What will I learn?

Learn how to service general automotive systems.

This qualification is designed for people who are beginning a career in the industry. You will gain the generic and industry specific skills you need to work in a range of roles in the motor industry. Upon successful completion, you will graduate as a work-ready, highly competent individual who will be able to hit the ground running from day one.

Skills required

  • The ability to work with tools and equipment
  • Sound communication and people skills
  • Alertness and adaptability
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Good memory
  • Flexibility to change.

Further study options

Continue studying at Otago Polytechnic with a managed apprenticeship at Level 4 - either the New Zealand Certificate in Light Automotive Engineering (Level 4) or New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Electrical Engineering (Level 4). This is a work-based apprenticeship programme where you will attend night classes and block courses to complete your apprenticeship.

Alternatively, you could complete your apprenticeship through the MITO Training programme.

Programme specific risks

In the Otago Polytechnic automotive engineering workshop and during your work experience, there is the risk of injury through lifting, welding, welding flashes, the use of tools, motor vehicles, fixed and portable motors, heavy equipment and any other equipment relevant to the automotive industry. There is also the hazard posed by fumes from welding and chemicals which you may be allergic to and the possibility of Occupational Overuse Syndrome through computer use.

You will study

Learn how to carry out basic automotive engine servicing, service a four stroke spark ignition engine, carry out basic automotive underbody service procedures and repair light vehicle hydraulic braking systems. Gain the fundamental electrical knowledge and servicing skills required for working with ignition systems, automotive electrical circuits, electronic fuel injection systems and automotive wiring and lighting systems and discover the engineering and welding skills required for working in the automotive industry.

Your workload

You will be expected to complete up to 30 hours of contact time at Otago Polytechnic and up to 15 hours of additional self-directed study per week; with an additional 100 hours of work experience will be required for completing as part of the programme.

Qualification structure

To be awarded the Certificate in Automotive Engineering (Level 3) you must successfully complete 120 credits with a minimum of 40 credits at Level 3.

Which department am I in?

Central Campus Otago Polytechnic

Study options

Full Time (1 year)

Tuition fees
NZ$22,120.00 (US$ 15,680) per year
Start date

Expected February 2022


Otago Polytechnic

Dunedin Campus,

Forth Street,


North Dunedin,

9016, New Zealand

Full Time (1 year)

Tuition fees
NZ$22,120.00 (US$ 15,680) per year
Start date

Expected February 2022


Central Otago Campus

Cnr Erris and Ray Streets,


9310, New Zealand

Entry requirements

For international students

Students need to achieve qualification that is equivalent to New Zealand’s NCEA levels (National Certificate of Educational Achievement).

International students will be individually assessed to ensure they have an acceptable level of secondary school achievement.

Overall Academic IELTS 5.0 with no individual band score lower than 5.0 (achieved in one test completed in the last two years), OR; TOEFL paper based test (PBT): Score of 500 (with an essay score of 4 TWE); TOEFL internet based test (IBT): Score of 35 (with a writing score of 14); Cambridge english examinations: B2 First or B2 First for Schools with a score of 154. No less than 154 in each skill; Pearson test of english (ACADEMIC): PToE (Academic) score of 36; Language Certificate: B1 Achiever IESOL (LRWS) with PASS and no less than Pass in each skill.

By early December (late applications may be accepted dependent on places)

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.