Advancing Career Opportunities with ASE Transit Bus Certification Tests

Nov. 23, 2021
The voluntary certification is designed to recognize those bus technicians with the skills required to diagnose, service and repair transit buses.

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers Transit Bus Certification Tests (H Series) that are meant to identify and recognize those transit bus technicians who demonstrate knowledge of the skills necessary to diagnose, service and repair various systems on transit buses.

“ASE voluntary certification helps technicians prove their abilities to themselves, to their employers and to their customers,” said Trish Serratore, senior vice president of communications for ASE. “By passing the tests and submitting appropriate work experience, technicians will earn the most valuable credential available to transit bus technicians. Because the tests are challenging, they’ll have the satisfaction of knowing they are among the elite in their profession.

“In addition, these credentials are recognized throughout the United States. Certified technicians promote customer trust and improve the image of the industry and trust and professionalism are the first steps to a better, more prosperous business.”

ASE initiated this test series with the support of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). While several of these tests parallel the ASE Medium-Heavy Truck and School Bus tests, each is designed to test knowledge of systems specific to transit buses.

To help professional technicians prepare for the Transit Bus Certification Test, ASE offers a downloadable study guide, available free of charge, on its website at . The study guide includes detailed information on the tests and covers technology currently found on transit buses.

How Do I Become Certified?

There are eight tests in the transit bus certification series. Those who pass one or more test(s) and have at least two years of hands-on working experience in transit bus repair (appropriate training may substitute for up to one year of experience), will become certified as an ASE Transit Bus Technician.

Those who pass test H1 or H2, plus H3 through H8, and meet the work experience requirement, will earn certification as a Master Transit Bus Technician.

Some of these tests are prerequisites for the advanced level tests. Those who are currently certified in Diesel Engines (A9, H2, S2 or T2) and Electrical/Electronic Page 4 ASE Transit Bus Study Guide Overview (continued) Systems (A6, H6, S6 or T6), are eligible to take the Advanced Level (L2) Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist test.

Test results are emailed immediately following the testing appointment. If the technician failed the test, they must wait 30 days from the test date before they can purchase it again.

Certification credentials are valid for five years. Recertification ensures certified technicians are seen as up to date in their profession. If they have been certified in an area for almost five years, it is time to register for the corresponding recertification test. Most recertification tests are about half the length of the initial certification tests.

Transit Bus Tests

The ASE transit bus study guide, available at, contains test specifications, task lists and sample questions for the following ASE tests:

• Compressed Natural Gas Engines (Test H1)

• Diesel Engines (Test H2)

• Drive Train (Test H3)

• Brakes (Test H4)

• Suspension and Steering (Test H5)

• Electrical/Electronic Systems (Test H6)

• Heating, Ventilation, and A/C (Test H7)

• Preventive Maintenance and Inspection (Test H8)

ASE also offers certification in automobile/light truck, medium/heavy truck, truck equipment, school bus, maintenance and light repair, collision repair/ refinish, parts specialist and advanced level specialties. Separate guides are available for each test series.

Who Writes the Questions?

Working professionals from the service industry with expertise in the test topic write the questions, which are entirely job-related.

“The questions are designed to test knowledge of the skills that technicians need to know in servicing transit buses; theoretical knowledge is not covered,” said Serratore. “Each question has its roots in an ASE ‘item-writing’ workshop where working bus technicians, technical educators, transit agency directors and service representatives from parts and equipment manufacturers meet to share ideas and translate them into test questions. Each test question must survive review by all members of the group.”

The questions are written to mirror practical problems relevant to the diagnosis and repair performed by technicians in their day-to-day work. After being written, all questions are pre-tested and quality-checked on a national sample of technicians. Those questions meeting ASE standards of quality and accuracy are then included in the scored sections of the tests; those that do not are redrafted or discarded altogether.

How Do I Prepare for the ASE Tests?

The most important thing that technicians can do is become familiar with test content and question formats.

The test specifications in the ASE study guide describe the content covered by each test, while the task lists detail the actual work performed by technicians in each specialty area. Together, these are the blueprint for writing and assembling the ASE tests. Each question on the test relates to a particular task or set of tasks in the task list. Therefore, it is recommended that technicians review the task list, thinking about whether they know how to perform each task listed.

All questions are multiple-choice. The sample questions in the study guide are examples of the five types of questions on the test. Each question tests a specific diagnostic or repair problem and has only one correct answer.

To summarize, the following steps should be taken:

1. Carefully read the test specifications for each test you will attempt.

2. Study the task list for each area.

3. Go over the sample questions to become familiar with each question type.

4. Review steps 1-3 and identify the skill areas where additional study is needed.

Getting Started

Registration information is available at site shows testing locations and provides other important information, including an electronic version of all ASE Study Guides. While on the ASE website, take a moment to create a myASE account (if you do not already have one), which will allow you to register for tests, make test appointments and have direct access to all your personal ASE certification information. Should you have questions that the website does not answer, you can reach customer service staff at [email protected] or 800-390-6789.


The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is a non-profit organization that works to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying automotive professionals.