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New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory

New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory

Level 3

UCOL’s New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory is a one-year full-time pre-apprenticeship programme with a practical focus that will help get your career started as an electrician or other roles in the electrical industry.

A photograph of two students working on electrical equipment in a workshop
Quick info

Level: 3

Locations: UCOL Manawatū in Palmerston North

Duration: 1 year, full-time

28 Feb 2022 - 02 Dec 2022

Domestic Fees: *
Eligible for fees-free until 31 Dec 2022Scholarship 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.

The New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory is one of two entry pathways into the electrical industry and is intended for candidates who do not have an electrical apprenticeship agreement.


This programme is eligible for fees-free study under the Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund.

You don’t need to apply to access the fund - just enrol in an eligible programme, and the TTAF process will take care of the fees until 31 December 2022.

Please contact the info centre for more details.

 Career & Study Outcomes

Education pathway

This qualification provides a pathway to further tertiary study at certificate or diploma level, including UCOL's New Zealand Diploma in Engineering.

Career pathway

Graduates of this qualification will, in the context of the wider electrical industry and under supervision and in a controlled environment, be able to:

  • Apply fundamental knowledge and principles of electrical theory and practice, including electrical protection, to the installation and maintenance of electrical systems and equipment.
  • Apply fundamental knowledge of fault diagnosis and testing techniques of electrical systems and equipment.
  • Apply safe working procedures and practices, and identify and report electrical and other hazards.
  • Ensure their own activities are within legal limitations of the electrical legislation.
  • Apply fundamental knowledge and principles to the installation and maintenance of electrical machines.
  • Apply fundamental knowledge and principles to the installation and maintenance of electrical equipment in special electrical situations.
  • Work ethically and professionally within the electrical industry, as an electrical apprentice, including maintaining current competency and communicating with stakeholders on electrical and related matters.

Graduates of this qualification will be equipped with the skills, knowledge, and attributes to work in apprenticeships in the electrical industry in the field of their choice with guidance, mentoring, and supervision in accordance with the Electricity Act 1992. Examples of roles that this qualification may lead to are: 

  • Electricity Supply Electrical Apprentice
  • Domestic/Commercial Electrical Apprentice
  • Industrial Electrical Apprentice
  • An apprenticeship another electrical related sector.

Graduates may also be able to work in areas such as electrical wholesaling or retailing as a counter sales person, or electrical meter readers. To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries, see Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Occupation Outlook for Electricians.

 Course Information

This programme comprises 120 credits.

Electrical Work Practices (15 Credits)
Apply fundamental knowledge and principles of electrical theory and practice, including safe plant isolation and associated electrical testing procedures. Learn about electrical workplace health and safety, and employment rights and responsibilities. Achieve a basic first aid and CPR certificate

DC Fundamentals (15 Credits)
Learn about conductors, insulators, and resistance in electrical circuits. Apply electromagnetic theory to a range of problems. Explain battery care and maintenance.

Installation Fundamentals (15 Credits)
Demonstrate knowledge of AC, cables and cords and their installation, and associated testing practices. Learn about electrical protection, and perform testing of electrical installations under supervision.

Electrical Applications (15 Credits)
Apply knowledge of electrical fittings and fixtures and their installation in line with specifications. Learn about electric lighting, lighting terms, lighting installation, and safe disposal requirements. Also gain knowledge of single-phase transformer construction, operating principles, safety requirements, and applications.

Electricity Systems (15 Credits)
Apply knowledge of inductance, capacitance, power factor, and power factor calculations. Learn about electronics, and gain knowledge of generator construction, operation, and single-phase theory.

Electrical Supply and Distribution (15 Credits)
Gain understanding of the fundamentals of the New Zealand electricity supply system and devices used to ensure the safety and protection of users and installations.

Circuit Design and Operation (15 Credits)
Understand the theory and application of electrical diagrams in terms of circuit design and lighting installations.

Electrical Machines (15 Credits)
Understand the theory and application of electrical machine protection, fault diagnosis, special power supplies and rotating machines.

Previous Related Programmes

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

  • Certificate in Electrical and Related Trades (Pre-Employment) Level 2

 Industry Connections

UCOL staff have strong links to the electrical industry and the programme is supported by local electrical contractors so that graduates of this programme are work ready.

 Learning Facilities

Modern electrical laboratories that meet all industry standards.

 Domestic Entry Requirements

NCEA Level 1, 10 Credits in each of Mathematics, English, and Physics or General Science;


Equivalent academic achievement or work experience. Feel free to contact UCOL and arrange a conversation.


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 - UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre). IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form (i.e. combining scores from more than one test is not permissible).

Under 20 years of age
For international applicants under 20 years of age who do not hold NCEA, International Academic Qualifications Entry Criteria apply.

 Advice & Guidance

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 Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student believes all learning outcomes for a course or unit standards have already been met.

Work experience
While work experience is not a requirement for this programme, it is an advantage if students have some practical experience while completing their study.

Before students are awarded with this qualification they must pass the one credit unit standard 29484, to demonstrate knowledge of theory and practice for electrical workers.  There is an exam for this unit, which is set by the Industry Training Organisation.  The exam covers all aspects of the programme and students must gain 60% to achieve a Pass.

Your personalised timetable will be available just prior to classes starting, and will comprise a weekly commitment of:

  • 22 hours of theory and practical classes
  • 14 hours of self-directed learning (your own time spent on research; study for tests and exams; writing assignments; on-line work (as applicable) and work experience (voluntary) where you can develop a portfolio of learning.)

The programme generally runs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8am - 5pm, except for the first week, on which it runs Monday to Thursday.

Work experience
While work experience is not a requirement for this programme, it is an advantage if you have some practical experience while completing their study.

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.

 Additional Costs

There are additional costs associated with the New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory as follows:

The following can be printed from Legislation New Zealand's website:


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.