How to Get Smog Technician Certified in California

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If you’re looking for a way to make yourself more marketable in your auto mechanic career, you might want to consider obtaining smog technician certification. Having these extra credentials can help you land a better automotive technician job and can increase your auto mechanic salary.

Two thirds of states require some kind of emissions testing in order to reduce the amount of pollutants that vehicles release into the air. Each state has different requirements for being qualified to perform emissions testing and repairs, and California’s are some of the most stringent.

Smog check inspector

A certified California smog check inspector is qualified to perform checks on vehicles and issue certifications for those which pass the inspection. The requirements to obtain this license include one of the following:

  • Possess ASE certifications A6, A8, and L1, and complete Level 2 smog check training and pass the state exam within the past two years

  • Possess an AA/AS degree or certification in Automotive Technology along with one year of work experience, and complete Level 2 smog check training and pass the state exam within the last two years

  • Complete the BAR (Bureau of Automotive Repair) specified diagnostic and repair training, and have two years of work experience

  • Complete Level 1 engine and emission control training (68 hours), and Level 2 smog check Training (28 hours), as well as pass the state licensing exam within the past two years

The smog check inspector technician certification is the quickest license available for smog certification in California.

Smog check repair technician

Earning your smog check repair technician qualifies you to repair emissions-related issues on vehicles which has failed the smog inspection. However, if you want to perform inspections and issue certifications you’ll also need to obtain the smog check inspector license.

You may obtain smog check repair technician licensing if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • Possess A6, A8, and L1 ASE certifications and pass the licensing exam

  • Possess an AA or AS or higher degree in automotive technology, have at least one year of experience in engine performance work, and pass the state exam

  • Possess an automotive technology certification from an accredited school, with a minimum of 720 hours of coursework, including at least 280 hours of engine performance-related coursework, and pass the state licensing exam

  • Complete the BAR specified diagnostic and repair training course (72 hours) within the past five years, and pass the state licensing exam

The diagnostic and repair training course is comprised of all three ASE alternatives for certifications A6, A8, and L1. It’s important to note that the ASE certifications in these areas may not be mixed and matched with the ASE alternatives courses. You must pass all three of the official certs, or all three of the alternatives.

Where to get smog technician training

There are many colleges and automotive training schools throughout the state which offer the required smog inspector and smog repair courses. Simply do an internet search for your area and find the best fit for your situation. Some schools offer smog technician certification in just one year.

How to apply for smog technician certification

The Bureau of Automotive Repair is the governing agency responsible for determining eligibility to take the smog technician exams. You can find the application online here. Fill out and send in the application, along with the $20 fee, and then wait to be notified of your eligibility. Once you are approved, you will receive notice of how to schedule your exam with PSI (the firm which handles administration of the exams).

How to renew a smog technician license

When it’s time to renew your smog technician license, you will need to complete the Technician Update Training (16 hours) in order to get up-to-date on current practices and technology. The update course is available at many facilities, including those which offer the original training courses.

California Smog Check Inspector and Smog Check Repair Technician certification offers mechanics a way to expand their skillset and increase their auto tech salary. While California’s requirements for these licenses are fairly rigorous, it’s worth the effort to maximize your career potential.

If you’re already a certified mechanic and you’re interested in working with YourMechanic, submit an online application for an opportunity to become a mobile mechanic.


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Theodore

14 years of experience
1091 reviews
Theodore
14 years of experience
Dodge Grand Caravan - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Bellevue, Washington
Second time using Theodore to service my van. He's always professional and detail oriented. He takes extra effort in tracking down issues and explains things well. Very customer oriented. Highly recommend.

Tung

14 years of experience
284 reviews
Tung
14 years of experience
Ram 1500 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Marietta, Georgia
Tung showed up on time and was very friendly. Changed my brake pads in about 30 minutes and gave me recommendations on when to change the rear pads. Will ask for him by name next time.

Victor

33 years of experience
105 reviews
Victor
33 years of experience
Chrysler Grand Voyager - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Have used Victor multiple times now for work on my vehicle. He is prompt, courteous, knowledgeable, and dependable. I never have to worry about a thing as Victor makes sure work is performed quickly, efficiently and and correctly.

Chuck

8 years of experience
120 reviews
Chuck
8 years of experience
Honda Odyssey - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Coppell, Texas
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