Millions of vehicles in the UK go through the MOT test every year. There are around 20,000 testing stations across the UK, employing over 53,000 registered testers.
Not every garage is licensed to carry out MOT tests but those who are display the distinctive sign with three white triangles on a blue background.
In order to maintain the high standards of the test, and make sure that tests are being done consistently across the country, there are strict requirements for people who want to become an accredited tester.
1. MOT Tester Training
You can only start the training to become an MOT tester after you’ve been working on vehicles for four years. There is separate training for people who wish to test cars or motorbikes. Most testers specialise in one type or the other but some, especially in more rural areas, carry out tests on both.
The DVLA recently changed the rules on training, and new applicants now have to get a recognised qualification to become registered. There are a couple of ways of going about this. Some people prefer to read all the manuals and testing procedures in their own time, then have their knowledge assessed independently.
An easier way is to go to one of the specific training courses set up by local colleges and organisations like City & Guilds. Applicants should also keep detailed records of what they studied, what topics were covered, and when the course was completed.
2. Staying Qualified
Once you’ve passed the initial training and started work as a MOT tester, that isn’t the end of the paperwork and training. There is a requirement for testers to repeat training and pass an assessment every year.
The training must be at least 3 hours per years, and 16 hours over the course of 5 years. The assessment test is a multiple-choice style. As it is online, testers can log in and answer the questions at home or work, whichever is more convenient.
3. Ongoing Checks
The DVLA employs a team which reviews the work of all testing stations in the UK. If you’re doing a great job, keeping up with your training and being very honest about test results, you have nothing to worry about.
However, the team of inspectors follow up on complaints by members of the public and use “mystery shoppers” to make sure testing stations are keeping up to standards. They might send a car for testing with known faults, to make sure testers are finding those faults and giving the correct result on the certificate.
4. From A Customer’s Point Of View
As a customer presenting their car for a MOT, the amount of training which mechanics go through should be reassuring. Not just anyone is inspecting your car.
If you’re concerned about a fail which should be a pass or vice versa, then you can ask the DVLA to investigate.
It also means that even though garages appear to have lots of staff, this doesn’t mean they’re free to do the MOT test. Only one or two people in a large garage may be registered as a MOT tester.