How to Get a Mechanic's License

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Automotive mechanics maintain, inspect and repair cars and light trucks. They are responsible for basic car maintenance, diagnosing more complex problems, and planning and executing vehicle repairs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job openings through 2022 will be about average for the nation. Obtaining a National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, or ASE, master automotive technician certification will guarantee a good job.

  • Complete an automotive technician program, which can be either a post-secondary certification program or a program leading to a degree as an associate of applied science, or A.A.S. The training program teaches the fundamentals of diagnosing automotive problems and repairing components such as brakes, transmission, engines, heating and cooling. An associate degree program includes additional classes in math, computers, physical science and communication.

  • Apply for an internship at a mechanic workshop. An experienced technician will guide you in developing technical skills. You will need two years of working experience before you can apply for ASE certification. You can supplant one year of experience by completing an automotive training program in high school, community or junior college, or vocational or trade school.

  • Apply for the ASE automotive technician certification tests at the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. You will be required to provide proof of work experience, showing the length of experience in hours or weeks. Submit an official transcript of courses, a statement of training, or a certificate of completion of apprenticeship with the Work Experience Report Form. You should receive an admission ticket for your ASE test within two weeks from registration, with information on the time and place of the test.

  • Prepare for the test that the ASE requires you to pass to get certification. Download the free “Automobile/Light Truck” study guide from ASE’s website and complete the practice tests on the site. You will be tested on seven areas of automotive repair and technology, including automobiles, trucks, engines and collision repair.

  • Search the website of the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation for a certified training provider in your area if you feel you need additional training after reviewing the study guide. Simply click on your subject area -- for instance, “Auto” -- select your state from the drop-down menu, and click on “Find Certified Programs.” The site will display a list of training providers with their contact details in your state. Contact a provider to arrange for additional training.

  • Arrive early at the testing center on the day of the test. Bring your admission ticket, photo ID, three or four soft-lead pencils and an eraser. You will have four hours to complete the test, but you may leave earlier if you finish quickly.

  • Reapply for the test every five years to maintain your ASE-certification and master-technician status. This is necessary to ensure that you stay up to date with the latest developments in the automotive industry.

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