New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory (Level 3)

This is an entry-level qualification that can help you enter the electrical industry in a non-registration field, such as electronic security, appliance servicing and automation. Springboard off this qualification into an electrical apprenticeship (level 4), should you wish to become an electrician.

About the programme

Want to enter the electrical industry but not sure where to start?

Otago Polytechnic is the only provider of this certificate in the Otago region and our lecturers have strong industry connections. Benefit from their expertise and experience and enjoy the chance to gain theoretical knowledge by undertaking practical, hands-on work.

This project-based qualification where you will study topics such as Electricity Systems, Installation Fundamentals and Circuit Design and Operation will provide you with the knowledge and skills to enter employment in the electrical industry. If you want to become an electrician, this is the ideal pre-apprentice preparation. Alternatively, you may gain employment in non-registration areas of this industry such as electronic security, appliance servicing and automation. There is the chance for progression and promotion in these areas with further study and/or industry exams.

Upon successful completion of this level 3 certificate, you could enter an apprenticeship agreement with an employer and Otago Polytechnic to complete our Level 4 apprenticeship programme.


This programme provides the electrical industry with people who have introductory knowledge of safe electrical installation, testing, commissioning, and servicing of electrical installations and equipment. It provides pre-entry foundation knowledge of electrical engineering and is suitable for those who wish to enter the industry but do not yet have an electrical apprenticeship agreement. 

Upon successful completion of this qualification, you will have an operational and theoretical knowledge of electricity production, distribution, and utilisation, and will be able to carry out a limited range of prescribed electrical work safely and ethically under supervision in accordance with the Electricity Act 1992.

All courses within this qualification are compulsory.

Course name Level Credits
Semester one    
Electrical Work Practices 3 15
D.C. Fundamentals 3 15
Electricity Systems 3 15
Electricity Supply and Distribution 3 15


Course name Level Credit
Semester two    
Installation Fundamentals 3 15
Electrical Applications 3 15
Circuit Design and Operation 3 15
Electrical Machines 3 15

A change for 2023 enrolments

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic in 2023, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people. The great news is that this enables us to share skills and knowledge across a network of passionate education providers, to better help you succeed. Enrolling in programmes that start in 2023, means that you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.