Vehicle Emissions Inspection

Vehicle emissions inspectors test the exhaust from vehicles to ensure that vehicle pollution-control devices are working properly. Read on to learn about vehicle emissions inspection training programs and careers here.

Inside Vehicle Emissions Inspection

Vehicle emissions inspection programs are administered by states and part of an environmental initiative to create cleaner air and water. Vehicle emissions inspectors test cars, trucks and other vehicles to ensure that they comply with state or local emissions regulations. Either local governments or private vehicle maintenance facilities employ these inspectors, depending on the state. In all states, vehicle emissions inspectors are required to complete a course or certificate program in emissions inspection and obtain a state license.

Education Information

High school students may be able to take relevant vocational courses designed to prepare them for a career in the field. In addition, states often partner with local community and technical colleges to offer emissions inspection courses, which are preparation for a vehicle emission inspector's licensing exam. These programs may include coursework in laws and regulations regarding emissions and training in emissions diagnostic equipment.

A degree is not necessary for a position in this field; however, some applicants may find that a diploma or an associate's degree in a related area, such as vehicle mechanics or commercial vehicle technology may be beneficial for employment. Some aspiring vehicle emissions inspectors complete a mechanic apprenticeship at a local shop to gain experience. Check out the links below for more details about training programs in this field.

Distance Learning Options

Although many automotive careers, such as vehicle emissions inspection, require hands-on training, many online programs are available for those with some experience and knowledge of the automotive industry. Read the articles shown below for more information about online learning programs.

Certification Information

After completing a state-approved training program, a written examination must be passed to obtain certification. Other requirements vary by state. Additionally, ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) offers a certification for mechanics known as Undercar Specialist Exhaust Systems, which covers diagnosing and fixing emissions problems.

Career Options

Mechanics certified in vehicle emissions inspection can take their career in many directions. Below are some career options to consider.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( projected a 9% increase in employment opportunities for auto service technicians during the 2012-2022 decade, which is average for all occupations. The mean hourly wage for auto repair technicians was $18.78 in May 2012, with most earning between $10.01 and $28.88 per hour.

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