Electrician Kaimahi Hiko

Electricians test, install, maintain and repair electrical systems and equipment.

Electricians need to be registered with the Electrical Workers Registration Board, unless they:

  • are going to work under the supervision of somebody else who is registered
  • need extra work experience while they are training, in which case they need a Limited Certificate.

Electricians need to complete a competency programme every two years to refresh their knowledge and renew their licence.

Electricians may do some or all of the following:

  • interpret electrical information on diagrams and plans
  • check for errors in diagrams and plans
  • install electrical wiring and equipment
  • repair and replace electrical wiring, parts and equipment
  • safety-test work
  • keep records of problems they find, and the work they do
  • prepare job and other quotes, or provide information for quotes. 

Physical Requirements

Electricians need to:

  • have normal colour vision, as they need to identify different-coloured cables
  • be reasonably fit, healthy and strong, as the work involves climbing and lifting
  • be comfortable working in confined spaces and at heights, as they may need to crawl through tight spaces under buildings and above ceilings.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for electricians includes construction or engineering work.

Personal Qualities

Electricians need to be:

  • accurate and methodical
  • practical and logical
  • good communicators
  • able to work well alone or in a team
  • safety-conscious
  • good at problem solving.

Skills

Electricians need to have knowledge of:

  • electrical theory, laws, codes, and standards of practice
  • how to install electrical wiring and fixtures
  • how to draw wiring diagrams and floor plans
  • basic maths and physics
  • safety procedures and first aid.

Self-employed electricians must also have business skills.

Conditions

Electricians:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may work weekends, public holidays, or be on call
  • may work at construction sites or in buildings, power generation stations or substations
  • may work at heights and in enclosed, noisy, dirty, dusty, or hazardous conditions
  • travel to local worksites.

Subject Recommendations

NCEA Level 2 in maths, science and English are usually required to enter an apprenticeship.

For Year 11 to 13 learners, trades academies and the STAR and Gateway programmes are good ways to gain relevant experience and skills.

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

Electricians can earn around $33 per hour.

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

Pay for electricians varies depending on skills, experience and the type of work they do.

  • Apprentice electricians may start on the minimum training wage or minimum wage.
  • New electricians usually earn an average of $33 an hour. 
  • Experienced electricians can earn an average of $39 an hour. 

Source: Master Electricians, 'Wage and Salary Survey', 2022.

Electricians may progress to become:

  • project managers
  • consultants at building construction companies or engineering firms
  • site supervisors.

With further training they may also progress to become:

  • electrical inspectors
  • electrical engineering technicians
  • electrical engineers.

Electricians may specialise in:

  • low-voltage electrical work on houses, and commercial or industrial buildings
  • high-voltage electrical work (over 1000 volts) on power stations, substations and other sites.

Years Of Training

3-4 years of training required.

To become an electrician you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory and Practice (Trade) (Level 4).

The Skills Organisation oversees electrical apprenticeships.

You also need to be registered with the Electrical Workers Registration Board.

Most employers also prefer you to:

  • have a driver's licence
  • have access to a car to get to worksites
  • pass a drug test.

High-voltage power training

Grid Skills (part of Transpower) trains people to work with high-voltage power, for example, in substations.

This training takes up to two years and can be done by apprentices or qualified electricians.

Electrician