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New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory (Level 3)



One year full-time

On campus

Until start date
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    22 February 2021
    5 July 2021 - 23 July 2021
    19 April 2021 - 30 April 2021
    20 September 2021 - 1 October 2021
  • Dunedin
    21 February 2022
    27 June 2022 - 15 July 2022
    18 April 2022 - 29 April 2022
    3 October 2022 - 14 October 2022

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.


Video from Brian Freeman
Programme Leader
New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory

Entry requirements
  • You must have achieved NCEA Level 2 in maths, English, and physics or general science OR equivalent.
  • 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. 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.    

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 10 hours of additional self-directed study per week. Usual timetable hours are Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 3.00pm, with Wednesday work experience. 

Further study options
Links to useful websites
Additional costs

Please note that the following items may be covered by course related 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 required that you have the following textbook:

  • Electrical Wiring Practice and Electrical Principles for the Electrical Trades 

This can be purchased at the University Bookshop for approximately $300.00

You will be required to purchase an electrical tool set for approximately $300.00 during the first term of the programme.

Student loans and allowances with TTAF

Whilst this programme is free for you to study via the Trades and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF), this fund only covers tuition fees and compulsory costs such as student levies. It does not cover any additional costs or living costs. You can pay for additional and living costs by yourself if that is possible for you or by applying for a loan or allowance through Studylink.      

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. 

  • For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website

Please note: Student loans and allowances and TTAF are for domestic students only.  


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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