Basic Training

An effective training program needs a solid foundation.


A fleet’s goal should be to have an ongoing, systematic program that furnishes the technician with training that delivers all the necessary technical information and hands-on skills needed to maintain and improve the competency of the technician during employment. The fundamental competence levels required of a service technician are:

1. Ability to diagnose the malfunction by:

  1. recognizing an abnormal condition (or verifying the customer complaint),
  2. relating symptoms to probable causes. This involves the use of the proper test equipment, accurately interpreting test results, and isolating the problem cause.

2. Ability to correct the malfunction by:

  1. selecting the proper service procedure and taking the action required—adjust, repair, replace—to preclude the recurrence of the problem (i.e., correct the problem),
  2. testing to specification to ensure the problem has been corrected (verify the repair).

These guidelines will be a big help for shop managers wishing to get the most out of their technicians while also improving technician morale and decreasing employee turnover.


The following materials/sources are also useful when developing a technician-training program:

Related TMC Recommended Practices

  • TMC RP 519, Recommendations for an Employee Performance Evaluation Program
  • TMC RP 528, Fleet Technician Certification: A Guideline for Implementing a Technician Certification Program

Other Training Standards and Recommended Practices

  • SAE J2017, “Developing Technician Training,” Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Warrendale, Pa., 1989, 1995
  • SAE J2018, “Assessing Technician Training,” Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Warrendale, Pa., 1989
  • National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF), ASE Certification for Medium/Heavy Truck Technician Training Programs, Leesburg, Va., 2004
  • National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF), Standards and Guidelines for Certifying Provides of Continuing Automotive Service Education, Leesburg, Va., 2001

Other Related Resources

  • Automotive Training Managers Council, 101 Blue Seal Drive SE, Suite 101, Leesburg, VA, 20175
  • National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, 101 Blue Seal Drive SE, Suite 101, Leesburg, VA, 20175
  • Professional Technician Development Committee, Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) of American Trucking Associations, Inc., 950 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, Va., 22203
  • SkillsUSA, P.O. Box 3000, Leesburg, Va., 20177-3000

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