This is a hotly contested subject among mechanics. I have had this conversation many times with my peers. I know there are other opinions so, take mine as someone who has been on both sides of the argument. Should you get ASE certified to be a diesel mechanic? Or any other mechanic for that matter.
Should a Mechanic get ASE certified? Yes, it will only help you in your journey and solidify your skills as a mechanic. Plus, most companies will give you a little pay bump. Let’s look at the reasons why you should and how to go about getting some.
Someone is screaming at the screen right now saying, “Anyone can take a test, ASE proves nothing but your testing ability”. They have a solid point. I have worked with “master” certified people who were not good mechanics. Some that needed help on every job and every diagnosis. So, if that is possible, why get them at all? I mean aren’t they kind of pointless if someone can just study the book and go pass the test?
Let me answer that question with my 3 reasons you need ASE in the current market.
ASE like it or not is the accepted standard to the layperson. Most people if they have had their car worked on know what ASE is. That means while people in HR (the people in the hiring dept.) see it as you making yourself stand out. It helps hiring managers, supervisors and shop managers know that you are committed to the field. After all, why would you get certified if you are planning on leaving the field?
Like it or not. ASE has done a great marketing job as being a sign of “trust” in our society. They have made themselves the standard for good mechanics. If you are not certified, people with be a little hesitant of using your service. Especially if you are serving the public.
So with this trust factor shops are seeing the value in at least some of their guys having the certs. So, if it gives the john Q customer more confidence to come in and let someone they don’t know take apart their vehicle it makes since for the business to have them.
I will get some argument here but, there is an amount of credibility that goes with taking and passing these tests. They are not a breeze. Just thinking about mechanic A and mechanic B makes me want to through something. With lots of trick questions and weird scenarios the tests can be quite difficult. So, to the one who passes them congrats! It does at least mean they can memorize and know the lingo of equipment.
So, there is some credibility that comes with them. They are not a walk in the park. You will most likely not be able to read the book once knock it out. Maybe for some of the easier ones but, not all of their tests are created equal and the path to master has you taking all 8 in your chosen field.
3. Pay Increase
Another contested point. There usually is a pay increase that goes with the certs. While not all companies do this, even for the ones that don’t it opens up the door for a conversation with a mechanic that gets them. I have worked for a place that payed 0.15 cents more hourly for master and I have worked for a place that payed $5.00 more for any 8 tests. (That’s not a typo).
Take it from a guy who has a few
They are worth it. Overall, we complain about them, the money they cost and the hassle but, face the music they are a good investment. Mine have paid for the time, money and hassle 10000x over.
Ok John you convinced me; how do I get them?
1. Great question! So, first you need 2 “verifiable” years experience.
That means you create a MyASE account and put in the company you work for and they send an email (maybe) to verify you have those years of experience. Honesty is the best policy here. If you don’t have two years yet (yes, school counts) than wait it out.
2. You are going to need to Study
Pick the tests you think you will be most successful in and buy the books and study. Most people start with brakes or air conditioning. It tends to be the easiest for beginners. Here is a link to the study guide for brakes on Amazon -T4 Brakes guide- T8 AC guide. Everyone is different though so you may have more success on another test. This is all the guides, ASE study guide Bundle for some help getting started.
3. Make an appointment
Easily done through the website. Do that here
4. Go take it!
Be ready for a strip search. They aren’t playing around. The test is usually done where they also do tests for medical school, nursing, dentistry, insurance and all kinds of stuff. Most of those places take it very seriously. Do not write answers on you hand or hide a piece of paper. They will kick you out. The only thing going in to that room with you is your mind 🧠. After an average of 50 minutes of torture it’s over and you know right away if you passed it or not. (Which makes for a long ride home if you didn’t).
Here is a list of All the ASE certifications
To sum up
So, even though it is contested I hope you have seen that it can be worth your while and help you progress in the path to be a well paid and awesome diesel mechanic. If you end up taking one and failing it, no sweat. Read the book again and go back and take it again. I have seen lots of people fail these including myself. But, stick with it and you will get them and reap the benefits.
What does it cost to get certified as a diesel mechanic
A $36 registration fee is paid only once during a registration window it does not matter how many tests you take. Tests are $43 each. Find more info here
How many diesel ASE certifications are there?
There are 40 ASE certifications. There are 8 for Heavy Truck which you need to be a master.