You can become an automotive electrician by working as an auto mechanic and specializing in electrical systems through a combination of coursework and on-the-job training. Automotive electrical work is a specialized field that requires knowledge of many diverse vehicle systems and setups. Systems knowledge is obtained through study, practice, and research. An individual who becomes an automotive electrician often decides to focus on a particular type of make or model of car. Car dealerships, mechanic shops, and businesses who need to maintain a large fleet of vehicles all employ automotive electricians.
Automotive electrical repair is not typically the first step for someone interested in a career as a mechanic because of the knowledge and skill level it requires. Vocational training is the best way to prepare to apply for a general mechanic position. Classes can be taken as early as high school, and many schools offer some form of auto shop as an elective or extracurricular activity. Graduating high school is also generally necessary to obtain any kind of auto repair position. Even if it is possible to get a job in auto repair without a high school degree, advancement to become an automotive electrician may be quicker to those who hold a diploma.
After high school, community colleges and vocational schools have classes in basic and advanced automobile repair, including training in electrical maintenance. It is important for anyone aspiring to become an automotive electrician to learn about circuits and electrical system properties while enrolled in school. Once a foundation is established, specialized classes in automobile electrical systems can be undertaken. Classes at a trade school or community college can be taken while you work part-time in an entry level position at an auto repair shop. Beginning jobs will allow you to gain experience at a company, putting you in good standing to move up to electrical repair once you have completed any necessary coursework.
Higher education classes in automotive electrical repair can improve your chances of acquiring a job in the field, but they may not always be necessary depending on the level of on-the-job training you are able to receive at your place of employment. Some businesses offer training programs as part of their employment package and will guide you on the path to become an automotive electrician through experience and mentoring. Trade school automotive electrical repair programs may also be directly linked to certain employers to whom they funnel successful graduates.