Apply for an inspector or technician license

Important! The new Vehicle Safety Systems Inspection Program is rolling out. Apply now for a technician license!

Applications and fees


License Application Fee
Smog Check inspector*
An individual that is licensed to inspect and certify the emissions control systems on vehicles subject to the Smog Check Program.
Application $20.00
Smog Check repair technician*
An individual that is licensed to diagnose and repair the emissions control systems on vehicles subject to the Smog Check Program.
Application $20.00
Vehicle safety systems technician
An individual that is licensed to inspect vehicle safety systems.
Application $10.00

*Submit one application and a $40.00 application fee if applying for both a Smog Check inspector license and Smog Check repair technician license.

Qualifications


A license examination is required for licensure. To qualify to take the examination, applicants must meet the licensure qualifications at the time of application.

Smog Check inspector

To qualify to take the Smog Check inspector license examination, an applicant must have successfully completed the Smog Check (Level 2) training within the last two years, AND meet one of the following:

  • Successful completion of engine and emission control (Level 1) training within the last two years.
  • Certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) in all three of the following areas:
    • Electrical/Electronic Systems (A6)
    • Engine Performance (A8)
    • Advanced Engine Performance Specialist (L1)
  • An Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree or higher in automotive technology, from a state accredited or recognized college, public school, or trade school, AND one year of automotive repair experience in the engine performance area.
  • A certificate in automotive technology from a state accredited or recognized college, public school, or trade school with a minimum of 720 hours course work that includes at least 280 hours course work in the engine performance area, AND one year of automotive repair experience in the engine performance area.
  • A minimum of two years of automotive repair experience in the engine performance area, AND successfully completed BAR specified diagnostic and repair training within the last five years.
  • Comparable military education/experience.

Smog Check repair technician

To qualify to take the Smog Check repair technician license examination, an applicant must meet one of the following:

  • Certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) in all three of the following areas:
    • Electrical/Electronic Systems (A6)
    • Engine Performance (A8)
    • Advanced Engine Performance Specialist (L1)
  • An Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree or higher in automotive technology, from a state accredited or recognized college, public school, or trade school, AND one year of automotive repair experience in the engine performance area.
  • A certificate in automotive technology from a state accredited or recognized college, public school, or trade school with a minimum of 720 hours course work that includes at least 280 hours course work in the engine performance area, AND one year of automotive repair experience in the engine performance area.
  • A minimum of two years of automotive repair experience in the engine performance area, AND successfully completed BAR specified diagnostic and repair training within the last five years.
  • Comparable military education/experience.

Vehicle safety systems technician

Vehicle safety systems technician license applicants are NOT required to meet qualification requirements and pass an examination if they have both an active brake adjuster license AND an active lamp adjuster license with no pending disciplinary action and are not on probation with BAR. However, certification is required for license renewal.

To qualify to take the vehicle safety systems license examination, an applicant must have National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification in each of the following areas:

  • Suspension and steering (A-4)
  • Brakes (A-5)
  • Electrical/electronic systems (A-6)

Steps to get licensed


Step 1: Verify you meet the qualifications for licensure

Applicants must meet the qualifications for licensure at the time of application. To learn about scholarship opportunities available to help you meet the qualification requirements, visit Scholarship Opportunities for Students and Professionals.

Step 2: Apply

Complete the application, providing all requested information. BAR will notify you of the status of your application and any deficiencies within 14 days of receipt of the application. BAR cannot process a deficient application until all requested information and fees are provided.

Apply now 

Step 3: Pass the examination

If your application is approved, a notice will be sent to you providing your eligibility to take the examination and important instructions on how to schedule the examination. It is your responsibility to contact the examination contractor to schedule the examination.

Step 4: Print your license

After you successfully pass the examination and your license is issued, you can conveniently print your license online.

Print license 

Step 5: Complete biometric enrollment

Licensed Smog Check inspectors and vehicle safety systems technicians must complete biometric enrollment to establish a Cal-VIS palm data profile for performing inspections. Contact BAR Field Office Support for enrollment dates and times.

Expedites and waivers


For members of the United States Armed Forces and their families

Members of the United States Armed Forces and their spouses or domestic partners may qualify for expedited licensure and license portability options. A spouse or domestic partner of an active duty member of the United States Armed Forces also may qualify for an initial application fee waiver. For details and information on documentation that must be submitted with a license application to qualify, visit Resources for Members of the United States Armed Forces and Their Families.

For refugees, asylees, and holders of SIVs

Refugees, asylees, and holders of special immigrant visas (SIV) may qualify for expedited licensure as required by Business and Professions Code section 135.4. For details and information on documentation that must be submitted with a license application to qualify, visit Expedited Licensure Process for Refugees, Asylees, and Holders of Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs)

Potential license denial


BAR is committed to reducing barriers to licensure and ensuring qualified applicants are granted a license. An applicant may be denied a license in certain circumstances as required by California law. However, circumstances such as a criminal conviction or prior formal discipline do not automatically preclude an applicant from licensure with BAR. BAR evaluates each applicant on a case-by-case basis and considers criteria to determine if the license should be granted.

For more information, visit Criminal Convictions, Formal Discipline, and Potential License Denial.

FAQs


Do I need to be licensed with BAR?

Individuals that perform inspections and repairs of vehicles for the Smog Check Program and Vehicle Safety Systems Inspection Program must be licensed with BAR.

General automotive repair mechanics are not licensed by BAR. However, an automotive repair business must be registered with BAR as an automotive repair dealer.

What type of Smog Check license(s) do I need?

A Smog Check inspector license is required to inspect and certify vehicle emissions control systems. A Smog Check repair technician license is required to diagnose, adjust, and repair vehicle emissions control systems. If you will be inspecting and repairing vehicles, both licenses are required.

If I'm applying for both a Smog Check inspector license and a Smog Check repair technician license, do I need to submit two separate applications?

No, an applicant may submit one application to apply for both licenses. Be sure to select both license types on the application.

Can I request an application fee refund?

No, fees are non-refundable pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 158.