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The Usefulness of ASE Certification

ASE Certification

How useful is ASE certification? The Automotive Management Network currently is running a poll on this topic, and we would love your feedback based on the experience of your auto shop.

We asked the question: What percent of technicians at your shop have one or more ASE Certifications? (Please select closest percentage.)

The response as of this writing is split in an interesting and revealing way. The largest number of votes are for 0% and 100% – both of them have received 35 votes and reflect 19% of respondents. The next largest vote is for 10% which received 23 votes and reflects 12% of respondents. Eleven percent of respondents voted for 50%. The rest of the votes are split, but more heavily weighted on the side of having 50% or fewer technicians being ASE certified in the shop.

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How Important is ASE Certification?

According to commenters on our Facebook page, not very. They make the following arguments:

ASE certification doesn’t prove competency – Because the test is written and doesn’t evaluate actual hands-on skill or knowledge gained by experience, it only measures how well the test takers can read and regurgitate information.

Keith D.: “The current ASEs are a joke. Unless you are L1 certified all the test prove is that you know how to read. We had service writers that never turned a wrench that are master techs because A1-8 are basic but make you a master.”

Joe S.T.: “I have been in the automotive repair industry since 1981. I have been saying this for decades. Now with the cost and complexity of auto’s at an all time high it is even more important. I have been an instructor for a automotive manufacturer 12 years. I know over 600 techs in NYS. There are very few I would let work on my car.”

ASE certification is used as a lure, not a guarantee of quality – The customer does not have any assurance that an ASE certified technician will do the work in shops with certified techs. Owners like to advertise that they have ASE certified techs in their shops, but they use uncertified techs as much as possible because they can pay them less money to do the same work.

Vernon C.: “On one hand, owners pretend to hold certification to be important, so here you go some techs apply themselves and get certified so they are rewarded a higher per hour PAY RATE. Others don‘t bother so their hourly PAY RATE is lower.

“Then, to increase profit the non-certified (less expensive). Techs are kept busy…doing jobs in which they aren’t certified, while the more costly techs are only giving the extremely hard cases or rechecks of vehicles previously done by the non-certified techs.”

ASE certification is a money maker for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence – Certification in many fields is a boon for the certifying organization, but it does not guarantee higher wages for the technicians who take the tests and pass them. Many auto repair shop owners pay higher wages to certified techs, but not all. Some owners won’t hire techs because they are certified, believing that they will depend too much on book knowledge and not enough on experience or logic.

The auto technicians have weighed in. Do you agree with these opinions about ASE certification? Please take our survey on the website and then leave any feedback in the box below it on the page. We would love to hear from owners who think ASE certification is a valuable plus in terms of ensuring quality, safety, and better wages for more qualified technicians.