An electrician installs, maintains and repairs electrical wiring and electrical or electronic equipment.

Tasks and Duties:

  • studies and interprets wiring diagrams
  • installs and maintains electrical wiring and equipment
  • repairs or replaces faulty electrical equipment
  • services electrical machines
  • tests electrical work for safety
  • keeps records of the problems they find with electrical equipment and the servicing they carry out
  • may discuss the cost of the work with clients.


Electricians need to have good technical and problem-solving skills for diagnosing electrical problems and for installing electrical cables, equipment and fittings. They should be able to use tools for testing, repairing and replacing electrical equipment, and be skilled at making calculations and interpreting drawings. It is important that electricians have excellent communication, listening and record-keeping skills. Computer skills are also an advantage.


Electricians need to know about electrical theory and trade practices. They also need to know about electrical legislation, and codes and standards of practice. Electricians also need to have a knowledge of safe working procedures, basic first aid, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Personal Qualities:

Electricians should be accurate, practical, methodical and safety-conscious when installing and maintaining electrical wiring and equipment. They need to be quick and neat in their work, and should be self-motivated, logical and able to work well alone or in a team.

Physical Requirements:

Electricians need to have good eyesight (with or without glasses) and normal colour vision. They also need to have good hand-eye co-ordination.

Educational Requirements:

Electricians need to have at least NCEA Level 1 in English, maths, science, and graphics. NCEA Level 2 in these subjects and physics is preferred.

A pre-apprenticeship National Certificate in Electrical Engineering is recommended because it is helpful to employers if apprentices have some background knowledge of electrical theory and safety.

Entry Requirements:

A current drivers license is generally needed.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for electricians includes electrical appliance repair work, or work as an electrical engineering technician or electrical labourer.

Training on the job

Apprentices train on the job with an employer and are supervised by a registered electrician throughout their training. Their skills are assessed on the job.

To be able to apply for electrical registration with the Electrical Workers’ Registration Board, apprentices need to complete the National Certificate in Electrical Engineering and pass an electrical regulations exam.

Electricians may also attend workshops, seminars or training courses to keep up to date with the latest electrical cabling, equipment and fittings.

Work Places

Electrical workshops and on building and construction sites, or in people’s homes.


Qualified electricians usually earn between $30,000 and $50,000 depending on qualifications, skills and experience. Some earn more being self employed.

Further Information

Local electrical companies