ASE Designates June as Automotive Service Professionals Month

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

ASE Designates June as Automotive Service Professionals Month

A Q&A with Trish Serratore, Senior Vice President, Communications, ASE

Trish Serratore  

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) has designated June as Automotive Service Professionals Month (ASPM), the ideal time to recognize skilled automotive professionals and the valuable service they provide from coast to coast.

Today’s motor vehicles are highly complex with more advanced technology than ever before. Increasing vehicle complexity requires specialized tools and highly trained professionals to perform vehicle repairs. Whether working at general repair shops, service stations or vehicle dealerships across the country, automotive service professionals perform essential services to the motoring public by keeping their vehicles in safe, dependable operating condition. These professionals must stay up to date on ever-evolving vehicle systems and technologies to effectively perform vehicle maintenance and repairs. 

Trish Serratore, senior vice president of communications for ASE, recently answered some questions about ASPM, as well as ASE and its importance in the transportation industry.

Why honor automotive service professionals? 

We felt it was important to acknowledge the expertise and dedication of technicians, counter personnel and service consultants who exhibit true professionalism. The purpose of Automotive Service Professionals Month is to shine a spotlight on these indispensable roles, which have gained even greater significance since the pandemic, when the automotive service and repair sector was recognized as essential. This special month provides a prime opportunity for customers to express gratitude toward the service professionals who ensure their vehicles’ safe operation, while also allowing the industry to commend all the professionals who work in the service repair area. 

How can automotive service and repair facilities use this month as a tool to bring attention to their individual businesses?

Supporting June as Automotive Service Professionals Month and expressing sincere gratitude toward your employees can significantly contribute to their sense of worth and appreciation. There are various ways to accomplish this, such as featuring each employee prominently in your advertising or social media campaigns. Additionally, you can consider providing thoughtful gestures like gift cards, dinners or even a well-deserved day off to acknowledge and reward your dedicated staff.

How can ASPM and any other ASE programs help bring attention to automotive service and repair as a career path?

By presenting ASE-Certified professionals as skilled “service pros,” we effectively convey to car owners and the public that this is not just a job, but a genuine career path. This approach enables us to reinforce the narrative that working as a service technician, parts counterperson or service writer offers ample opportunities for a successful and enjoyable life and career. Furthermore, ASPM aligns seamlessly with the endeavors of the ASE Education Foundation, which accredits automotive service technology programs at high schools and community colleges. This partnership ensures that the education community can equip entry-level student technicians with the exact skills and knowledge our industry demands, thereby generating high-quality graduates for the automotive service and repair sector.

The ASE Education Foundation also works to introduce these students into work-based learning experiences through internships and apprenticeships in service and repair facilities. Giving students work-based opportunities exposes them to our industry, and our surveys show that these experiences help keep young technicians engaged, increasing their retention in our industry. 

What are the five skills needed today for automotive service professionals to work on vehicles?

  • Understanding electricity and electrical principals in vehicles
  • Foundational maintenance and service skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Willingness to work
  • Passionate about career

How has the technician’s job changed compared to 5 years ago? 

As vehicle technology continues to advance, we recognize the evolving nature of technicians’ responsibilities. The emergence of high voltage electric vehicles necessitates adjustments in how technicians approach their work on vehicles. In this context, a profound understanding of safety protocols and high voltage electricity becomes paramount for the technicians of tomorrow. To cater to these needs, ASE has introduced an electric vehicle certification program, designed to address the safety requirements of all personnel in repair facilities. Additionally, ASE offers a separate certification test specifically tailored for technicians working on high voltage vehicles, ensuring their competence in handling these advanced systems.

Technicians will continue to specialize both in the skills they attain and the types of vehicles they service. Training needs will continue to grow, becoming a daily occurrence. Using online resources and having the ability to retrieve service and repair information quickly will be just as important as hands-on repair efforts, and the use of phone apps, augmented reality and artificial intelligence (AI) will play a role in training and repairs going forward.

What changes are you seeing in technician demographics?

ASE and the ASE Education Foundation are focused on making training programs and workplaces more welcoming to everyone, including women and other underrepresented groups. We have several programs and resources in place to help shops and schools attract and retain a diverse workforce. Women who make up half the workforce are under-represented in the auto service sector. Encouraging women to enter the industry can only make it stronger. With the graying of the technician population, shops must continue to allow automotive students to intern and apprentice in their business to support the next generation of technicians.

What training do technicians need to keep up with new technology (ADAS, EVs, HEVs)?

We suggest at least 40 hours of training a year with an emphasis on new technologies such as Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), Electric Vehicles (EVs), Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), new scan tools and model changes in vehicles. Throughout the year, ASE offers free training webinars presented by our industry partners. AAPEX also provides a full schedule of training for service and repair professionals at its event in November.

How many technicians have ASE certification?

We have nearly 250,000 ASE certified professionals nationwide.

What is the number of ASE certifications and new certifications?

We offer over 50 certifications tests including new ones focusing on ADAS and our new xEV certification.

What is the importance of ASE certification?

Looking for ASE certifications of technicians when choosing a repair facility helps car owners find shops that are invested in hiring and retaining qualified employees. ASE certification shows professional pride and a knowledge of the skills required to service cars. It is the only third-party, independent credential for our industry, and we encourage repair facilities to continue to promote this advantage to their customers.

Trish Serratore is the Senior Vice President, Communications for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Her responsibilities include oversight, development, and direction of all public relations, advertising, marketing outreach and media strategies and functions targeted to the consumer, industry and other publics for ASE. She assists with the development and implementation of strategic direction. She supports the efforts of ASE, ATMC, and ASE Education Foundation by interaction with industry, education, consumer and government sectors. 

Prior to her current position, Serratore was president of the ASE Education Foundation, the education arm of ASE where she oversaw automotive program accreditation at secondary and post-secondary institutions as well as student career development initiatives. 

Before joining ASE, Trish was an account executive for Target Communications, a public relations/advertising agency in the Philadelphia area. Her career started at Motor Age Magazine, an industry trade journal, as the business editor.

Trish has received the Automotive Hall of Fame’s Young Leadership and Excellence Award for outstanding achievements in the automotive industry and the Akzo Nobel award as one of the most influential women in the collision repair industry. She also has been named one of the “Top 100 Women in the Automotive Industry” by Automotive News. 

She spends her free time with her family and their 1932 Ford Hot Rod.

June 20, 2023