Automotive Master Mechanic Education Requirements and Career Info

Automotive master mechanics use their knowledge to diagnose and fix parts on different types of vehicles. Learn about the education, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Automotive master mechanics achieve their status through work experience and certification. To be considered as an automotive master mechanic, you must first pass either a mechanic certificate program or degree program after finishing high school before pursuing certification.

Essential Information

Students looking to become automotive master mechanics can start their education early in high school. Most employers today in this field expect candidates to have completed post-secondary training programs. The training typically lasts around 6-12 months, with students getting certificates after completion. These programs offer students on-the job training. Work environments typically include auto repair shops and car dealerships. Coursework includes mathematics, automotive repair and electronics. In order to achieve master status, students must become certified by the National Institute for ASE. Before earning this certification, students must work full-time for two years.

Education Requirements Postsecondary certificate
Other Requirements Certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) after working for two years
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 5% (for automotive service technicians and mechanics)
Mean Salary (2015)* $40,720 (for automotive service technicians and mechanics)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for Automotive Master Mechanics

While some high schools offer automotive mechanic training, many employers look for additional credentials from those seeking automotive master mechanic positions. With the growing complexity of automobile technology, employers commonly expect master mechanics to have completed postsecondary automotive training programs.

Training programs at vocational schools typically last 6-12 months. Graduates are awarded a certificate upon completion. Community college training programs often last two years and lead to an associate degree. Training programs combine hands-on practice with coursework in mathematics, computers, electronics and automotive repair. Workers can advance to automotive master mechanic by gaining experience and certification.

Certification Requirements

Automotive mechanics earn 'master mechanic' status by becoming certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Candidates pursuing master-level certification must pass eight tests that make up the automobile and light truck testing series. This series includes tests on automatic transmission and transaxle, manual drive train and axles, suspension and steering, electrical and electronic systems, heating and air conditioning, engine repair, braking systems and engine performance.

Candidates also need two years of full-time work experience in the motor vehicle service industry to qualify for ASE certification. Candidates who have two years of formal training at the high school or postsecondary level may substitute their training for up to one year of the 2-year work requirement. Once a candidate passes all eight tests and meets the 2-year work requirement, they become certified master automotive mechanics.

To remain certified at the master level, workers must take recertification tests every five years. If one of the eight certifications expires, the worker will lose their master mechanic status until that recertification test has been taken and passed.

Career Information

Master mechanics work with other mechanics to diagnose and repair all parts of vehicles. Some specialize in certain repair areas, such as the transmission system. Many employers require their master mechanics to attend training sessions on a continued basis to learn new techniques and keep up with changing automotive technology.

Most automotive master mechanics work in repair and maintenance shops or the shops of automobile dealers. Some master mechanics are self-employed, while a small number work for automotive parts and accessory stores, automotive equipment rental companies and government agencies. Employers may allow candidates with less than eight ASE certifications, but more work experience, to qualify for master mechanic positions.

Salary Information

Automotive mechanics may be paid by salary, commission or both. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary for automotive service technicians and mechanics was $40,720 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). The employment opportunities for this career are expected to grow 5% between 2014-2024. Workers who have earned 'master mechanic' status and are skilled in repairing multiple automobile systems increase their value to employers and usually enhance their earnings potential. With years of experience, master mechanics may advance to shop supervisors, service managers or repair shop ownership.

The training program for automotive mechanics can be completed in less than a year for certificate programs, and within 2 years for associate's degree programs. Automotive master mechanic certification is composed of 8 certification tests, each of which must be renewed every 5 years for a master mechanic to keep their status. Employer requirements may vary as to how much experience, training, or how many certifications are needed.


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