New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory (Level 3)

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Fees-free is available for eligible first-time tertiary learners. Find out if you’re eligible at

Ground yourself with the right skills 

If you want to get into the electrical industry but haven’t secured an apprenticeship, this programme is a great place to start. You’ll learn theoretical and operational knowledge of electricity production, distribution and utilisation, and will be able to safely and legally carry out a limited range of prescribed electrical work under supervision. First Aid and EST (Electrical Service Technician) qualifications are included in this programme.

What will I learn?

Graduates of this qualification will, in the context of the wider electrical industry and under supervision and in a controlled environment, be able to:

  • Apply fundamental knowledge and principles of electrical theory and practice, including electrical protection, to the installation and maintenance of electrical systems and equipment.

  • Apply fundamental knowledge of fault diagnosis and testing techniques of electrical systems and equipment.

  • Apply safe working procedures and practices, and identify and report electrical and other hazards.

  • Ensure their own activities are within legal limitations of the electrical legislation.

  • Apply fundamental knowledge and principles to the installation and maintenance of electrical machines.

  • Apply fundamental knowledge and principles to the installation and maintenance of electrical equipment in special electrical situations.

  • Work ethically and professionally within the electrical industry, as an electrical apprentice, including maintaining current competency and communicating with stakeholders on electrical and related matters.

Courses in this programme

Courses Level Credits
3508.0001 - Electrical Work Practices 3 15
3508.0002 - DC Fundamentals 3 15
3508.0003 - Installation Fundamentals 3 15
3508.0004 - Electrical Applications 3 15
3508.0005 - Electricity Systems 3 15
3508.0006 - Electricity Supply and Distribution 3 15
3508.0007 - Circuit Design and Operation 3 15
3508.0008 - Electrical Machines 3 15

Career opportunities and pathways

Graduates of this programme can move onto an apprenticeship as an industrial or residential electrician. Graduates will be equipped with the skills, knowledge, and attributes to work in apprenticeships in the electrical industry in the field of their choice with guidance, mentoring, and supervision in accordance with the Electricity Act 1992.

Examples of roles that this qualification may lead to are:

  • Electricity Supply Electrical Apprentice

  • Domestic/Commercial Electrical Apprentice

  • Industrial Electrical Apprentice

  • apprenticeships in other electrical related sectors.

Graduates may also be able to work in areas such as electrical wholesaling or retailing as a counter sales person, or electrical meter readers.

This qualification provides one of two entry pathways into the electrical industry and is intended for candidates who do not have an electrical apprenticeship agreement. The second entry pathway is through an apprenticeship agreement where candidates will be signed directly into the New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory and Practice (Trade) (Level 4).

On completion of this qualification graduates may progress to higher level qualifications within the electrical industry such as the New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory and Practice (Trade) (Level 4), or the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Electrical) (Level 6). Graduates may also progress to degree level programmes.

Entry requirements

All applicants must:

  • be at least 16 years old at the time the programme commences

  • be physically able to complete the programme specific outcomes

  • have achieved the New Zealand Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA) (Level 1) in Mathematics, English, and Physics or General Science, or equivalent qualifications before starting programmes leading to the qualification.

Applicants for whom English is not a first language must have an IELTS General or Academic score of 5 with no band score lower than 5; or an accepted international equivalence.

Qualification gained

New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory (Level 3)

Courses and programmes may be cancelled, postponed or have their content or configuration changed from time to time (including during the academic year) at the discretion of NorthTec. Fees are an indication, include GST and apply to domestic students only. View terms and conditions

From 1 January 2023, all NorthTec learners will be part of Te Pūkenga. Please note that these programmes of study are currently under review as part of the reform of vocational education training and may be subject to change.

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Full time


1 year

Start Dates

Whangarei: February

Cost Incl. GST (Approx):

2022 Fees: TBC

Student levy may apply

International: Programme not open to international students

Programme Code


Phone 0800 162 100
Enquire about this programme