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Auto electrician

Auto electricians fit and repair the electrics in motor vehicles.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,000 to £35,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need 4 GCSEs (A* to C).

You could:

  • do a vehicle maintenance and repair college course that also covers auto electrical work
  • get into this career through an apprenticeship
You may need a driving licence that includes LGV (lorries) or PCV (buses), if you work with these vehicles.

Autocity has more information about becoming an auto electrician.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • practical skills
  • the ability to work methodically and pay close attention to detail
  • problem-solving skills
  • the ability to read electrical wiring diagrams

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • taking readings, using a laptop or hand-held device connected to an engine's electronic control unit
  • checking and testing wiring and parts in older vehicles using portable instruments
  • using readings to find faults
  • researching faults, using manufacturers' circuit diagrams and manuals
  • repairing or replacing faulty parts
  • retesting the system to make sure everything is working correctly and safely (this may include road testing the vehicle)
  • filling out a repair sheet listing the work you have done

You’ll work with a variety of electronic systems including:

  • ignitions, alarms, immobilisers and tracking devices
  • electric windows, mirrors and seats, towbar electrics and air-conditioning
  • customised LED or neon lighting kits, parking warning systems and reversing cameras
You’ll also deal with in-car phones, TV, and audio and DVD players. 

You could specialise in light vehicles (cars, vans and motorcycles), heavy vehicles (lorries, buses and coaches), or one particular vehicle model if you work for a motor manufacturer.

4. Salary

Starter: £15,000 to £18,500

Experienced: £18,500 to £29,000

Highly Experienced: up to £35,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. 

You might have to work shifts or be on-call.

You’ll be based in a garage or workshop. If your job includes call-out duties, you’ll also work outside in all weather conditions.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to be a supervisor or manager, or move into vehicle sales or marketing.

You could also set up your own business.

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Last updated: 14 December 2016