How to Get an EPA License as an Automotive Technician

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The requirements for landing automotive technician jobs have changed a lot over the years. As technology continues to improve the kinds of vehicles we can take to the road, mechanics need to keep step with what’s necessary to keep them working. At the same time, as every experienced mechanic knows, another big factor is what the government mandates for these vehicles.

Since 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency has been dedicated to keeping our country’s natural surroundings healthy. A big part of their focus is on vehicles – specifically, their carbon emissions – which is why many mechanics are working for an EPA license. Not only will it improve your ability to service customers, but it should also boost your auto mechanic salary.

EPA 609 Certification

The main certification that a lot of mechanics should consider is the EPA 609 certification. You won’t get this from going through a traditional auto mechanic school, though (there are some exceptions).

That being said, if you are interested in auto technician jobs where you’ll be working on air conditioners, you absolutely must have this certification. It is specifically focused on dealing with refrigerants. Repairing leaks, testing for them and topping off an AC system all require using these chemicals.

Fortunately, the job isn’t overly difficult and, unlike a lot of other certification exams, you don’t necessarily have to travel anywhere to take them. It’s an open book test. Once you petition the EPA to take it (simply visit their site), you’ll be sent a test packet that consists of a preparatory manual, the exam itself, an answer sheet and even the envelope you need to return it.

As long as you get 84% correct – which is just 42 out of the 50 questions – you’ll be approved and can start applying for automotive tech jobs that involve working on AC. Again, it’s an open book test and there are only 12 pages to the entire manual, so your chances of passing are very good. You can request the manual in English or Spanish or you can even get it as an audio CD. With a passing score, you’ll receive a confirmation ID for your wallet and a wall certificate.

Finding a Local Instructor

Finally, if you’re worried that the manual won’t provide you with the knowledge you need to do your job – even if you pass the test – you can usually find a local instructor to give you a comprehensive education. The EPA gives them a PowerPoint presentation to use, as well as PT charts and a number of other resources.

The other benefit of seeing a local instructor is that you can take the test online and, thus, get your results immediately. So if you’re in a hurry to land more automotive technician jobs, this would probably be preferable. Official documents confirming your results will actually be mailed to you the following day.

If you want to expand your range as an auto mechanic, getting a license from the EPA to work on air conditioning would be wise, especially if you live in a hot climate. As you can see from the above, taking the necessary exam and passing it couldn’t be easier, yet your certification will result in a better auto mechanic salary.


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Michael

15 years of experience
518 reviews
Michael
15 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz GL450 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Atlanta, Georgia
Micheal was punctual and friendly. Work was completed within promised time. Will definitely use again.
Volvo S80 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Roswell, Georgia
Michael was SUPER QUICK with doing my brake and rotors. Great communication throughout the whole process. Will always recommend

Kenneth

19 years of experience
509 reviews
Kenneth
19 years of experience
Toyota Sequoia - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Newport Beach, California
Kenneth did a great job and very knowledgeable. He has a great attitude and I will for sure be using him again.

Chuy

13 years of experience
129 reviews
Chuy
13 years of experience
Honda Civic - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Cicero, Illinois
Excellent work on doing the breaks for my car and the break and steering system flush I’ll definitely recommend and take into consideration for chuy’s work whenever I need a fix on my car

Richard

16 years of experience
72 reviews
Richard
16 years of experience
BMW 328i - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Dublin, California
Richard was an outstanding mechanic. After he arrived, the first thing he did after taking the initial pictures of the car is an assessment into what work was asked. He quickly verified that I did not need brake fluid and my front brakes even-though it affects his personal commitments and time, which I think is highly appreciate and thorough professional. He was detailed oriented - took time to make sure that all the issue are fixed. He paid attention to detail in overall car assessment- he goes above and beyond. He was also teaching me through the process which I found highly educational and appreciate him providing the information ensuring and making me comfortable what he was doing and explaining patiently all the questions that was thrown at him. When he works - you know he's highly skilled and experienced and knows his stuff. He is highly experienced. He is a "Master" mechanic in true sense :)

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