How to Become an Automotive Electrician

Automotive Electrician

An automotive electrician works with the electric parts of cars, such as alarms, electric windows, and air conditioning. They test the electrical systems, find faults, and repair or replace them when needed.

An automotive electrician is a specialist in the electronics of vehicles. They work with the electronic parts of the vehicle, including the ignition, alarms, lighting, and reverse cameras. Their job entails testing and fixing faults. 

Automotive electricians may choose to specialise in light vehicles (such as cars, vans, or motorcycles) or heavy vehicles (such as lorries or buses). They may also specialise in a particular type of car. 

Being an automotive electrician includes doing tasks such as: 

  • Checking electricity levels in various parts of the car by taking readings. These will be taken from a computer or handheld device.
  • Analysing the readings to see if there are any faults. If any are found, the automotive electrician will research the defects to assess what the problem is and work out how they can resolve the issue.
  • Working on the resolution, which will include repairing or replacing when necessary. 
  • Re-testing the system to double-check that everything is still working as it should. At this point, the automotive electrician may need to drive the car and complete a road test.
  • Filling out a repair sheet detailing the work that has been done. 
  • Occasionally, explaining to the customer what they have done to fix the car.

There are a few ways to become an automotive electrician, and no specific qualifications are needed – however, some vocational experience is essential. Apprenticeships offer candidates the opportunity to learn the skill and receive some compensation, becoming qualified in the process. 

A more academic route to becoming an auto electrician is by a college course. Relevant courses include motor vehicle studies, light vehicle maintenance, or vehicle systems. Some of these courses can be accessed with no secondary qualifications.

Candidates could also build a work experience portfolio by shadowing an automotive electrician at a local garage. Once a candidate has a relevant profile of experience and qualifications, they could apply to vehicle electrician jobs directly. 

Automotive electricians must have keen attention to detail as they will have the sole responsibility of using technology to diagnose any faults. They will need to use initiative to find faults and be confident in their decisions. 

Automotive electricians will often be working to a deadline, so should exhibit excellent time management skills and be able to remain calm under pressure. They may be expected to work as part of a team but also complete work independently, depending on the task. Customer service skills may also be required.

Intermediate maths and computer skills are important – automotive electricians should be able to use their devices to measure electric levels – and they will need practical skills. Depending on where they are working, automotive electricians may need a driving licence which might need to include LGV (lorries) or PCV (buses). 

Automotive electricians will typically work in garages, workshops, dealerships, fleet hire, or in breakdown. Their job may require them to work outdoors in any weather conditions. They should also be prepared to be on their feet all day.

Working hours are generally Monday to Friday, but some automotive electricians may need to work shifts (some places offer 24 hour repairs and require somebody to always be there), or be on call throughout evenings and weekends. 

Automotive electricians may be able to use their knowledge of vehicles for other roles in the industry. They may also start their own business. As people are installing increasing amounts of technology into their cars, the amount of automotive electrician jobs is increasing.


What degree is most commonly held by an Automotive Electrician?

  • Vocational Training
  • Bachelor of Engineering
  • Masters of Engineering

Career Transportability across Countries

Transportability: Low
It would be challenging for an automotive electrician to work abroad, as the training is specific to a particular country’s standards. They may also struggle with cultural differences, as it is a customer focused role. One of the few ways for automotive electricians to work abroad would be to specialise in one rare type of vehicle model and search for niche jobs for that vehicle.

What is the Salary of an Automotive Electrician?

Experience Average salary | year
Automotive Engineering 1-3 yrs $51,000 £37,324 $42,849
Automotive Engineering 3-5 yrs $72,000 £58,400 $67,133
Automotive Engineering 5-10 yrs $110,000 £62,500 $79,477

What skills are needed to become an Automotive Electrician?

  • Automotive
  • Customer Service
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Electrical Wiring
  • Management
  • Preventive Maintenance
  • Mining
  • Maintenance & Repair
  • Microsoft Office
  • Engineering
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Heavy Equipment
  • Leadership
  • Manufacturing
  • Fault Finding
  • Maintenance Management
  • Vehicles
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Automotive Repair
  • Electronics
  • Project Management
  • Automotive Electronics
  • Electricians
  • Troubleshooting
  • Maintenance

Automotive Electrician Courses

As an automotive electrician requires some specific skills, it’s a great idea to learn and perfect these by taking some relevant courses. At FutureLearn, we have plenty of such courses for budding automotive electricians.
  • Electrical Engineering: Sensing, Powering and Controlling

    Get a taste of an electrical engineering degree Build your confidence in communicating ideas and using technical vocabulary

  • Technology Metals for a Green Future

    Learn how critical raw materials are found and used and explore their role in contributing to a more sustainable future

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