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Top 11 Automotive Technician Certifications

This article provides an overview of the most sought-after automotive technician certifications and highlights their benefits to technicians.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 19 min read

Certifications for automotive technicians are important in the job market because they demonstrate to employers that a technician has a certain level of knowledge and skill. Certifications also provide proof that a technician has completed the required training, which can be beneficial when competing for jobs with other applicants who may not have the same level of experience or education. Additionally, certifications make it easier for potential employers to verify an individual’s credentials and qualifications. Finally, certifications can help automotive technicians stay up-to-date on new technologies and techniques, as many certification programs require ongoing continuing education courses.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for Automotive Technicians and explains how they can help enhance an automotive technician's career.

What are Automotive Technician Certifications?

Automotive technician certification is a program designed to recognize technicians who have demonstrated a level of competency in automotive repair and maintenance. Automotive technician certification is offered through many organizations, including the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), and is based on a series of tests covering different areas of automotive repair. Becoming certified as an automotive technician can provide many benefits, such as increased job opportunities, higher wages, and greater customer satisfaction.

Having an ASE certification can demonstrate to employers that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to do the job correctly. Employers may be more likely to hire technicians with certifications since they know they are qualified and knowledgeable about their work. Additionally, having an ASE certification can lead to higher wages since employers may be willing to pay more for certified technicians. Having an ASE certification also helps build customer trust since customers will know that you are qualified to do the job correctly. This can lead to greater customer satisfaction which may help increase business for your employer.

Overall, becoming certified as an automotive technician can provide many benefits such as increased job opportunities, higher wages, and greater customer satisfaction. It is important for any aspiring automotive technician to consider obtaining their certification in order to maximize their potential in this field.

Pro Tip: When choosing an automotive technician certification program, make sure it is accredited by a reliable source and has been verified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). ASE certifications are highly respected and demonstrate that the technician has achieved a certain level of expertise in their field. Additionally, some employers may require certification prior to hiring, so be sure to research the requirements for any job you’re interested in.

Related: What does an Automotive Technician do?

Top 11 Automotive Technician Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Automotive Technicians today.

1. Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certification

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certification is a nationally recognized certification program for automotive technicians. It is designed to ensure that technicians have the skills and knowledge necessary to properly diagnose, repair, and service today’s complex vehicles. The ASE certification program consists of a series of tests that measure a technician’s knowledge in specific areas such as brakes, engines, electrical systems, heating/air conditioning systems, and more.

In order to become ASE certified, technicians must pass at least one test from each of the eight ASE certification categories. Each test takes approximately two hours to complete and costs $50 per test. The entire process can take anywhere from six months to two years depending on the number of tests taken and how quickly they are completed.

To get started on the path to becoming ASE certified, technicians should first register with ASE by completing an online application form and paying an initial fee of $36. After registration is complete, technicians can begin studying for their chosen tests using study guides provided by ASE or other sources. Once ready, they can then register for their chosen tests online or via mail-in forms.

Overall, the cost of becoming ASE certified varies depending on the number of tests taken but typically ranges from $400-$600 total including registration fees and test fees.

2. Automotive Technician Certification Program (ATCP)

The Automotive Technician Certification Program (ATCP) is an industry-recognized certification program designed to assess the knowledge and skills of automotive technicians. The ATCP is offered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of vehicle repair and service through the testing and certification of automotive technicians.

To become certified, technicians must pass a series of tests that cover all aspects of automotive repair and service. The tests are divided into eight categories: Engine Repair, Automatic Transmission/Transaxle, Manual Drive Train & Axles, Suspension & Steering, Brakes, Electrical/Electronic Systems, Heating & Air Conditioning, and Engine Performance. Each test consists of 50 to 80 multiple-choice questions.

The ATCP typically takes between six months to one year to complete depending on how quickly you can study and prepare for the tests. To get started with ATCP certification, you will need to register with ASE and pay a registration fee. After registering, you can purchase study materials from ASE or other sources that will help you prepare for the tests. Once you feel ready to take the tests, you will need to schedule an appointment at an authorized testing center in your area.

The cost of the ATCP varies depending on how many tests you plan on taking and which study materials you purchase. Generally speaking, it costs around $100 per test plus any additional fees associated with purchasing study materials or scheduling appointments at testing centers.

3. National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Master Technician Certification

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Master Technician Certification is a professional certification program designed to recognize and reward excellence in the automotive service industry. The ASE Master Technician Certification is the highest level of certification available from ASE and requires extensive knowledge, experience, and skill. It is awarded to technicians who have demonstrated a mastery of all areas of vehicle repair and maintenance.

To become an ASE Master Technician, you must first pass a series of tests that cover all aspects of vehicle repair and maintenance. These tests include engine performance, brakes, electrical/electronic systems, suspension/steering systems, heating/air conditioning systems, manual drivetrain/axles, automatic transmissions/transaxles, engine repair and light vehicle diesel engines. After passing these tests, you will be eligible to apply for the ASE Master Technician Certification.

It typically takes several years to become an ASE Master Technician as it requires significant knowledge and experience in the automotive service industry. The cost to take the tests varies depending on which tests you are taking but typically ranges from $30-$60 per test. Additionally, there is an annual fee of $36 required to maintain your certification status.

Once certified as an ASE Master Technician, you will be able to demonstrate your expertise in all areas of automotive service and repair which can lead to higher pay or better job opportunities within the automotive industry.

4. National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Advanced Level Specialist Certification

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Advanced Level Specialist Certification is a certification program designed to recognize automotive professionals who have demonstrated advanced knowledge and skills in a specific area of automotive repair. This certification is awarded after passing a series of tests that cover the most up-to-date information on vehicle systems, diagnosis, and repair procedures.

To become an ASE Advanced Level Specialist, you must first complete two years of work experience in the field and then pass the ASE certification exams. The exams are divided into two parts: the general exam and the specialty exam. The general exam covers topics such as engine performance, brakes, suspension, steering, electrical systems, heating/air conditioning systems, and other related areas. The specialty exam focuses on a specific area such as engine performance or brakes.

The cost of taking the ASE Advanced Level Specialist Certification exams varies depending on which exams you take and how many you take at once. Generally speaking, each individual test costs around $60 with discounts available for multiple tests taken at once.

It typically takes about six weeks to get your results back from the ASE after taking their exams. Once you have passed all required tests, you will receive your official ASE Advanced Level Specialist Certification card which will be valid for five years before needing to be renewed.

5. International Automotive Technicians Network (iATN) Certified Professional Technician

The International Automotive Technicians Network (iATN) Certified Professional Technician is a certification program designed to recognize automotive technicians who have demonstrated a high level of proficiency in their field. This certification is offered through the iATN, an online community of professional automotive technicians and shop owners from around the world.

In order to become an iATN Certified Professional Technician, applicants must first pass a rigorous exam that covers all aspects of automotive repair and maintenance. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and requires a minimum score of 80% in order to pass. Once the exam is passed, applicants must then complete a series of practical tasks that demonstrate their ability to diagnose and repair various vehicle systems. After completing these tasks, applicants must submit proof of their work experience and education as well as an application fee.

The cost for the iATN Certified Professional Technician certification varies depending on the country where it is taken, but typically ranges from $200-$500 USD. It typically takes between 4-6 weeks to receive your certification once you have completed all requirements.

6. National Institute of Automotive Service Professionals (NIASP) Certified Master Technician

The National Institute of Automotive Service Professionals (NIASP) Certified Master Technician is the highest level of certification available to automotive service technicians. It is a voluntary program that recognizes and rewards those who have achieved a high level of technical proficiency in the automotive service industry.

To become certified, an individual must complete a minimum of eight years of hands-on experience as an automotive technician, plus pass a rigorous exam that covers all aspects of automotive repair and maintenance. The exam consists of multiple choice questions, as well as performance-based tasks. To maintain certification, individuals must participate in continuing education activities every three years.

The cost for the NIASP Certified Master Technician program varies depending on the individual’s current level of experience and training. Generally speaking, it can range from $250 to $1,000 or more for the exam and associated materials.

In order to become certified, individuals must first complete an approved training program through either a vocational school or community college. Once they have completed their training, they can then apply to take the NIASP Certified Master Technician exam. This process typically takes two to four months depending on availability and scheduling.

Once an individual has passed the exam and met all other requirements, they will be officially recognized as a NIASP Certified Master Technician. This certification is valid for three years before needing to be renewed with additional continuing education activities.

7. Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Certified Automotive Technician

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Certified Automotive Technician is a certification that recognizes automotive technicians who have achieved a high level of proficiency in their field. This certification requires the technician to demonstrate comprehensive knowledge and experience in all aspects of automotive repair and maintenance.

To become an SAE Certified Automotive Technician, individuals must complete a two-part program. The first part consists of completing at least six courses from the SAE Automotive Technical Education Program (ATEP). These courses cover topics such as engine diagnosis, electrical systems, brakes, suspension and steering, and vehicle maintenance. Upon completion of the ATEP courses, individuals must pass an exam administered by SAE International to receive their certification.

The cost for the ATEP courses varies depending on the number of courses taken and the institution offering them. Generally speaking, each course costs between $200-$400 USD. Additionally, there is an exam fee associated with taking the SAE International Certification Exam which is typically around $150 USD.

In total, it usually takes about 6-8 months to complete all of the requirements for becoming an SAE Certified Automotive Technician.

8. International Council of Motor Vehicle Inspection Agencies (ICMVIA) Certified Inspector/Technician

The International Council of Motor Vehicle Inspection Agencies (ICMVIA) Certified Inspector/Technician is a certification program designed to recognize and promote the highest standards of motor vehicle inspection. The ICMVIA Certified Inspector/Technician program is a voluntary certification process that provides recognition for individuals who have demonstrated knowledge, skill and experience in the field of motor vehicle inspection.

To become an ICMVIA Certified Inspector/Technician, applicants must successfully complete a written exam covering topics such as safety regulations, motor vehicle systems, and inspection procedures. The exam typically takes two to three hours to complete. After passing the exam, applicants will receive their ICMVIA Certification Card which is valid for three years.

The cost of taking the exam varies by region but typically ranges from $100 to $400 USD. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with obtaining the certification card or renewing it after three years.

Overall, becoming an ICMVIA Certified Inspector/Technician is a great way to demonstrate your expertise in the field of motor vehicle inspection and gain recognition for your skills and knowledge.

9. National Institute of Motorcycle Technicians and Repairers (NIMTR) Certified Motorcycle Technician

The National Institute of Motorcycle Technicians and Repairers (NIMTR) Certified Motorcycle Technician is a certification program designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of technical knowledge and skill in the repair and maintenance of motorcycles. This certification is recognized by motorcycle manufacturers, dealerships, and service centers as an indication of expertise in motorcycle repair.

To become a NIMTR Certified Motorcycle Technician, applicants must first complete the NIMTR Certification Program, which consists of five courses: Basic Motorcycle Repair & Maintenance; Advanced Motorcycle Repair & Maintenance; Electrical Systems; Engine Diagnostics & Troubleshooting; and Suspension & Brakes. The program takes approximately six months to complete, depending on the individual’s availability for study time.

In order to apply for the program, applicants must submit an application form along with proof of their education or experience in the field. Once accepted into the program, applicants will be required to pay a one-time fee of $250 USD. After successful completion of all five courses, applicants will receive their NIMTR Certified Motorcycle Technician certificate.

The NIMTR Certified Motorcycle Technician certification is valid for three years from the date it was issued and can be renewed by completing additional training courses or passing a recertification exam.

10. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Certified Automobile Technician

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Certified Automobile Technician certification is a professional credential that demonstrates a technician’s knowledge and expertise in the automotive field. This certification is awarded to technicians who have achieved a high level of proficiency in the diagnosis, repair, and maintenance of all types of motor vehicles.

To become certified, an individual must successfully complete a series of tests administered by ASME. The tests cover areas such as engine systems, electrical systems, brakes, suspension and steering, and other related topics. Once the tests are completed and passed with a score of at least 80%, the individual will be awarded their certification.

The process typically takes between six months to one year depending on the individual’s experience level. During this time period, individuals must complete training courses offered by ASME or through accredited schools or organizations. Additionally, individuals must pass both written and practical exams to demonstrate their knowledge and skillset in automotive technology.

The cost for the certification varies depending on the type of program chosen; however, it typically ranges from $500-$1000 USD.

11. National Institute for Collision Repair Specialists (NICRS) Certified Collision Repair Technician

The National Institute for Collision Repair Specialists (NICRS) Certified Collision Repair Technician program is a certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated knowledge, skill and ability in the collision repair industry. The program is designed to provide an objective measure of technical proficiency and safety awareness for those involved in the collision repair process.

In order to become certified, applicants must pass an exam that covers topics such as automotive systems, vehicle damage analysis, welding, painting and refinishing, structural repairs and non-structural repairs. Applicants must also demonstrate their understanding of safe work practices in the shop environment.

The exam typically takes around two hours to complete and can be taken at any NICRS approved testing center. The cost of the exam varies depending on location but is generally between $200-$300 USD.

Once certified, technicians are required to maintain their certification by completing continuing education courses every three years. These courses cover topics such as new technologies and safety procedures in order to ensure that technicians remain up-to-date with current industry standards.

Do You Really Need a Automotive Technician Certificate?

Whether or not you need an automotive technician certificate depends on a variety of factors. Generally, employers prefer to hire technicians who have some type of formal certification, as it demonstrates that the technician has mastered a certain set of skills and is qualified to work on cars.

If you are interested in pursuing a career as an automotive technician, it is wise to obtain a certificate from an accredited institution. This will give you an edge over other candidates when applying for jobs, as employers are more likely to hire someone with formal qualifications. Additionally, having a certificate may open up more job opportunities and make you eligible for higher pay rates.

In addition to providing proof of your technical abilities, obtaining a certificate can also help you develop practical skills such as problem-solving and time management. These skills are essential for success in the automotive industry and can be honed through coursework and hands-on experience.

So while it is not strictly necessary to have an automotive technician certificate in order to pursue this line of work, having one can certainly be beneficial in terms of job prospects and salary potential. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if obtaining a certificate is worth the effort and expense for your specific situation.

Related: Automotive Technician Resume Examples

FAQs About Automotive Technician Certifications

1. What certifications do automotive technicians need?

Answer: Automotive technicians typically need to obtain certifications from organizations such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). These certifications are available in a number of areas, including engine repair, brakes, electrical systems, and more.

2. How long does it take to get certified as an automotive technician?

Answer: The amount of time it takes to become certified as an automotive technician depends on the type of certification being sought. Generally, most ASE certifications require two or three years of experience in the field and successful completion of exams.

3. What is the cost associated with getting certified as an automotive technician?

Answer: The cost associated with obtaining ASE certification varies depending on the specific certification being sought. Generally, exams range from $30-$90 each and there may be additional costs for study materials or other related expenses.

4. Are there any prerequisites for becoming an automotive technician?

Answer: Yes, generally speaking most employers will require that applicants have at least a high school diploma or equivalent before they can begin working as an automotive technician. Some employers may also require that applicants have some form of specialized training or experience before they can be hired.

5. Does certification as an automotive technician expire?

Answer: Yes, ASE certifications must be renewed every five years by taking continuing education courses and passing periodic tests.

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