be in person or online. You can take the prep courses you need to pass the exam via either medium, so decide what works best for you.
The benefit of going to classes in person is that you will acquire hands on experience to prepare which you might not receive otherwise. Online classes are easier to fit around your work schedule and may come in handy if you cannot find an accredited institution near you.
Choose an Accredited Organization
Along those lines, to become an ACE certified mechanic, you must choose a fully accredited school to complete your training at before taking the exam. There are plenty of fully licensed, accredited options to choose from for either in person or online courses of study.
When researching a technical or vocational school, look at their website to see what their accreditation is. The admissions department of each institution can provide further clarification if necessary.
Consider Financial Aid
Another important thing to consider when setting on the path to become an ASE certified mechanic is whether or not you will require financial aid. Once you have narrowed down your list of schools you wish to apply to, identify how much the costs work out to.
You can speak with your admissions counselor to see what financial aid options might be available to you and fill out and file your FAFSA accordingly. You will also need to factor in the costs associated with additional supplies or your commute if you go in person. This can help you decide which school and which medium of learning is right for you.
Apply and Prepare
After you choose one more schools you wish to apply to, submit your application according to the institution’s relevant requirements and deadline. Once accepted, be prepared to undergo intense training and coursework to ready you for the exam ahead.
The prep courses for becoming an ASE certified mechanic cover a range of subjects. You will study automotive terminology in-depth, including vehicle parts, repair, and maintenance practices. If you take your prep coursework online, there will be virtual discussion boards and other assignments required besides your regular assignments.
Register for Your Exams
Be sure to plan when completing your prep course and register for your ASE exam. You can register for the exam at https://www.ase.com/Tests/ASE-Certification-Tests/REgister-Now.aspx, where you will create an account and choose the location and date of your test. Look for any registration deadlines on the ASE website to make sure you enroll on time.
Once you find a location near you to take the exam at, register online or over the phone for a test date within 90 days. If you schedule your exam out beyond 90 days, you will have to re-register, so plan your prep course and registration accordingly.
Be prepared to pay the registration and testing fees, which do changed based on the year. You can check the ASE website for current fee information. You will probably take a series of tests, depending on the specialization you choose, so factor that into your budgetary planning too.
Complete the Examination
Finally, the time has come to complete your examination to become an ASE certified mechanic. Arrive to your exam center on time and complete the test within the scheduled time allotment. Most tests contain 60 questions with 1 1/2 hours provided for each.
You will receive your scores immediately upon completion of your exam and all relevant sections. If you do not pass the exam on the first try, you will need to register for another date to retake it.
Earning your designation as an ASE certified mechanic is a lengthy process. It requires a combination of on-the-job training and education in the field to register for and pass the exam. Upon earning your certification, you will feel an immense sense of pride and satisfaction, both in the work you have completed and the career options available to you ahead.