Auto electricians are tradespeople who are trained to track down electrical shorts and loose wires, find damaged electrical equipment and identify potential electrical hazards in cars and trucks. Job opportunities in this portion of the automotive industry include both the repair and maintenance of already installed electrical components or the installation of new electrical systems. Because many modern cars use computer-controlled electrical components, auto electricians must be trained in the electrical intricacies of each manufacturer's automobiles.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Enrol in a trade or vocational school that offers automotive courses. Receive a basic education in automotive repair, study standard electrical repair procedures and learn about the role electrical systems play in a car's operation. Look for schools bearing the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) accreditation logos. These organisations evaluate automotive training programs against automotive industry standards (see Resources).
Obtain an automotive repair job and gain practical experience in car electrical systems. A hands-on apprenticeship or mechanic's assistant job can provide practical work experience for a electrical mechanic. Contact local auto repair garages and businesses and ask about open positions. Working on your own cars or those of family and friends can add to your auto electrical knowledge, too.
Get educated about specific automaker's electrical systems. Auto manufacturers will train mechanics on the details of their car's electrical system. An MSAT (Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training) program is a series of classes taught through an institution such as Universal Technical Institute (UTI). UTI enrols students in programs from a wide range of manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche.
Apprentice with a knowledgeable mechanic. Contact local independent mechanics who specialise in electrical repairs for a variety of car manufacturers and ask to apprentice. Automotive electrical experts are treasure troves of valuable information on electrical repairs and can provide information that a classroom education cannot.
Study on your own. Purchase, read and consult service manuals for the various makes and models of cars in which you wish to specialise. Service and technical manuals can be found at online auctions, bookstores and from manufacturers, and also may be available at your local library.
Tips and warnings
- Certification can establish credibility with your customers. A basic mechanics certificate can be obtained through the ASE certification program. Successfully completing an MSAT programme will result in a certification.
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