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. View article »

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  • 0:00 Should I Become a…
  • 1:20 Step 1: Become a…
  • 2:16 Step 2: Gain…
  • 2:38 Step 3: Earn ASE Certification

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a Master Technician?

Degree Level High school diploma; associate's degree may be beneficial
Degree Name Automotive technology
Certification Eight ASE certifications must be earned
Experience Experience working as a technician is necessary for certification
Key Skills Dexterity; strong customer service skills; detail-oriented; ability to diagnose and repair complicated automotive systems; familiarity with electrical components
Salary $42,220 (2016 median for all automotive technicians and mechanics)

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

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.

Master technicians need a high school diploma, though an associate's degree in automotive technology may be beneficial. They also need to have earned all eight ASE certifications and so need to have experience working as a technician, since that is a requirement to be eligible for certification. In addition to the dexterity to make repairs, master technicians must have strong customer service skills and be very detail-oriented. They must understand how to diagnose and repair complicated automotive systems and be familiar with electrical components. According to Payscale.com, as of January 2016, the median yearly salary for all automotive technicians and mechanics was $42,220.

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.

Prospective technicians can 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 an 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

After gaining some experience, an automotive technician can begin to earn ASE certifications. The eight required tests in the master technician 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.

After earning certification, automotive technicians will need to maintain it. To maintain the master technician credentials, passing recertification exams in each area is required every five years. Master technicians can also pursue advancement opportunities, such as earning 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.

Master technicians are automotive technicians who are certified in all eight ASE areas. Master technicians do not need formal education, but do have to have experience working as an automotive technician in order to be eligible for certification exams.


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