Skip Navigation LinksHomeProgrammesAutomotive and Panel & PaintNew Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering

New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering

New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering

Level 3

Get your career started in the automotive industry with UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering.

  • Two UCOL students working on a car.Two UCOL students working on a car.
  • An aerial view of UCOL's automotive workshopAn aerial view of UCOL's automotive workshop
  • Learning how cars workLearning how cars work
  • Working on a partWorking on a part
  • Working on a car partWorking on a car part
  • A photograph of a UCOL speedway carA photograph of a UCOL speedway car
Quick info

Level: 3

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North, UCOL Whanganui, UCOL Wairarapa in Masterton

Duration: 1 year, full-time

Palmerston North
14 Feb 2022 - 18 Nov 2022
25 Jul 2022 - 28 Apr 2023

14 Feb 2022 - 18 Nov 2022

21 Feb 2022 - 25 Nov 2022

Domestic Fees: *
$6468.00Scholarship info

International Fees:*

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

Learn how to service general automotive systems and gain the essential skills needed for an entry-level position in automotive engineering.

Take your passion for cars or bikes, develop technical skills, and hone your problem solving of engineering issues to lay the foundation for an exciting career.

UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering is an ideal place to start in the industry, which is riding the wave of technical innovation.

 Career & Study Outcomes

Successful graduates of UCOL's New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering will have the following theoretical and practical skills:

  • Follow workplace policies, procedures and relevant regulations to work safely and effectively in an automotive workshop
  • Use tools and equipment to complete basic workshop engineering tasks
  • Apply fundamental automotive engineering knowledge to service engine and driveline systems
  • Check operation of and perform minor repairs on electrical systems
  • Apply fundamental automotive engineering knowledge to service steering, suspension and brake systems.

To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries, see Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Occupation Outlook for Automotive Technicians & Electricians.

 Course Information

This programme comprises 120 credits.

Automotive Workshop Safety (10 Credits)
Learn to identify and consistently apply policies, procedures and regulations that ensure safe and effective working practices in an automotive workshop.

Basic Repair and Modification of Automotive Components (15 Credits)
Safely and correctly use hand and power tools and workshop engineering equipment to complete basic automotive engineering workshop tasks. The course covers:

  • Material types and properties
  • SI symbols (International System of Units)
  • Principles behind basic fabrication techniques
  • Principles behind use of specialist tools
  • Hand tools - hacksaw, internal and external threading tools, stud extractor, files, measuring and marking out tools
  • Power tools - drilling machinery
  • Basic equipment - electric welding equipment, gas welding equipment
  • Workshop engineering equipment - material types/properties, basic fabrication (heating, cutting, welding, threading, fastening systems)

Engines (15 Credits)
Learn to identify the components of an engine; strip, measure, reassemble and start an engine; and carry out tuning for four stroke spark ignition (SI) and/or compression ignition (CI) engines.

Engine Systems (10 Credits)
Learn the function, purpose and location of engine systems and undertake basic servicing of engine systems. The course covers:

  • Intake
  • Cooling
  • Engine management system
  • Exhaust systems 
  • Fuel - petrol and diesel
  • Lubrication, lubricants and sealants

Driveline Systems (10 Credits)
Learn the function, purpose and location of driveline systems and undertake basic servicing of driveline systems.

Electrical and Electronics (15 Credits)
Learn automotive electrical and electronic principles and how to conduct basic checks and repairs on wiring and lighting systems.

Starting and Charging Systems (10 Credits)
Learn about starting, charging and ignition systems with appropriate tools, equipment and processes.

Electronic Controls, High Voltage Systems and HVAC (10 Credits)
Learn about the function and purpose of control systems, the tools and processes to check the operation of electronic control systems and the operation and safety processes of high voltage systems.

Brake Systems (10 Credits)
Learn about the function, purpose and location of brake systems and use appropriate tools and processes to service brake systems.

Steering and Suspension Systems (15 Credits)
Learn about the function, purpose and location of steering and suspension systems and use appropriate tools and processes to service steering and suspension systems.

Previous Related Programmes

The New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering supersedes and takes the best from the following programme of study, which is no longer offered:

  • Certificate in Automotive Engineering (Level 3)

 Student & Staff Profiles

 Learning Facilities

A fully equipped automotive workshop and access to digital learning.

 Domestic Entry Requirements

NCEA Level 1 (including 10 Literacy Credits and 10 Numeracy Credits at Level 1) 


Equivalent academic achievement


On a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Executive Dean


For more information about NCEA Credits see UCOL's NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international student applicants:

English Proficiency Entry Requirements

International student applicants whose first language is not English must have an IELTS General or Academic score of 5 with no band score lower than 5 (or equivalent including TOEFL). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (ie combining scores from more than one test is not permissible).  UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre.

Under 20 years of age
In addition to this, international applicants under 20 years of age must have NCEA equivalency.

 Advice & Guidance

A Class 1 full driver’s licence (or working towards) is recommended on entry to this programme.

Previous study in related technology areas would be an advantage.

To successfully complete this programme, students need to be aware of the physical demands required for this career pathway.

Work experience
Students engaging in UCOL directed work experience will need to complete programme course Automotive Workshop Safety beforehand.

Recognition of prior learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the appropriate form where a student believes all learning outcomes for a course have already been met. Applications will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the UCOL Academic Statute and other relavant policies and procedures.

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email (not via the online application form).

 Additional Costs

Please note that there are additional costs associated with the New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Engineering (Level 3). The following are approximate costs:

  • Steel cap boots $100 - $150
  • Cotton, long-sleeved overalls $60
  • A basic tool kit consisting of spanners, pliers, screwdrivers, hammer and socket set $300
  • External hard drive $100.00

The optional text book is May, E., & Simpson, L. (2007) Automotive Mechanics (7th revised edition, volumes 1 & 2). Australia: McGraw Hill. $120.00 each.


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) Trading as Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.