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The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers 49 certification tests in 12 specialty areas, including automobile/light truck, collision and refinishing, transit bus and parts specialist. Being ASE certified indicates a mechanic has expertise in one or more areas. Some employers require certification and others pay more to certified mechanics. Getting ASE certified requires work experience and passing tests.
You'll need one to three years of hands-on experience, depending on the service category and type of test you plan to take. A repair technician can get certified with as little as one year of experience but a service consultant needs two years of experience. List your work experience on the two-page form that's available on the ASE website. It must be signed by your employer or supervisor. Training and apprenticeship experience can substitute for some of the required work experience if you have documentation. You also can use self-employment experience if you own or operate a licensed repair business.
Study guides with sample test questions and preparation advice also are available on the ASE website. You can download the guides or request printed copies. An official practice test also is available. You must pay a registration fee before taking any of the tests. One registration fee allows you to take as many tests as you like during a three-month window. Each test, however, requires an additional fee. ASE certification tests are administered year-round at more than 450 testing centers. Testing hours vary depending on location. Tests are computer-based and feature multiple-choice questions. The number of questions range from 50 to 95, and time limits range from one to three-and-a-half hours, depending on the test. Bring your registration ticket and a government-issued identification when you show up for a test. Fees are nonrefundable, so don't be late or you may be denied the opportunity to take your test.
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