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Red Seal Certification for Automotive Service Technicians

By: Maria Bychkova

Published On: November 19, 2019

More and more cars are being bought by Canadian households. This means that there are always new job openings for technicians who can do maintenance and repairs on cars. If you want to work in this field, you've made a smart choice. You can make yourself even more employable by getting Red Seal certification.

What is the Red Seal Program?

The Red Seal program was introduced in Canada to make sure that people who do trades have the same skills no matter where they are in the country. The program is a partnership between the federal government and the provinces and territories. They are responsible for apprenticeship training and trade certification.

To get the Red Seal certification, you need to challenge the Red Seal exam. You need to make sure you meet the requirements of your province or territory. The requirements can be different depending on your trade and how qualified you are (e.g. apprentice or trade qualifier).

If you pass the Red Seal exam, you will get a stamp on your provincial/territorial trade certificate that says you meet the national standard of Red Seal for automotive services technicians.

Red Seal Certified mechanics work on a car

What are the benefits of Red Seal certification?

Getting ready for the Red Seal examination and taking it involves a lot of time and effort. But it’s worth it. Here’s what a Red Seal endorsement can do for you:

  • Increase your credibility – Since the occupational standards were developed in cooperation with the regulatory bodies, apprenticeship training and professional certification organizations, the Red Seal for automotive service technicians guarantees the potential employers that you have the necessary qualification to perform the work duties well.
  • Help you stand out – Obtaining the Red Seal for automotive service technicians is not mandatory. However, multiple surveys show that it can significantly influence the customers’ choice of a preferred technician. If you’re planning to open your own garage or automotive repair shop, having a Red Seal can help you attract more customers.
  • Enhance your mobility – With a Red Seal certification for automotive service technicians, you can work in any province or territory in Canada. You are free to seek better job opportunities or higher pay all over the country.
  • Give you a sense of achievement – Getting Red Seal certification means that you have reached a certain level of professional qualification, knowledge and experience you can be proud of.

How to prepare for Red Seal certification?

To earn your Red Seal endorsement, you will be tested on the knowledge, skills and abilities that are outlined in the National Occupation Analysis (NOA) for your trade.

The NOA for automotive services technicians is your best study guide. The Red Seal exam questions are based on the NOA sub-tasks.

The NOA outlines important information about your trade, such as:

  • Trade activities (tasks and sub-tasks)
  • Trends
  • Essential skills
  • Safety measures
  • Technical terms
  • Glossary
  • Tools and equipment
  • Acronyms

According to the description of the trade, automotive service technicians possess the full range of knowledge and abilities required to perform preventative maintenance, diagnose problems and repair vehicle systems including engines, vehicle management, hybrids, steering, braking, tires, wheels, drivetrains, suspension, electrical, electronics, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), restraints, trim and accessories of automotive vehicles and light trucks.

The percentage of the total number of questions on the exam assigned to each of the major work activities for automotive service technicians is as follows:

  • Performs Common Occupational Skills – 6%
  • Diagnoses and Repairs Engine and Engine Support Systems – 19%
  • Diagnoses and Repairs Vehicle Module Communications Systems – 9%
  • Diagnoses and Repairs Driveline Systems – 15%
  • Diagnoses and Repairs Electrical and Comfort Control Systems – 17%
  • Diagnoses and Repairs Steering and Suspension, Braking, Control Systems, Tires, Hubs and Wheel Bearings – 21%
  • Diagnoses and Repairs Restraint Systems, Body Components, Accessories and Trim – 8%
  • Diagnoses and Repairs Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (EV) – 5%

The detailed breakdown of all the activities, tasks and sub-tasks, essential skills, tools and equipment required to perform work duties can be found in the exam preparation guide on the Red Seal website.

You should study the guide carefully, review the terminology, ask your employer or co-workers for help. Another option will be finding a mentor who can assist you in navigating through the exam guidelines. If you don’t feel confident enough, consider taking an Automotive Services Technician Red Seal exam preparation course offered by Ashton College.

What does the Red Seal exam consist of?

The Red Seal exams are administered by the provincial and territorial apprenticeship and certification authorities. You must register at one of their offices to write the Red Seal exam.

The Red Seal examination for automotive service technicians has 125 questions. All of them are multiple-choice and of equal value. Each question has four possible choices (A, B, C and D), and only one answer is correct.

The maximum time allowed for the exam is 4 hours. During the exam, you will receive the exam package with questions, an answer sheet and scrap paper for your notes. The pass mark for the Red Seal exam is 70%.

When you appear for an exam, don’t forget to bring the following:

  • Photo ID (government-issued personal identification, such as a valid driver’s license)
  • Apprenticeship I.D. from your jurisdiction (if applicable)
  • Exam confirmation letter

Challenging the Red Seal exam and obtaining the certification is a big decision, but you should seriously consider getting red seal certified if you want to advance your career and open the door to new opportunities.


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  1. Paul says:

    I would to inquire about the red seal certificate


    to open auto service business, do I need this certificate

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