What is NATEF Accreditation & Why Does it Matter?
We’ve all had car trouble from time to time. And many of us have probably had a few run-ins with questionable auto mechanics. Thankfully, much of the guesswork has now been taken out of finding a good mechanic through a national certification program called Automotive Service Excellence, or ASE.
According to the National Institute for Automotive Excellence, ASE tests and certifies automotive professionals in all major technical areas of repair and service. With more than 430,000 currently certified professionals, the ASE program is national in scope and has industry-wide acceptance and recognition.
ASE-certified technicians and parts specialists can be found at every type of repair facility, from dealerships, service stations, and franchises to parts stores, independent garages, and even municipal fleets.
Who prepares ASE-technicians?
The constantly increasing level of complexity in automotive technology today makes formal training the best route to learn the necessary skills to achieve certification.
With this in mind, the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, or NATEF, was established to improve the quality of automotive technician training programs nationwide in high schools and colleges.
To be accredited by NATEF, like Piedmont Technical College’s Automotive program, a school must follow strict guidelines on who instructs the students and how they do it.
NATEF sets 11 standards that must be met—from the types of equipment used in the shop to the requirements for online learning. A set number of instructional hours are also required to maintain accreditation. And, most importantly, all instructors must be ASE-Certified in the area they teach. That means you have the best of the best teaching the students.
Who benefits from NATEF accreditation?
Students benefit from NATEF-accreditation because it provides a way to quickly identify quality schools and programs, it provides an assurance of a higher quality education and it increases a graduate’s potential to secure a solid career after graduation.
Potential employers benefit because it ensures a pool of highly trained entry-level technicians and it connects employers with schools that have quality graduates.
And the Automotive Service Industry overall benefits because accreditation encourages more respect for automotive service professions, while increasing the level of professionalism in the industry.
In a nutshell, NATEF accreditation means that students who graduate from the program know their stuff.
Advanced ASE Standing
The bonus for students in a NATEF-accredited program is that they can be working toward ASE certification while enrolled. To be ASE-certified, technicians must work for two years in the industry and pass the written exam. For certification purposes, two years of school equals one year on the job. Graduates of a NATEF- accredited program are one year closer to being ASE-certified than those who go straight into the workforce.
And that is a very marketable commodity to employers who want the highest quality technicians.