How to become an auto electrician (Plus definition)

Updated 7 May 2023

Careers in the automotive industry are in demand, making it an ideal industry to pursue if you're interested in the trade as an electrician. Auto electricians have a specialised role within the industry and work closely with electrical components. Understanding how to become an auto electrician, including key details about the responsibilities and necessary skills required, is valuable for determining whether this career is something you're passionate about pursuing. In this article, we define the role of an auto electrician and share a step-by-step guide on how to become one, plus list the skills and responsibilities.

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What is an auto electrician?

An auto electrician, sometimes referred to as an automotive electrician, is a professional that specialises in the maintenance, installation and repairing of electrical and wiring systems of motor vehicles. Motor vehicles that auto electricians usually work on include cars, trucks and buses, among other vehicles. Auto electricians are experts in their field. They complete the professional training required to carry out maintenance, repairs and installations of these components safely and customers consider them knowledgeable about electrical issues.

Related: Why pursue a career in the electrical trade? (With benefits)

How to become an auto electrician

Here's how to become an auto electrician in four steps:

1. Complete the relevant education

There are different educational routes that you can pursue to become a licensed auto electrician, including college courses, apprenticeships or applying directly to auto electricians. Below are some more details about each of these educational routes to help you determine which path is most suitable for your learning preferences:

College course

One of the most popular college courses for you to consider, which covers auto electrical topics and work, is the vehicle maintenance and repair course. This course helps you develop your skills and expand your knowledge about electrical components and the automotive trade and industry. Entry requirements for this college course, and other related college courses, depending on the course qualification level. For example, if you're hoping to achieve a T Level, the expectation is for you to achieve at least 4 or 5 GCSEs at the grades of 9 to 4, which is equivalent to A* to C. Relevant college courses to consider include:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Auto Electrical and Mobile Electrical Competence

  • Level 2 Certificate in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Principles

  • Level 3 Diploma in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair

  • T Level in Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering and Manufacturing

Related: White collar vs. blue collar jobs: What is the difference?


There are various apprenticeship options for you to choose from to pursue your career as an auto electrician. Apprenticeships are the ideal choice for those who prefer a hybrid of traditional lecture-style teaching and hands-on practical work experience to learn. Entry requirements for apprenticeships include obtaining GCSEs, including English and Maths at different levels, depending on whether you aim to pursue an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship. The following apprenticeships can help to qualify you for the role of an auto electrician:

  • advanced vehicle damage, mechanical or trim specialist

  • advanced electrical technician

  • advanced motor vehicle service and maintenance technician

Direct application

Another educational route is to apply directly to an automotive electrician to expand your knowledge, develop key skills and learn about becoming an auto electrician on the job. Applying directly is a great opportunity to start your career as an auto electrician. Research local auto electrician jobs in your area so you're aware of the opportunities available. Job vacancies arise throughout the year, so check job boards and online listings regularly.

Related: What is an auto mechanic? With salary and responsibilities

2. Gain relevant work experience

The next step is to gain relevant work experience that reflects to employers your commitment to the industry whilst also demonstrating your skills and knowledge within a professional environment. Relevant work experience for an auto electrician can include shadowing a qualified auto electrician or working within the administrative side of the automotive trade and industry. For example, start by gaining relevant work experience working in sales in a car dealership or scheduling labour appointments. Otherwise, try working as a private car mechanic or working with electrical components in a different industry first.

Related: How to become a mechanic: a step-by-step guide

3. Write an engaging CV

The next step is to write an engaging CV that showcases your suitability for the role. Your CV is a key document that highlights your accomplishments and informs potential employers about your professional and educational background. Your CV details the relevant work experience you have, which showcases to employers your ability to thrive successfully in a professional setting and your commitment to working in this industry.

A key tip when writing your CV is to use language that matches the language used by the employer on their job listing and the job description. Matching the language is a great way to reveal your communication skills whilst showcasing your thorough understanding of the expectations of the role and highlighting your suitability for it.

Related: How to write an electrician CV (with template and example)

4. Apply for available auto electrician jobs

The last step to becoming an auto electrician is to apply for vacant auto electrician jobs. Submit your CV document and share details of your professional work experience that helped prepare you for this role. The automotive industry has many available jobs, making this career very in-demand and competitive. If you receive an invitation to an interview, ensure you invest adequate time and resources to prepare properly.

Preparing for interviews is an extremely beneficial practice. Preparing answers to commonly asked interview questions is important to ensure that your delivery is confident and concise. Prepare your answers to ensure you include all the key details and relevant information that successfully highlights your suitability for the role.

Related: 27 electrician's interview questions (with example answers)

What are the responsibilities of an auto electrician?

Auto electricians have a wide range of responsibilities that they handle on a day-to-day basis. Understanding the responsibilities is key to deciding whether you want to work in this role. Central responsibilities of an auto electrician include:

  • Taking engine readings: A key responsibility is to take readings from a vehicle engine's electrical control unit using specific tools and devices, such as a laptop or a hand-held device.

  • Research: Auto electricians conduct research to identify and diagnose electrical faults in vehicles. Auto electricians research by consulting with vehicle manuals and circuit diagrams from a manufacturer.

  • Identifying and repairing faults: Perhaps the central responsibility of an auto electrician is to identify and repair faults within vehicles to identify which areas need repairing or maintaining to keep the vehicle running efficiently and safely.

  • Installing and replacing components: Installing and replacing electrical components in vehicles is another key responsibility that auto electricians work on. Installing and replacing electrical components that either have significant damage, faulty signals or no longer work ensures people can drive safely on the road to protect themselves and protect others on the road.

  • Recording a list of your repairs: Auto electricians keep a logged record of the repairs that they've completed on their client's and their customer's vehicles.

  • Installing new vehicle wiring systems: New wiring systems are important to ensure that a vehicle functions effectively on the road. Auto electricians use their knowledge and specialist experience to instal new vehicle wiring systems in vehicles.

  • Communicating with customers: Auto electricians work closely and communicate closely with customers to determine what issues they've been experiencing with their vehicles. Auto electricians discuss problems, resolutions and costs with customers to determine the best ways to get their vehicles working correctly and safely.

  • Servicing vehicles: Auto electricians service vehicles regularly to ensure that all the different components are functioning correctly. Vehicle servicing and MOT checks are essential for drivers on the road and auto electricians play an important role in keeping drivers safe.

  • Organising files and documents: Auto electricians are responsible for organising the files and the documents of all their repairs and works.

Related: What is automotive engineering? (With career info)

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What are the relevant skills of an auto electrician?

The role of an auto electrician has a lot of necessary skills attached. Understanding which are the critical skills can help you determine which ones to strengthen. You can then develop these to increase your suitability for the role. Some necessary skills for an auto electrician include:

  • attention to detail

  • the ability to repair and maintain vehicles using efficient tools

  • teamwork

  • written and verbal communication

  • problem-solving

  • computer proficiency

  • ability to operate electrical equipment

  • physical strength and stamina

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