Certified Master Technician: Education Requirements & Career Info

A certified master technician is an optional credential for automotive service professionals. Get some quick facts about the education and experience requirements necessary to qualify as a certified master technician.

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A certified master technician needs to pass exams in more areas of auto repair than a certified technician. To achieve master certification, one must pass tests in eight certification fields and have a minimum of two years of experience, or one year of training and one year of on-the-job experience.

Essential Information

The certified master technician is a professional who has passed all eight tests administered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). This is the culmination of secondary, post-secondary and on-the-job training.

Required Education/Training At least a high school diploma, but participation in an additional training program is recommended
Required Experience Two years of experience (completion of training program may replace one year of experience requirement)
Exam Requirements Passage of tests in all 8 certification fields: engine repair, automatic transmissions, manual drive train and axles, suspension and steering, brakes, electrical systems, heating and air conditioning, and engine performance
Median Salary (2015) $37,850* for automotive service technicians and mechanics

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

Most auto body shops consider passing a vocational training program in automotive service technology as the best background for entry-level positions. High school courses are not usually enough. Further training is necessary.

There is an Automotive Youth Education Service (AYES) program that is a collaboration between high school car repair programs, automotive manufacturers and auto dealers. These programs are certified by the ASE and participants are qualified for entry-level technician positions.

After high school, technician training programs exist that include training through both hands-on experience and classroom study. A certificate is awarded upon the completion of this six-month to one-year long program.

In addition, car dealers and manufacturers sponsor a 2-year associate degree program. This also entails coursework and an apprenticeship.

Most trainee technicians learn the nuances of the trade by on-the-job training with veteran mechanics. Sometimes, on-the-job training is part of an additional program.

It usually takes two to five years to become an established technician. An additional one to two years increases the technician's knowledge of repairs. Another year or two qualifies him or her to repair more difficult items like transmissions.

Career Description

A certified master technician differs from a certified technician in the amount of automotive areas the technician has successfully tested on. The ASE designates eight fields in which a technician can be certified. They are engine repair, automatic transmissions, manual drive train and axles, suspension and steering, brakes, electrical systems, heating and air conditioning and engine performance.

To qualify for certification, technicians must have at least two years of experience and pass the test. Finishing a high school, vocational or community college program may replace one year of experience. When a technician has certification in all of the eight fields, he or she is a certified master technician.

Most certified technicians have successfully passed only a few of the certification areas. A certified master technician has passed all eight certification exams. However, they are not equipped to fix frames. There are different certification exams for this.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 5% increase in jobs for automotive service technicians and mechanics from 2014-2024, close to the average for all careers. Overall, workers in the field brought home a median annual salary of $37,850 as of May 2015, per BLS reports.

A career as a certified master technician can begin with a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Completing automotive and shop classes may also be necessary to prepare to take the eight required exams.

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