If you think the technician servicing your late-model car is a “grease monkey” or someone who lacked other career options, your assumption is more out-of-date than a carburetor. Auto repair today is a demanding, high-tech industry that undergoes constant change. Staying up-to-date on the latest diagnostic and repair procedures requires that a technician commit to ongoing training and certification. It’s no coincidence that these are also two of the best ways to assess a technician’s abilities.
Since 1972, the independent, non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) has been testing and certifying technicians. Tests are held throughout the year and cover real-world technologies and auto repair skills. In addition to passing a written test, a technician who wants ASE certification must document at least two years of hands-on industry experience. Once a certification is awarded, the technician must retest every five years to remain certified.
ASE certifications are available that cover cars, trucks, buses, collision repair, parts specialists, service advisors and more. Today, more than 300,000 ASE-certified auto mechanics, technicians and other service professionals work in the auto repair industry. Eight core tests cover mechanical auto repair, and those who pass them all receive the title of Certified Master Automobile Technician.
Other common technician certifications are those issued by automakers to dealer personnel who complete factory service training classes. Some automakers endorse ASE certification in addition to their own. Training courses are also offered by community colleges, technical training companies, automotive parts suppliers and service equipment manufacturers.
Auto repair shops frequently post technician credentials for customer viewing. If you don’t see any, ask about them. A repair shop that deserves your business will be happy to discuss the certifications of its technicians. If you don’t get a satisfactory response, it might be wise to take your auto repair business elsewhere.