Automotive (Auto) electricians specialize in the repair and modification of all things electrical in automotive vehicles. You can think of them like electricians for cars. While most mechanics can correct simple electrical problems, auto electricians are specially trained for that work and have more knowledge and experience to handle even the most complicated electrical problems.
Some of the work they do includes:
- Diagnostic tests on auto electrical systems
- Repair and replacement of faulty systems
- Repair and replacement of electronic systems e.g. air-conditioning systems, vehicle computers and instrument panels
- Installation of security and entertainment systems.
Auto electricians are a critical part of the auto repair and maintenance industry. Anyone interested in joining this profession must go through specialized training and apprenticeship before they can qualify to work.
Becoming an auto electrician
After completing your Year 10, you will be required to enter into a formal training contract as an apprentice at an automotive repair and maintenance company. Here you will gain practical, hands-on skills while going through structured classes with a registered auto electrical trainer.
In case you are still in school, you can access apprenticeship opportunities through the school. You will attend class three days a week, have a day with the registered auto electrical trainer and another day with your employer. You can also make sure you are doing well in English, Mathematics and Physics, and choose subjects like technical drawing and metalwork that will be useful in your career as an auto mechanic.
Note that apprenticeship can be done through a trade school or a regular college. In a trade school you learn only want you want to as far as auto electrical work is concerned and you can do your apprenticeship concurrently with your school work. If you decide to go to college and get an automotive engineering degree, look out for colleges that arrange for these apprenticeships.
Once you complete the apprenticeship, you will then be required to obtain a Motor Vehicle Repairers Certificate from the Motor Vehicle Industry Board. At this point, you will be qualified to work as an automotive electrician. Alternatively, you can work for someone who has the certificate until you get your own.
Just in case there are skills and competencies you have acquired through informal or non-formal training, it is possible to have them recognized as prior learning, allowing you to get your practicing certificate. Your skills will be assessed along with your knowledge and experience to earn you credit for part or all of the required formal training of an auto electrician.