James Hwang, ASE Test Expert


James Hwang is the national brand manager for Motor Age Training ASE Self-Study Guides. He handles the business side of publication dealing with authors and editors on revisions, all sponsorships and marketing efforts and all bulk purchase accounts. He works very closely with the automotive programs in high schools, colleges and post-secondary vocational schools as well as dealing with big account distributors such as Snap-On Tools and Midas International. His degree is in business marketing with a minor in communications.

What does it mean to have an ASE certification? What are the benefits?
Having ASE certification means all the difference for an automotive technician. With automotive technology advancing every year, becoming an automotive technician has evolved into a high-tech career. More and more automotive manufacturers like Daimler Chrysler and Toyota are making it a requirement for technicians to obtain ASE certifications in order to become certified technicians within their organization. Some of the benefits that come with getting ASE certification are a pay increase, and you also show that you are serious about your career, and you also fix it right the first time, which could mean the difference between a happy customer and a dissatisfied customer.

What are the areas in which a mechanic can get ASE certification?
As of 2009, there are total of 49 available tests that ASE administers. Out of the 49 available tests, Motor Age Training offers self-study guides in 43 different subjects.

There are many different areas in which a mechanic can get ASE certification. The most popular area that most people seem to fit into is the Car & Light Truck series (A1 – A9). The second most popular series seems to be the Medium/Heavy Duty Trucks series (T1 – T8). Other series that we offer are the School Bus Services (S-series) and Parts Specialist (P-series), along with other advanced subjects.

Are there different levels of certification based on skills and qualifications?
There are two levels of certifications. There is the Certified Technician, who will usually have anywhere between one and three ASE certifications. Then there is the Certified Master Technician, which you can become when you have all of the certifications in one particular core area. For example, if you’re a technician that has all of the certifications in the A-series (Car & Light Trucks), then you would be considered a Master Technician.

Does one have to qualify to take the ASE tests?
You do not have to qualify a certain way to take the ASE tests, however, you will have a difficult time understanding what you are reading if you do not have prior experience or knowledge in the automotive industry. Anyone can study and pass the exam, but in order for you to actually obtain an ASE certificate and the ASE badge, you need to have at least two years of hands-on experience. This is why young technicians just entering their career works under a mentor or attend trade schools such as Lincoln Tech or UTI in order to get their two years of hands-on experience.

Who creates and administers the ASE certification process?
Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) creates and administers the ASE certification process. All ASE test questions are written in workshops by experts in the subject matter of each specific test. These experts represent a national cross-section of the motor vehicle service industry, including working technicians, technical service industry, including working technicians, technical training representatives from auto manufacturers and the aftermarket, customer service professionals and educators.

How does one register to get ASE certified?
In order to register for the ASE exams, you need to login to www.ase.com and register yourself for the up-coming testing season.

What types of questions are on the ASE test?
The entire ASE exam is in multiple-choice format.

Is it timed?
Yes, the ASE exams are timed. You’ll have a total of four hours to complete the exam.

Is the test given in written or computer format or both?
The ASE exams are given in both written and in computer format. The two major testing seasons are the spring and fall. These are always in the form of pencil and paper. Summer and winter testing seasons are all in the form of a computer based where you get your final results instantly whereas the pencil and paper exams normally takes up to four to six weeks before you receive your test results in the mail.

What test score does one need to get the certification?
ASE does not release test scores. They will issue a Pass or Fail. In order to pass an ASE exam, you need to score at least a 70% or better.

Are there any other requirements beyond passing the certification exam to get certified?
In order for you to obtain the ASE certification, you need at least two years of hands-on experience on top of passing the exam. If you have already attended a vocational school, then those two years in school can count for your hands on experience. Anyone can study for the test and pass it, but before you receive your ASE certificate and your badge, you’ll need to show proof of two years experience.

Can one get college credit with an ASE certification?
ASE will not award college credits. This is the sole decision of the individual institution. Technicians seeking college credit should first contact their school or the institution in which they plan to enroll and find out if they will honor college credits for ASE certifications.

What study aides are out there to help mechanics prepare for the ASE?
There are several aides out there to help technicians prepare for their ASE exams. Motor Age Training is by far the industry leader when it comes to providing the most up to date study materials. We update our study guides every single year according to the new task list that ASE provides at the end of each year.

Motor Age Training carries 43 out of 49 available titles that ASE administers, which is the most of any competitors out there today. Nobody even comes close to the number of titles that Motor Age Training carries. We are also the only publication company that offers a Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee. If you don’t pass the first time after using our study guide, we’ll refund your money back.

To learn more about the Automotive Service Excellence Certification Exam, read our ASE Test Guide. To find test preparation materials, see our ASE Test Directory.
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