Automotive Electrician Kaimahi Hiko ā-Waka

Automotive electricians install, maintain and repair electrical wiring, parts and electrical and electronic systems in vehicles.

Automotive electricians may do some or all of the following:

  • test automotive electrical systems to find and fix faults
  • repair and replace automotive electrical systems such as charging and starting systems
  • repair and replace electronic systems such as engine-management systems, air-conditioning systems, ABS brakes, electronically controlled gearboxes, instrument panels and vehicle computers
  • install car security and entertainment systems.

Physical Requirements

Automotive electricians need to have good hand-eye co-ordination and normal colour vision. They also need to be agile and have good flexibility for working in small spaces.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for automotive electricians includes:

  • any work with vehicles
  • electrical or mechanical work
  • computer work.

Personal Qualities

Automotive electricians need to be:

  • accurate and logical
  • methodical and patient
  • safety-conscious.

Skills

Automotive electricians need to have knowledge of:

  • automotive electronics, electrical theory and circuit diagrams
  • vehicle components
  • basic engineering
  • basic vehicle mechanics.

Conditions

Automotive electricians:

  • usually work regular business hours but may also work overtime and be on call
  • work in garages and workshops
  • may travel locally to repair vehicles that have broken down.

Subject Recommendations

No specific secondary education is required for this job, but NCEA Level 1 with a minimum of 12 numeracy credits and 12 literacy credits is useful.

For Year 11 to 13 students, these programmes are a good way to gain industry experience and relevant skills :

  • StartUp
  • trades academies, STAR and Gateway

These programmes may help you gain an apprenticeship, but do not reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it.

Automotive Electricians can earn around $21-$24 per hour.

Chances of getting a job as a Automotive Electrician are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Pay for automotive technicians varies depending on experience, the type of vehicle they specialise in, and the region they work in.

  • Automotive electricians with no formal qualification usually earn between minimum wage and $24 an hour.
  • Qualified automotive electricians usually earn between $24 and $40 an hour.
  • Senior automotive electricians, or those working in supervisory positions, can earn up to $44 an hour.

Source: MTA, 'Repairer Salary and Wage Survey Results', 2017.

Automotive electricians may progress to set up their own automotive electrical business, or move into management, customer service, or other automotive or engineering occupations. 

They may specialise in:

  • particular types of vehicles such as heavy trucks and earthmoving vehicles, or cars
  • areas such as fuel injection systems or computer repairs.

Years Of Training

3-4 years of training usually required.

There are no specific requirements to become an automotive electrician. However, employers usually prefer you to have a qualification and full driver's licence for the type of vehicle you are working on.

Industry training organisation MITO oversees automotive electrician apprenticeships.

To become a qualified automotive electrician, you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Electrical Engineering (Level 4). This was previously the National Certificate in Motor Industry (Automotive Electrical and Mechanical Engineering) (Level 4).

Automotive Electrician