If you’re preparing for a career as an automotive professional, you will need to get your ASE certification. In this article, we’ll cover what the ASE certification test is, who takes it, the types of content covered, and where to start if you want to get your mechanic certification.
What Is ASE Certification?
ASE is short for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. ASE has been testing and certifying automotive professionals since 1972.
The ASE test measures a mechanic’s level of technical expertise. The ASE test exists so that shop owners and customers can gauge their technician’s level of expertise before choosing to get their car repaired by him or her.
ASE certification tests are created by experienced automotive industry professionals and executives, like working mechanics, automobile manufacturers and educators. That helps ensure that the ASE exams are relevant to working mechanics.
There are more than 40 different ASE certification tests, covering topics like Collision Repair, School Bus Certification, Alternate Fuels and more. The ASE tests are rigorous: typically only two out of three test-takers pass on their first round.
Who Takes the ASE Certification Test?
You take an ASE certification test if you want to get your mechanic certification in a certain area (or areas) of repair. ASE certification adds credibility to your mechanic credentials.
Not every mechanic is qualified to become ASE certified: in addition to passing your ASE certification test, you need to have at least two years of on the job training or one year of on the job training and a two-year degree.
Once you’ve passed your ASE certification test, you aren’t finished: you’ll need to retest every five years to ensure you’ve kept up with changes in automotive technology.
What Is the Format of the ASE Certification Test?
Depending on the ASE certification test you take, you’ll have to answer between 40 and 75 scored multiple-choice questions. Some tests may also have up to ten non-scored questions that are not scored and for research only.
The tests focus on practical problems that you’ll encounter in your day-to-day work as a mechanic. The tests are not vehicle brand-specific: they’re designed to be answerable by mechanics who work with all types of automobiles.
The Complete List of ASE Certification Tests
There are more than 40 different ASE certification tests. Here is the complete list of all exams.
There are fifteen different Automobile & Light Truck Certifications:
- A1 - Engine Repair Certification
- A2 - Automatic Transmission Certification
- A3 - Manual Drive Train & Axles Certification
- A4 - Suspension & Steering Certification
- A5 - Brakes Certification
- A6 - Electrical Systems Certification
- A7 - Heating & Air Conditioning Certification
- A8 - Engine Performance Certification
- A9 - Light Vehicle Diesel Engine
- C1 - Automobile Service Consultant Certification
- F1 - Compressed Natural Gas Vehicle Certification
- G1 - Auto Maintenance and Light Repair Certification
- L1 - Advanced Engine Performance Specialist Certification
- L3 - Light Duty Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Specialist Certification
- X1 - Exhaust Systems Certification
There are nine different Medium/Heavy Truck Certifications:
- T1 - Gasoline Engines Certification
- T2 - Diesel Engines Certification
- T3 - Drive Train Certification
- T4 - Brakes Certification
- T5 - Suspension and Steering Certification
- T6 - Electrical/Electronic Systems Certification
- T7 - Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems Certification
- T8 - Preventive Maintenance Inspection (PMI) Certification
- L2 - Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist Certification
There are five Collision Repair and Refinish Certifications:
- B2 - Painting and Refinishing Certification
- B3 - Non-Structural Analysis and Damage Repair Certification
- B4 - Structural Analysis and Damage Repair Certification
- B5 - Mechanical and Electrical Components Certification
- B6 - Damage Analysis and Estimating Certification
There are three Parts Specialist Certifications:
- P1 - Med/Hvy Truck Parts Specialist Certification
- P2 - Automobile Parts Specialist Certification
- P3 - General Motors Parts Consultant Certification
There are seven School Bus Certifications:
- S1 - Body Systems and Special Equipment Certification
- S2 - Diesel Engines Certification
- S3 - Drive Train Certification
- S4 - Brakes Certification
- S5 - Suspension and Steering Certification
- S6 - Electrical/Electronic Systems Certification
- S7 - Air Conditioning Systems and Controls
There are eight Transit Bus Certifications:
- H1 - Compressed Natural Gas Engines Certification
- H2 - Diesel Engines Certification
- H3 - Drive Train Certification
- H4 - Brakes Certification
- H5 - Suspension and Steering Certification
- H6 - Electrical/Electronic Systems Certification
- H7 - Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Certification
- H8 - Preventive Maintenance Inspection Certification
There are three Truck Equipment Certifications:
- E1 - Truck Equipment Installation and Repair Certification
- E2 - Electrical/Electronic Systems Installation and Repair Certification
- E3 - Auxiliary Power Systems Installation and Repair Certification
How to Register for ASE Testing
ASE testing is available year-round, but there are four specific registration windows that you can take the test during. Here are the yearly registration windows:
Winter Registration: January 10 - March 31
Spring Registration: April 10 - June 30
Summer Registration: July 10 - September 30
Fall Registration: October 10 - December 31
You may take multiple exams during the certification window. It costs $36 to register for the ASE exams, then $43 per test (except tests L1, L2, and L3 which are $86). You can take as many tests as you want in your certification window.
If you’re going for your recertification, you may take as many recertification tests as you want in a registration window, but ASE caps the cost of your tests at $129. That means that the most you’ll have to pay for recertification, no matter how many exams you take, is $129.
Where to Start If You Want ASE Certification
ASE certification is a handy tool for mechanics who want to prove their value to customers and shop owners. Here’s where you should start if you want to achieve your ASE certification.
#1: Decide What Tests You Want to Register For
First, you’ll need to decide what ASE certification tests you would like to take. You don’t need to be certified in every single ASE field. If you have no interest in being a bus driver, for instance, then there’s no sense in taking the ASE bus driver tests.
Look through the list of exams and decided what makes sense for your career.
#2: Ensure You Have the Proper Experience
Remember, you need to have at least two years of on the job training or one year of on the job training and a two-year degree. If you haven’t met either of those two experience levels, you should wait to finish that training before applying to take the test.
#3: Register for an Exam
After you’ve decided on your test content areas and ensured you have the right experience, it’s time to register for an ASE exam. Use the ASE Online Portal to register to take your exam during the testing windows at a testing location.
#4: Prepare to Take the Exam
The ASE exam is rigorous: you should prepare for it before test day. You can get official practice test resources from ASE’s website. Take a practice exam and see how you scored. From there, make a plan to study the content areas that are more challenging for you. Typically, studying the areas you struggle in is more effective than studying for the whole test. Prepare until you’re consistently passing the practice exam. Then you’ll be ready to take your ASE certification test.
ASE Student Certification: Final Thoughts
The ASE certification is a rigorous certification for mechanics who want to show that they specialize in a specific field. There are more than 40 different types of ASE exams that you can taketo get your mechanic certification. Taking ASE practice tests are a great resource to use during your ASE test prep.
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Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley's students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females.