Automotive Education/Info

Do ASE Certified Technicians Make More Money?

Do ASE Certifications help techs make more money? 


It’s been a debate around automotive shops for decades. Some people claim that certifications are important while others will tell you having them is essentially useless. Therefore- especially for new techs starting out in the automotive field, it’s important to ask if ASE certified mechanics make more money. 


In this post, I’m going to attempt to decipher the mystery surrounding ASE and other certifications. I’m also going to take a look at some other related questions like the following. 

Are ASE certifications necessary? Do certifications make you a better technician? How can I go about getting my ASE certifications? And, can I get my ASE certifications online?


Do mechanics with certifications make more than those without formal training? 


Graph showing salary growth for mechanics based on experience.
This graph shows that experience is a driving factor in how much money an auto mechanic in the United States can make.

Let’s face it, automotive technicians don’t always make the kind of money that they are worth. Whether it’s due to geographic factors or experience, auto techs are often times underpaid and fail to reach their highest potential salary. 


It’s a valid question to ponder whether or not ASE certifications can make you more money. Whether it’s in the short term or over the long haul, finding out if ASE’s can boost your earning potential is a pertinent question.


In order to answer the questions I listed above regarding ASE certifications, I did a ton of research. It’s not enough to guess or make assumptions with a question like this. There is a major auto tech shortage across the world and new mechanics need to be encouraged by any opportunity to make more money. 


Auto technicians want to know- with proof- if they can make more money obtaining certifications such as the ASE’s. With the cost of tech school always rising, it’s fair to wonder if certifications are worthwhile. Also, with the automotive repair industry in shambles due to a rapidly decreasing interest in the trades, it could be helpful to offer them a way to make more money. 

Let’s look at the salary statistics for auto technicians.


According to, automotive techs with ASE certifications make an average of 20-30% more money than those without. The linked article also dives into the other factors that affect the average salary of an automotive technician. Things like geography, specialties and production will all affect an auto mechanics earning potential. 


As of March 2022, Ziprecruiter reports that the average salary for an ASE certified auto technician is $50,760 per year. lists the average as $63,000 per year.


Their estimate represents an approximately 24% higher average pay for mechanics with ASE certs. If you look further, you’ll see that the estimated salary for auto techs with ASE’s is far from consistent depending who you ask. 


The short answer is, there are too many variables to say definitively that auto technicians with ASE certifications make more money. Although the consensus seems to be that ASE’s do in fact have a positive impact on a technicians earning potential.


Other things like seniority, experience and a willingness to learn are more important. 

Learning to become a mechanic is not easy work and hands-on experience shows perseverance. Any employer looking to hire a tech will take the one with experience in most cases. Although heading into 2023, an employer is less likely to have options when recruiting a qualified technician. 

With the ever-increasing shortage in auto repair techs, it’s likely that a certification will not help nor hurt a mechanic when it comes to finding a job. According to some sources, there will be a shortage of almost 700,000 auto mechanics by the year 2024. Supply and demand may end up being the driving factor behind how much a mechanic can earn in the next couple years. 


Do ASE certifications make you a better technician?


This question is even harder to answer. Do ASE certifications make you a better technician? The reason this question is so hard to answer is because there are no statistics to compare when trying to decide if certifications actually make a mechanic better. 


How do you measure the success of an auto technician? What makes one auto tech better than the next? 


In my experience as a tech, I’ve never met anyone that said taking their ASE certifications made them a better hands-on technician. 


More credible? Maybe. Hireable? Probably at one point in time. But better? I’ve never heard it. I’ve never heard of a tech being better at his job as a direct result of getting ASE certifications. What makes a quality mechanic is knowledge and a willingness to learn every single day on the job


Do you have to be a good tech to get an ASE certification?


Another debate I’ve heard in many repair shops I’ve been in is, does an ASE certification mean you are a better tech? Some claim one can’t pass the ASE without being a high level technician. Others will tell you that some of the worst mechanics pass their certifications because they are good “test-takers”, but are no better at the hands-on part of the job. 

Although this is a similar question to “Do ASE certifications make you a better tech?”, it’s also somewhat the opposite. I’m pondering at the moment whether you have to be a good tech to get an ASE, not whether the ASE itself will make you a better, more valuable tech.


This is also a loaded question because again, there is no real data to go on. In my opinion though, it does not take a better technician to pass an ASE certification test. 


It takes a more literate one for sure. It takes a technician with better reading skills and test taking abilities, but it does not take a “better” technician to pass the ASE certifications. This is due to the way the tests are structured.


Hands On skills are not a requirement to pass the ASE certification.


Instead of demonstrating hands on skills in engine repair, HVAC or other related systems the ASE certifications simply require a technician to pass a written exam.


One of the requirements to take the ASE test is two years of work experience, but the exam itself is entirely written. In this scenario, a tech with two years of experience changing oil can be awarded an ASE even without any experience doing engine repair, diagnostic or other real-world repairs. 


This alone in my opinion makes it impossible to say that only a better tech could pass the ASE exam. If you have a moderate amount of knowledge in the system you are testing in, chances are you can pass the written exam.


This doesn’t mean that the tech taking the ASE can actually perform any particular service on the system. It simply means they have the knowledge to do so.


How can I get my ASE certification?


Although the ASE certifications won’t make you a better tech, there is clear evidence that ASE certified techs make more money. ASE technicians also tend to be more hireable and start out at a higher salary.


For this reason, many techs wanna know how they can get an ASE certification. Another question I get a lot is can I get my ASE certification online?


In the post COVID world, many things are now done primarily or partly online. Unfortunately, getting an ASE certification online is not yet an option.


In order to earn an ASE certification, an automotive technician will have to register and visit a testing center.


With hundreds of testing centers all over the United States, finding one to take the ASE test should not be difficult.

What types of ASE certifications can I get?

The Automotive Service Excellence or ASE offers 57 test options at the moment. These test series are broken down into more broad categories such as Automobile and Light Truck, Collision and Damage Refinish, Auto Maintenance and Light Repair, Alternative Fuels and several others focusing on a specialty.

Each test series offers several specific tests such as the A1, A2 etc. Each specific test focuses on a different aspect of the general specialty the technician is pursuing.


This allows a technician to work on achieving certifications over time instead of trying to acquire them all at once. It also determines where the mechanic may be better. 

What are the requirements for ASE testing and certification?


The main requirement for taking an ASE certification test is two years of experience in the specific field the tech is testing for. To help determine whether you meet the requirements for ASE certification, I found this helpful work experience chart.


What other types of certifications do auto mechanics need?


Although it’s not always a requirement to earn a certificate to become an automotive technician, it can be an earnings booster.


Earning a certificate can also make the technician look more credible and competent. For that reason, I often get asked what types of certifications are available for automotive technicians?

Far and away the ASE certifications are the most common and recognized in the automotive world. There are other programs such as the section 609 certification that deals with automotive air conditioning.

Vocation Schools are another certification option. 


There are also vocational schools that offer their own certification series. Like the ASE certifications, there is good evidence that technicians with vocational training make more money in their career.

This is due to several facts such as a better choice of jobs. Many employers, especially large dealerships and reputable chains look for certifications as a way of “vetting” a potential technician looking for a job. Its been reported that the top 10% of technicians in the United States earn almost double that of the bottom 50%.

By John Green

I’m John Green. I’m a 33 year old auto technician from Upstate New York. I have 18 years of experience as an automotive light duty and heavy duty truck mechanic. Cars, trucks and anything with moving parts are my passion in my professional life.

Aside from my life as a technician, I am also a seasoned investor and consider myself very financially literate. I use this other passion combined with my passion for cars, trucks and tools to look for ways to save money for my technician friends.

Raising my three girls and teaching them the proper way of life is my personal passion in life. If you want to know more, just ask! I’m on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as well!