Otago Polytechnic

New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory (Level 3)



One year full-time

On campus

  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    17 February 2020
    13 May 2020 - 31 May 2020
Want to enter the electrical industry but not sure where to start?

This project-based qualification 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. Upon successful completion of this Level 3 certificate, you will need to enter an apprenticeship agreement and complete the New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory and Practice (Trade) (Level 4) which is also available at Otago Polytechnic.   

Alternatively, you may gain employment in non-registration areas of this industry such as electronic security, appliance servicing and automation. There is the opportunity for progression and promotion within these areas with further study and/or industry exams.  

Otago Polytechnic is the only provider of this Level 3 certificate in the Otago region and our lecturers have strong industry connections. Benefit from their expertise and experience and enjoy the chance to gain a theoretical knowledge by undertaking practical, hands-on work. 

Entry requirements
  • You must have achieved the New Zealand Certificate in Educational Achievement (Level 2) in mathematics, English, and physics or general science, OR equivalent qualifications.
  • As part of the selection procedure you will be required to undertake an interview.
  • International students will be individually assessed to ensure they meet the entry requirements. Click here for your country's equivalent academic entry criteria. 
  • If English is not your first language, you must provide:

If you need to improve your English Language skills, we offer a wide range of English programmes.

Please note: You must hold a current First Aid Certificate before you can be awarded this qualification. If you do not attend or do not pass the first aid course as part of this programme, you will need to attend a first aid course at your own expense prior to programme completion.

Selection procedure

Applicants are accepted using the entry criteria on a first-come, first-in basis with places limited to no more than 24. Should the number of applicants exceed the available places, applicants will be placed on a waiting list in order of the date they applied. All applicants will be interviewed.   

Additional costs

You are required to provide your own personal stationery, calculator and safety footwear. It would also be an advantage to have a laptop to bring to class or at least a PC available. It is highly recommended you have the following set of four textbooks:

  • Electrical Principles for the Electrical Trades (Volume one and two), and
  • Electrical Wiring Practice (Volume one and two). 

These can be purchased at the University Bookshop for approximately $329.50. 

You will be required to purchase an electrical tool set for approximately $220.00 during the first week of the programme.

Please note: You must hold a current First Aid Certificate before you can be awarded this qualification. If you do not attend or do not pass the first aid course as part of this programme, you will need to attend a first aid course at your own expense prior to programme completion.

You will study

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.

Qualification structure

All courses within this qualification are compulsory.

SMS Code Course title Level Credits
Semester one      
ET3050 Electrical Work Practices 3 15
ET3020 D.C. Fundamentals 3 15
ET3070 Electricity Systems 3 15
ET3060 Electricity Supply and Distribution 3 15
Semester two      
ET3080 Installation Fundamentals 3 15
ET3030 Electrical Applications 3 15
ET3010 Circuit Design and Operation 3 15
ET3040 Electrical Machines 3 15
  Total credits   120
Your workload

You will be expected to complete up to 30 hours of contact time at the Polytechnic and up to 15 hours of additional self-directed study per week. 100 hours of work experience will also be needed. Usual timetable hours are Monday to Friday, 8.00am - 5.00pm, with Friday work experience. 

Further study options
Links to useful websites
Student loans/allowances

Full-time, domestic students of this programme are eligible for student loans and allowances (dependent on age and financial circumstances). For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website or phone 0800 88 99 00. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

Recognition of prior learning

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ. You may have already gained credits towards this 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.

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