How to Become a Master Mechanic: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a master mechanic. Research the education and career requirements, certification and experience required for starting a career as a master mechanic.

Should I Become a Master Mechanic?

Master mechanics diagnose mechanical problems in cars, trucks and other types of vehicles. When an owner brings in their vehicle, master mechanics will ask questions about the problems that are occurring and runs tests to determine if anything is wrong. They also perform tune-ups as needed. They are knowledgeable about all the major parts of a car, including the brakes, transmissions, electrical components or computer systems. Working in noisy areas, in uncomfortable positions, with oily parts and tools may be common aspects of the job.

While only a high diploma is required to work as a general mechanic, enrolling in a post-secondary program may help prospective mechanics pursue certification through the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). In order to earn the master mechanic designation, individuals must pass all eight certification exams.

Career Requirements

Education Level High school diploma
Certification While not necessary, ASE certification will demonstrate a mechanic's knowledge in the field; licensing is required by the Environmental Protection Agency for individuals handling refrigerants
Experience Employers prefer applicants who have some experience in the field
Key Skills Master mechanics need to have solid customer service skills and the dexterity to repair automotive parts
Technical Skills Master mechanics must be familiar with the computer systems found in cars
Salary $36,610 (Median annual salary for automotive service technician)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma

Earning a high school diploma is the minimum requirement to become a master mechanic. While aspiring mechanics can begin gaining automotive repair skills by taking elective courses in shop or electronics classes, some high schools may feature an automotive technology program. Taking courses in mathematics, computers and English may also be beneficial for a future career as a mechanic.

Step 2: Gain Experience

According to the ASE, applicants need to have at least two years of experience working as a mechanic before obtaining certification. New mechanics in the field may need to start in a training position and learn under the supervision of an experienced mechanic. Others may choose to participate in an apprenticeship program, which will combine classroom work with on-the-job training. As new mechanics gain more skills in the field, they will be permitted to perform work on their own.

Step 3: Consider Post-Secondary Education in Automotive Technology

Certificate and associate's degree programs in automotive technology are also available and may be beneficial for prospective mechanics. These programs will provide additional education and training in the automotive technology field. Graduating from a formal training program may be substituted for some of the required experience.

Step 4: Earn Master Mechanic Certification

In order to earn master certification, mechanics need to pass eight examinations. These examinations cover specialties in engine repair, automatic transmission, manual drive train and axles, suspension and steering, brakes, electrical/electronic systems, heating and air conditioning and engine performance. The exams feature 40-50 multiple choice questions, and each require a separate registration and fee. Certification for each specialty expires after five years, and each exam must be retaken for renewal.

Search Degrees, Careers, or Schools