How to Get Smog Technician Certified in Illinois

As environmental concerns have grown, smog and emissions testing for vehicles has moved to the forefront of regular vehicle maintenance. In fact, two thirds of states now require some form of testing to make sure vehicles aren’t releasing too many pollutants into the atmosphere. This situation creates a unique opportunity for those in a mechanic career who’d like to find an automotive technician job in a specialized field – either in vehicle testing, or repair of conditions causing inspection failure.

There are several Illinois counties in which emissions testing is required. These include Cook, Dupage, and Lake, in addition to portions of Kane, Kendall, McHenry, Will, Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair.

The state of Illinois contracts with Applus Technologies, Inc. to administer smog/emissions testing on vehicles. This company provides facilities, equipment, training, and staff, creating an all-encompassing solution to address states’ needs.

How to become an emissions inspector in Illinois

Because the state contracts its testing out to Applus, you will need to apply directly with the company in order to become an inspector. They have certain requirements for applicants, including:

  • Being 18 years or older
  • Having a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • Being very reliable
  • Possessing good communication and customer service skills

Applus provides the training necessary to perform the job, and frequently offers positions in a wide variety of geographical locations.

How to become an emissions repair technician

In Illinois, vehicle owners may choose their own repair facility, should their vehicle fail inspection. The state recommends that customers have their repairs made by a Recognized Repair Technician (RRT). They define this as a mechanic who is “a person professionally engaged in vehicle repair, employed by a going concern whose purpose is vehicle repair, or possessing nationally recognized certification for emission related diagnosis and repair”.

What this means for you as an automotive technician is that it’s to your benefit to acquire emissions and exhaust related expertise, such as professional certifications. These may include ASE certification in emissions-related areas such as Engine Performance and Exhaust Systems. Being ASE certified is a great move overall anyway, and will give you more options if you live in a state where there are emissions repair jobs available for auto techs.

Another advantage of being a RRT is that when vehicle owners fail two inspections, they may apply for a waiver. The waiver being granted, however, is contingent upon the repairs having been performed by a RRT. This means that being qualified will attract more business to you and your shop from customers who wish to apply for this waiver if they fail the second test.

And finally, Illinois also provides consumers with a shop report card, which tells them how well the shop has fared with emissions repairs when the vehicles are taken back for retesting. So having as much expertise as possible in the relevant areas will help you build your shop’s reputation.

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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