Otago Polytechnic

New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory and Practice (Trade) (Level 4)


Dunedin and in your workplace

Four years (in conjunction with an apprenticeship)

In conjunction with your apprenticeship you will be expected to attend a weekly night class, additional one-week block courses throughout the four years, and to undertake some self-directed study

now (your electrical industry employer will enrol you in this programme)
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Dunedin
    19 February 2018

Gain the skills and knowledge to work independently as a commercially competent electrician. 

This programme is studied in conjunction with an apprenticeship so is ideal for candidates who are training in the workplace and want to earn while they learn. You must enter a three-way training agreement between yourself, your employer and Otago Polytechnic and your employer will enrol you into this programme. 

It includes the Electrical Workers Registration Board (EWRB) electrical theory and regulations exams which is required for registration as an electrician. Upon successful completion of this programme, you will be able to apply to the EWRB for registration. 

Once registered and licenced, you will be able to supervise other electrical workers up to and including your licence class. Roles may include an Electricity Supply Electrician, Domestic/Commercial Electrician, Industrial Electrician or Appliance Service person.  

This Level 4 qualification also provides a pathway into the Electrical strand of our New Zealand Diploma in Engineering if you wish to advance your training and expand your employment options. Further study could lead to employment in management roles and in electrical engineering.  

By studying this programme at Otago Polytechnic in conjunction with your apprenticeship, you will gain access to our cutting-edge workshop and training facilities. In addition, you will be trained by lecturers who are Registered Electricians with significant industry experience as well as on-the-job learning.  

Application process

As this programme is heavily based in industry and you must be employed at the time of your study, your employer will enrol you into this qualification. You must enter a three-way training agreement between yourself, your employer and Otago Polytechnic.

Entry requirements 

Alternative requirements

Skills for tertiary study (including literacy and numeracy) may be acquired through study, work and/or life experience. Students who can demonstrate these skills may be approved for alternative entry. Literacy and numeracy assessments are available.   

Additional requirements 

  • To successfully complete this programme, you must be employed in the electrical industry at the time of your study. 
  • You must enter a three-way training agreement between yourself, your employer and Otago Polytechnic. 
  • A driver's licence is desirable. 

English language requirements 

  • All applicants must have a level of English sufficient to be able to study at this level. 
  • If English is not your first language, you must demonstrate an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.5. issued within the last two years, with no band score less than 5.0, or equivalent. 

Special entry 

In exceptional circumstances, an applicant under the age of 20 who does not meet the academic entry requirements may be granted entry to the programme where they supply evidence of their ability to succeed on the programme.

Selection criteria 

Applications will be processed in the order that they are received. If there are more applications than spaces available, a waitlist will be maintained. 

Additional costs 

Tools and safety equipment will be supplied by the electrical contractor who employs you. You may be required to purchase tools and reimburse your employer from your wages (approximate cost = $750). 

Graduates of the Level 3 pre-trade programme will have existing tools which you can use.  

Programme schedule 

The purpose of this qualification is to provide the electrical industry with commercially-competent, registered electricians who are able to install, test and commission, and service electrical installations and equipment safely and in accordance with the Electricity Act 1992.

The qualification includes the EWRB Electrical Theory and Regulations Exam. This is required for registration as an Electrician. Upon successful completion of this programme, graduates will be asked to apply to the EWRB for registration.  

Course title Level OP credit NQF credit
Module 1 Electrical Work Practice 3 15  
Module 2 Direct Current Fundamentals 15   
Module 3 Installation Fundamentals  15   
Module 4 Electrical Applications  15   
Module 5 Electricity Systems  15   
Module 6 Electricity Supply and Distribution 15   
Module 7 Circuit Design and Operation  15   
Module 8 Electrical Machines  15   
Module 9 Electrical Theory 1 10   
Module 10 Electrical Theory 2 12  8
Demonstrate knowledge of, and apply electrical
legislation, New Zealand Codes of Practice, and 
Module 11 Electrical Theory 3  
Module 12 Electrical Theory 4 5
Demonstrate knowledge of theory for registration
of electricians 
Demonstrate knowledge of supervision of trainees
undertaking prescribed electrical work
On Job Module 1 45   
On Job Module 2 18   
On Job Module 3  
On Job Module 4  
On Job Module 5  
On Job Module 6  
Programme total   250  
Your workload 

You will be expected to attend a weekly, three-hour hour night class during term time. There will also be an additional one-week block courses per year during your apprenticeship.

Additional self-directed study hours (of up to nine hours per week) may be required to complete this qualification.  

Further study options 

To expand your knowledge and career options, undertake our New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Electrical)

Student loans and allowances 

Full-time domestic students of this programme are eligible for student loans and allowances (dependent on age and financial circumstances.) Please contact Studylink for additional information. Phone 0800 88 99 00 or visit: www.studylink.govt.nz

Recognition of prior learning 

If you already have extensive knowledge and skills gained from 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 in the course of your life. Visit www.capablenz.ac.nz

For more information 

Please email our programme contacts: 

For general enquiries contact administration: ECLadmin@op.ac.nz 

Paul Rietvald (Programme Leader): Paul.Rietvald@op.ac.nz | 0211997758


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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