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Automotive | Industry Certifications | ASE

What Is ASE and How Does It Benefit Automotive Students?

February 23rd, 2023 | 5 min. read

Mike Cescon

Mike Cescon

With past experience in teaching, a couple of degrees in writing, and an upbringing immersed in medical jargon, Mike is positioned well to hear out the most common questions teachers ask about the iCEV curriculum. His goal is to write content that quickly and effectively answers these questions so you can back to what matters - teaching your students.

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If you’re new to teaching an automotive course, you may be unaware of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). As one of the most popular certification providers in the transportation sector, it’s essential you understand ASE and how it can benefit your students. 

So what is ASE? What certification exams do they offer, and how are these exams structured? 

In this article, you’ll discover answers to some of the most common questions teachers have about ASE: 

  1. What Is ASE and How Does It Benefit Students? 
  2. What Certifications Does ASE Offer? 
  3. How Are ASE Certification Exams Structured?
  4. What Is the ASE Certification Process? 

By the end of this article, you’ll have a thorough understanding of ASE and the many exams it provides. 

1. What Is ASE and How Does It Benefit Students?

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair. They accomplish this by offering exams students can take to earn ASE certifications.

An ASE certification marks a student as professionally skilled in a particular area of automotive service and repair. By providing certifications, ASE reassures customers and industry workers that a technician has the automotive knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish the job. 

Each ASE certification is valuable and industry-recognized, with many automotive shops requiring one before they’ll consider hiring a candidate. Earning one of these certifications can be highly beneficial for newer technicians, as it proves their level of expertise.

2. What Certifications Does ASE Offer?

ASE offers a wide range of certification exams covering subjects across the automotive service industry. Altogether, there are 58 exams, divided into specific subject areas that they call “series.” Some of these exams include: 

  • Engine Repair
  • Suspension & Steering
  • Painting & Refinishing
  • Structural Analysis & Damage Repair
  • Damage Analysis & Estimating
  • Truck Equipment Installation & Repair
  • Alternate Fuels
  • Auto Maintenance & Light Repair
  • Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis
  • Light Duty Hybrid/Electric Vehicle
  • Under Specialist Exhaust Systems

Though ASE offers many exams, it’s important to note that your students only need to pass one exam to become ASE certified. However, if they go on to pass every required exam offered within a series, they can earn the additional status of “Master Technician” for that series. This is a prestigious title that marks students as well-rounded experts within a subject area. 

Each ASE certification expires after five years. Students can renew their credentials, however, by passing a recertification exam. These exams are much shorter---about half the length of the exams students take for their initial certification.

3. How Are ASE Certification Exams Structured?

ASE offers many exams, each containing a varying number of multiple-choice questions. Generally, exams consist of 40-65 questions, but longer exams can include as many as 80 items.

These questions are divided across 4-6 content areas, each composing a certain percentage of the exam. Some example exam content areas include: 

Engine Repair Exam Content Areas (50 Questions)

  1. General Engine Diagnosis (15 questions)
  2. Cylinder Head and Valve Train Diagnosis and Repair (10 questions)
  3. Engine Block Diagnosis and Repair (10 questions)
  4. Lubrication and Cooling Systems Diagnosis and Repair (8 questions)
  5. Fuel, Electrical, Ignition, and Exhaust Systems Inspection and Service (7 questions )

Structural Analysis and Damage Repair Exam Content Areas (50 Questions)

  1. Frame Inspection and Repair (16 questions)
  2. Unibody and Unitized Structure Inspection, Measurement, and Repair (18 questions)
  3. Stationary Glass (4 questions)
  4. Welding, Cutting, and Joining (12 questions)

You can find a complete list of these exams on ASE’s website. Included with this list are also helpful study guides that outline the structure of the exams within each series.

4. What is the ASE Certification Process?

Before your students can apply to take one of ASE’s certification exams, there are some experience requirements they have to meet.

To qualify, your students generally need either two years of on-the-job training, or a two-year degree in automotive repair and one year of on-the-job training. However, these requirements may vary depending on which exam you apply for. 

After successfully applying, students should arrive at their designated testing center and lock up any items not allowed inside the exam room, including notes, smartphones, and other electronics. Depending on the test center, security procedures may be in place, and they’ll need to bring photo ID along to confirm their identity. 

Once in the exam room, students will be given around 1.5 hours to complete their exams. For larger exams, they may be allowed up to three hours. 

ASE returns test results to students quickly. Generally, by the time your students return home, their exams will already have been graded, and they’ll be able to view their results via email.

Need to Prep Students for ASE Success?

In this article, you’ve discovered more about ASE, how its certification process works, and how it can ultimately benefit your students and earn them careers in the automotive industry. 

However, understanding ASE is only the first step to prepping your students for career success. What comes next is finding an automotive curriculum you can use to ensure your students are ready come exam day. To that end, check out iCEV’s Transportation curriculum for automotive, diesel, and small engines!

This ASE-aligned automotive curriculum includes dozens of courses designed to explore all facets of the industry. Along the way, students will use lessons, task sheets, games, and more to learn everything they need to pass their certification exams: 

Discover the ASE Accredited Automotive Curriculum