How to Get ASE Certified

There is a ton of information surrounding how to become ASE certified. We have taken it all and simplified it into 5 steps!

How to Become ASE Certified

In an industry where so many customers are reluctant to trust their automotive service providers, it is important for mechanics to prove that they do quality work. Perhaps the best way to do this is to get ASE certified. ASE, short for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1972. Their goal is and has always been to improve the quality of work done by auto mechanics through testing and certifying those working in the automotive industry.

Earning your ASE certification is widely respected as a huge achievement for auto mechanics and it has benefits for both the mechanic and the customer. For example, auto shops and dealers recognize ASE certification just as any other employer would recognize higher education, with higher pay. In fact, the average ASE certified mechanic earns an average income of $45,000 while the average income of all auto mechanics is about $6,000 less at $39,550 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There are many different aspects that go into earning your ASE certification and it can be daunting when you are wondering how to become ASE certified. So, we have compiled it into 5 simple steps to get you on your way to becoming the best auto mechanic you can be!

Step 1: Obtain Automotive Technical Training

This first step to get your ASE certification is also perhaps the most broad of all the steps. For example, to gain automotive training you can go to trade school, complete an apprenticeship, or just work your way up within a specific auto shop. So, there are many ways to complete this first step but it is such an important step. Without your education, you will never earn your ASE certification for multiple reasons so it needs to be done.

If you have yet to decide what route you want to take when considering trade school or an apprenticeship, we have a great resource for you. Our article addressing the differences between trade school and apprenticeship will give you all the information you need! 

Step 2: Gain Experience

Different ASE certifications require different amounts of experience so be sure to know which test you want to take and have the correct amount of experience. This experience must be done in an auto shop although, you can receive some work experience if you received formal automotive training. Along with that, you can take the ASE certification tests before you even gain the required experience. If you do this, your test will be scored and returned, if you pass you will not receive your ASE certification until you fulfill the work experience requirement for that area. The work experience needed can be found below or here:

Tests Years of Experience Category
1 year Repair Technician
A1-A9, B2-B5, E1-E3, F1, H1-H8, S1-S7, T1-T8, X1
2 years Repair Technician
L1, L2, L3
3 years Repair Technician
2 years Service Consultant
P1, P2, P4
2 years Parts Specialist
2 years Collision Damage Estimator

Step 3: Study and Take ASE Practice Test

Once you know exactly how to get ASE certified and you have finished your apprenticeship or trade school program, there is just one thing to do, STUDY! There are many ways to study for an exam such as this and many trade schools include resources specifically to help their graduates pass the test to become ASE certified. Be sure to ask your school’s representative about this before you graduate and it can even be a great thing to ask when you are searching for the right trade school. Some schools do more for their students to earn their ASE certification so be sure to know what certain schools offer before you commit.

Apart from what your school may offer, there is one major resource that is extremely helpful when preparing for the ASE certification tests, an ASE practice test. There are many different free tests on the web which can be helpful but none of them prepare as well as ASE’s official practice tests. To accompany their practice tests, there are other ASE services like free study guides for all of the certification levels which you can find here. If you glance to the right, you will see all of the practice tests offered by ASE. If you need a hard copy of a study guide for ASE testing, you can find a number of high quality options on Amazon at a fairly reasonable price. 

Category ASE Practice Tests
A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8
Medium/Heavy Truck
T2, T4, T6, T8
Automobile Service Consultant
Automobile Maintenance and Light Repair
Automobile Advanced Engine Performance Specialist
Automobile Parts Specialist

It is important to note a few things about the official ASE practice test. First of all, they are not free. The ASE practice tests start out at $14.95 each but if you buy tests in bulk the cost will drop to $11.95 each. This is something some schools will have to offer to you or they will reimburse you for this. Along with that, if you are already in your career at an auto shop, ask your shop manager if they will reimburse your practice test costs. Along with that, there is only one practice test for each ASE certification level. So, if you take the A1 practice test twice, you will be answering the exact same questions all over again. If you would like to learn more or purchase your ASE practice test, head over to their official website.

Step 4: Take the Exam

Now you get to the fun and most important step in how to get ASE certified, taking the official ASE exam. There are 8 subject areas as part of testing for mechanic certification through ASE. These include:

  • Automatic Trans/Transaxle
  • Brakes
  • Electrical/Electrical Systems
  • Engine Performance
  • Engine Repair
  • Heating & Air Conditioning
  • Manual Drive Train & Axles
  • Suspension and Steering

​Let’s first talk about registering to take the exam. Although you can take the test year-round, there are certain registration periods throughout the year to sign up for testing. Once you register within a certain registration period, you will have 90 days to take the exam. So if you register on the first day or the last day of the registration season, you have about 3 months to complete testing. Below are the registration windows:

Winter Registration

January 10 – March 31

Summer Registration

July 10 – September 30

Spring Registration

April 10 – June 30

Fall Registration

October 10 – December 31

ASE Certification Cost

Next we get to the ASE Certification cost. Whether this is your first time getting certified or you are getting your recertification, there is a $36 registration fee. This is a single payment for the registration window. From there, each test is $43 on top of the registration fee. Keep in mind, that L1, L2, and L3 are more expensive at $86 each. When getting your recertification, there is a cap to the cost of tests taken in a single registration window of $129. Therefore, if you wanted to get recertification for every single ASE certification possible, you would only pay $129 plus the $36 registration fee. This is not true for getting your first certifications. So, if it is your first time, the ASE certification cost can be quite high. Therefore, you will want to definitely reach out to your auto shop or your trade school to see if they offer any refunds or credits. Along with that, you can apply for certain grants, such as the Future Mechanic Grant, to cover these costs. Lastly, even the ASE Institute has test refunds and credits for their tests which can really cut down your ASE certification cost.

When it comes to the actual test, you will want to call back on your schooling days and remember exactly how you test best. Everyone is different and requires different things to perform well on test day. Whether it is having a cup of coffee before or an energy drink, listening to music on the way to the test or sitting in silence, whatever works for you, do it. Khan Academy has some great test taking tips for the SAT which can be applied to your ASE certification test.

Step 5: Pass the Exam and Get Paid

Now that you know how to become ASE certified, you can get on your way to a higher pay check! If you follow the last four steps, step 5 will come easy. Once you pass your test, you can demand higher pay from your employer and sometimes even earn promotions. So, if you have to pay on your own for the tests, it can be well worth it in the long run as you will make back the ASE certification cost and more.

As always, if you have any questions about how to get ASE certified or need advice on a trade school or anything related to a career in automotive service, please let us know. We are here to help you first and foremost! So, head over to our mechanic school page to find the best school for you. If you are already in school, check out other blog posts for updates in the automotive industry and other great resources like this one!

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