ASE Certification: Comments from the fringe...
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ASE Certification: Comments from the fringe…

This month I registered for my National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) tests. Out of curiosity, I did a quick check online to see if any incentives were being offered by tool or parts suppliers for taking the exams. I stumbled across a Facebook fan page from a tool manufacturer reminding its customer that the deadline was approaching.

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On Facebook you can “like” something and even leave a comment. Most of the comments were positive, but there were some comments that were either truly ignorant or just trolling for attention.
I had to share these comments with you.

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“Nothing against anyone who is ASE certified, but I have been wrenching since 1985 and I learned the hard way, ‘I SCREWED IT UP, SO I FIXED IT’ and now I’m the ‘go to’ guy at my dealership.”

It is great that you have wasted your dealership’s valuable labor inventory and reputation on your 25-year journey of knowledge. Any shop owner knows that when you screw something up, the technician is usually working for free to fix it. The time spent resolving a comeback or mistake is time that the shop owned could use to bring in more business and revenue.

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How are you going to tell a customer that their car is not ready because a technician turned their vehicle into a “learning experience?” What is the person at the front counter going to say when a customer has to bring the vehicle back due to a faulty repair? “It is great you are back. Now the technician can learn even more about something they did not know in the first place. Thank you for your patronage.”

A comeback or wasted time is not a substitute for training, learning and certification. Achieving ASE certification requires training, study and “keeping up” with technology. ASE certification showcases your individual competence by confirming proficiency and knowledge.

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“I should come up with my own certification test and charge everyone for it like ASE does. How many customers even know what it is? Do they really shop around for an ASE certified shop?”

I hate to break it to this guy, but ASE is a not-for-profit organization. The $30 fee for each test covers the costs to proctor and write the tests. No one is getting rich off these tests.

All ASE test questions are written in workshops by experts in the subject matter of each specific test. The procedures for writing and validating test questions are typical of high-stakes, national credentialing programs, and are a key factor in the overall quality of the ASE program.

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If you think you can construct the same type of tests for $30, you are crazy. If any one tells you they have similar test for less, chances are the product pales in comparison.

The greatest marketing awareness campaign is undertaken by the more than 400,000 people who have current certifications. Through their professionalism and commitment to the automotive repair industry, they have been evangelists for shops and technicians that believe in ASE certification and what it means to consumers. If at least once a week they are asked by one friend, family member or stranger a question about where they should take their car of service, it would make 20.8 million impressions.

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“I come from the generation of ‘we get it done and we get it done right.’ With the right knowledge, service manuals and an occasional phone call to a friend, I handle any problem child that comes my way.”

Most top technicians do not have time to make phone calls to a friend to help them diagnosis a vehicle or even take them from a backward technician like this. A phone call to either a buddy or helpline is not a substitute for inspection, diagnostics and educated analysis. I hate to tell this guy, but most ASE certified technicians can make it through a test without calling a buddy.

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One of the best things you can do for your chosen profession is to obtain your ASE certification and keep them current. It helps everyone to improve our industry and the image of technicians and shops.

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