How to Become an Auto Electrician in South Africa: Qualifications, Jobs and Income

Auto electricians are expert professionals that work in the automotive industry. Their responsibilities include installing, repairing and maintaining the electrical systems of motorised vehicles. Becoming one takes training, troubleshooting skills, and the completion of mandatory auto electrician courses.

Auto electrician jobs in South Africa come with a generous salary. Serious workers that have the required qualifications can easily find a good-paying position in the automotive sector. Additional jobs may also be available in auto service-centers and repair shops.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Become an Auto Electrician?

Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority

About the accreditation, courses & Seta


NQF Levels: NQF 4    

SAQA Code:

97388   – Occupational Certificate

Electrical installations and repairs are difficult to complete for people who do not have the proper training in the field. To become an auto electrician, one must have certificates that confirm one has finished ones learning period. Apprenticeships can help candidates get the necessary experience that will later let them surpass an entry-level salary.

The job of an automotive electrician in South Africa is part of the MerSETA (Manufacturing Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority) landscape. To be able to apply for this position, you must:

Automotive Electrician

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Graduate NQF Level 4 with Mathematics and Physical or Engineering Science
  • Have completed a 1 year apprenticeship
  • Have a national certificate that shows you have completed the relevant auto electrician courses

Besides these mandatory qualifications, an auto electrician must also prove the following traits:

  • Be physically fit for heavy work
  • Have great physical stamina
  • Have good eyesight and colour vision
  • Have outstanding troubleshooting skills
  • Have great hand-eye coordination
  • Hold basic level knowledge of mathematics
  • Have a good grasp of electrical technology
  • Work calmly, carefully and with extreme precision

According to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), having an automotive electrician job also implies these requirements:

  • An in-depth understanding of health and safety compliance rules
  • Basic knowledge of hand and power tools
  • An excellent grasp of the diagnostic tools used in the automotive industry
  • A great set of communication skills
  • Excellent teamwork abilities

What is an Auto Electrician’s Job?

An auto electrician has to ensure the proper functioning of the electrical components of a vehicle. When inspecting a car, he must check the battery, the starter motor, alternator, fuse box, wiring, and connectors. These are basic elements of most motorised vehicles that even up-and-coming electricians need to know how they work.

Their main duties include:

  • Installing electrical wiring on vehicles
  • Diagnosing electrical issues
  • Troubleshooting elements of the vehicle’s electrical system
  • Repairing faulty wiring
  • Servicing electrical automotive parts
  • Providing customers with accurate information regarding the state of their vehicles’ electrical systems

Auto Electrician Equipment

Nowadays, the automotive industry is incorporating more and more computerised technology. Therefore, a highly-skilled auto electrician must also know how to operate and troubleshoot computing devices. Their abilities should include installing and repairing components like:

  • GPS systems
  • Anti-theft alarms
  • Car radios
  • Smart technology headlights
  • Air conditioning systems
  • Digital dashboard displays
  • Electric seat heating systems

After finishing an auto electrician course and gaining some decent work experience as an apprentice, one can begin a career as an electrician in the automotive industry. Some of the most rewarding sectors include:

  • Commercial and industrial electrical and electronic equipment repair
  • Transportation equipment electrical repair
  • Powerhouse, substation, and relay electrical and electronics
  • Field technicians
  • Bench technicians

What is the difference between an Auto Electrician and an Electrician?

An auto electrician works almost exclusively on vehicles that incorporate an electrical system. They install, repair and maintain all the electrical components that you can find in your car.

An electrician is an all-around professional in the field of electrical repair. They can work on a variety of electrical systems, but they lack an in-depth understanding of a vehicle’s electrical structure if they do not have auto electrician courses.

How Much Does an Auto Electrician Earn in a Year?

An impressive set of electrical and electronic repair skills and solid experience in this profession will earn you a decent yearly income in South Africa.

At the moment, the average hourly pay for automotive electricians is R96.62. Depending on your level of abilities and experience, you can earn between R38 and R180 per hour to which you may also receive a bonus ranging between R4,122 and R48,479 calculated for an entire year.

As a student or apprentice, you may earn only the minimum rate at first. However, in time, you can earn an average of R243, 764 per year. The most that you can make within 12 months of working as an auto electrician in South Africa is R410k, which is well above minimum wage even after you pay all the necessary income fees and taxes.

How to Work as an Auto Electrician in South Africa

South Africa has a wide market for auto electrician jobs. There is a huge demand for such experts in numerous industries and sectors. Applicants that meet the mandatory qualifications have several directories available where they can choose this profession.

Taking auto electrician courses increases the chances of getting a job substantially. By combining professional teachings with on-hand experience, you can build a set of crucial skills and know-how that will make you stand out in a crowd of applicants.

Becoming a professional auto electrician in South Africa gives you the chance to do an exciting job in the automotive industry. You also gain access to a high-paying salary, a stimulating work environment and optimal chances of advancing your career. All it takes is a bit of learning, proper dedication and commitment to occupy one of the most sought after positions in the country.

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