How to Become a Master Technician

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

Should I Become a Master Technician?

A master technician is an automotive service professional who has earned all eight certifications offered through the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). These areas of certification include electrical systems, engine performance, heating and air conditioning, engine repair and more. While these techs diagnose problems in vehicles and make repairs, they may also supervise the work of other technicians. Their work may often take place in noisy repair shops, working in awkward positions with oily tools and parts.

Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma; associate's degree may be beneficial
Degree Name Automotive technology
Certification Eight ASE certification must be earned
Experience Experience working as a technician is necessary for certification eligibility
Key Skills In addition to the dexterity to make repairs, master technicians must have strong customer service skills and be very detail-oriented, master mechanics must understand how to diagnose and repair complicated automotive systems and be familiar with electrical components
Salary (2015) $41,442 yearly (median)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), Payscale.com (July 2015)

Step 1: Become a Service Technician

The quickest route to becoming a master technician begins with completing an automotive technology program certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). On its website, NATEF provides a list of certified high school and community college programs in each state.

In order to be eligible for the certification examinations, technicians must have at least two years of experience. Certified automotive technology programs include classroom instruction and hands-on practice - in some cases through internships or apprenticeships - with all major auto components. Graduates of 2-year training programs can count this education toward one year of work experience.

Success Tip:

  • Enroll in a manufacturer-sponsored program. Some major automobile manufacturers sponsor training programs that prepare students to work specifically with their vehicles and parts.

Step 2: Gain Experience as a Technician

Prospective master technicians need to build up experience to become well rounded in all areas of auto repair. This comprehensive knowledge is acquired through rising through the ranks of the shop from entry-level service technician to mid-level technician. Eventually, they may perform many job functions that master technicians do, minus the supervisory capacity.

Step 3: Earn ASE Certification

The eight required tests in the series deal with engine repair, automatic transmissions, manual drive trains, suspension and steering systems, brakes, electrical systems, and heating and air conditioning. Successfully passing all eight exams earns individuals the ASE Master Automobile Technician designation. The tests are administered at registered sites in both pencil and paper and computer-based formats.

Success Tip:

  • Maintain certification. To maintain the master technician credentials, passing recertification exams in each area is required every five years.
  • Pursue advancement opportunities. Master technicians may pursue credentials in additional areas of automotive expertise. Collision repair, engine machinist, medium/heavy truck, school bus, transit bus and truck equipment are the areas endorsed by the ASE for master technician certification.

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