How To Train To Become an Auto Electrician

10/26/2021

Key Points

  • Automotive electricians specialize in installing and maintaining wiring and electrical systems in vehicles.
  • They can work on various electronic components in a car, including ignition systems, gauges, air conditioning, alarms, sound systems, lights, brakes and more.
  • Job duties of an auto electrician include installing wiring systems, diagnosing issues with electrical components and communicating with customers regarding repairs.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for automotive service technicians and mechanics in the United States was $47,770 in May 2023.25
  • To become an automotive electrician, it is important to have a high school diploma or GED and get hands-on training through trade school programs like the Automotive Technology program at Universal Technical Institute (UTI).1,18

There are many opportunities in the automotive industry for technicians who have the right education and experience. One specialization an auto tech might pursue is the role of an automotive electrician.

An auto electrician, also known as a car electrician, knows how to install and maintain wiring and electrical systems in a variety of vehicles. Electronics are present in many parts of a car, from the various lighting components to the ignition and transmission systems.

If working as an auto electrician sounds interesting, keep reading to find out more about the job outlook, responsibilities and more!

Automotive Electrician Job Description

Automotive electricians have specialized knowledge to make repairs on vehicles’ electrical circuits and wiring.

What do auto electricians fix? They can work on any systems that feature electronic components, including:

Repairing and maintaining these parts and systems can fill the day of an auto electrician. Job duties can include:

  • Installing new wiring systems.
  • Utilizing special instruments and tools to inspect electrical systems.
  • Diagnosing issues with electrical components.
  • Operating voltage and current meters.
  • Testing headlight alignment.
  • Completing reports.
  • Communicating with customers regarding issues and ETAs for repairs.

These are just a few of the daily tasks an auto electrician might handle, though they can vary given the amount of complex electrical equipment today’s vehicles feature.

Auto Electrician Salary and Job Outlook

When considering whether to pursue a career path, it can help to research possible salary ranges and get a general job outlook for the industry. Those who end up working as automotive electricians often start as entry-level automotive service technicians to gain knowledge of different vehicle systems.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a great resource for gauging the outlook and salary of different positions. While there is no BLS data available specifically for automotive electricians, the BLS does offer insight into automotive technicians and related roles.

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for automotive service technicians and mechanics in the United States was $47,770 in May 2023.25 This means half of automotive technicians earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary depends on several factors, including experience, employer, demand and cost of living in the area.

There’s a real demand for skilled trade professionals, making starting on the path to becoming an auto electrician exciting. In fact, there are more than 67,000 estimated average annual automotive job openings available in the U.S.41

Auto Electrician Skills

Auto electricians are professionals with unique skills, including: 

  • Problem-solving.
  • Attention to detail. 
  • Troubleshooting.
  • Wiring installation and repair.
  • Fault detection. 
  • Diagram reading. 
  • AC component installation. 
  • Safety awareness. 
  • Lighting. 
  • Blueprint reading.
  • Technical diagram interpretation.
  • Diagnosis. 

Most auto electricians start as technicians and work their way up, cultivating these skills over time. If you want to pursue a car electrician career, your first step may be automotive technician school.  

UTI’s Automotive Technology program includes auto electrician courses that can help build the foundation needed. We dive into electronic automatic transmissions, electronic control system faults, brake electrical systems, anti-lock braking systems and electronic climate control systems.

Our program even includes Electronic Diagnostics and Electronic Technology classes, where we teach skills required to service late-model vehicles. Students practice: 

  • Reading voltage with a digital multimeter.
  • Reading wiring diagrams.
  • Building test circuits. 
  • Performing electrical tests. 
  • Troubleshooting electrical systems. 

Automotive Electrician FAQs

Are there any specialized areas within auto electric work, such as hybrid or electric vehicle systems? 

Yes, these specializations include advanced responsibilities surrounding high-voltage systems, battery technologies and electric drivetrain components, reflecting the automotive industry's shift toward more sustainable technologies.

Our campus in Mooresville, North Carolina, includes an auto hybrid and service advising course, and electric vehicle training is offered at our campuses in California!! 

Are there specific certifications needed to work as an auto electrician

Certifications required will vary by employer and state laws, but Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification is always a good place to start. ASE is an industry-standard credential that validates professionalism, trustworthiness and expertise, and UTI graduates can substitute their training for one of the two years required to test for it!  

How long does auto electrician training take? 

The time it takes to become an auto electrician depends on the educational path chosen. Completing an automotive technician training program is likely quicker than on-the-job training because it can prepare graduates for apprenticeships or entry-level positions, where they can develop further proficiency and gain more insight into the specialized certifications required.

Get Training in UTI’s Automotive Technology Program

If the role of an automotive electrician sounds like it would be a good fit for you, getting hands-on training at a trade school can be a great first step.18 Applying to UTI’s Automotive Technology program which includes auto electrician courses can help get you started toward a future you’re excited about.

Students can graduate from the program in less than a year and be ready to apply for entry-level jobs in the workforce.7 To find out more, request more information today!

UTI Campuses That Offer Automotive Technician Training

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1 ) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2 ) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.
7 ) Some programs may require longer than one year to complete.
18 ) UTI now offers all of its automotive, diesel, motorcycle and marine technician training in a blended-learning format consisting of online lecture courses along with in-person, hands-on lab training.
25 ) UTI’s Automotive Technology Program prepares graduates for entry-level positions using the provided training, primarily as automotive technicians. Estimated annual salary shown above is for Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2023 Occupational Employment and Wages. Entry-level salaries are lower for UTI graduates. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on economic factors, personal credentials, work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer, and their compensation programs. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as an automotive technician, such as service writer, smog inspector, and parts associate. Salary information for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: The average annual entry-level salary for persons employed as Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics (49-3023) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is $36,730 (Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, May 2022 data https://lmi.dua.eol.mass.gov/lmi/OccupationalEmploymentAndWageAllIndustries/OEWResult?A=01&GA=000025&OG=493023&Dopt=TEXT) Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled automotive technicians in North Carolina is $22.39 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2023 Occupational Employment and Wages, Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics). The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish entry-level salary data. However, the 25th and 10th percentile of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $16.63 and $14.06, respectively.
41 ) For Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an annual average of 67,700 job openings between 2022 and 2032. Job openings include openings due to net employment changes and net replacements. See  Table 1.10 Occupational separations and openings, projected 2022-32, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, viewed November 16, 2023. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

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