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In the first part of our series on how to become a professional registered electrician, we briefly touched on all the different aspects of the journey and how long it could take. The first step is to get your Wireman’s License, a process that may seem a little intimidating at first, but is actually quite straightforward. 

You will need your Wireman’s License to ensure that you operate legally in South Africa. It is a valuable piece of paper that not only affirms the hard work you put into your studies, but proves to all your potential customers that you know exactly what you are doing. With this license in your hands you will be allowed to issue a CoC (certificate of compliance) and prove your competence to test and inspect electrical installations. A Wireman’s License is not the same as your DOL registration to become an electrical contractor, that’s the next step in the journey. 

You do need to get a recognised qualification before you set off to get your Wireman’s License. The South African Qualifications Authority provides you with a complete breakdown of precisely the qualifications you need to have to, well, qualify for this certification. You can opt into doing a degree or you can attend a trade college, undergo an apprenticeship and pass a trade test to become qualified. This is typically only used by people who had qualified overseas and wanted to verify those qualifications in SA.

Want to know where and how to train? This is the list you need:

You will need to have good results in maths and science to start your electrician diploma. If you haven’t achieved amazing results, you can go to:

College SA – they provide a bridging course along with levels N1, N2 and N3 training.

Intec College – they offer N1, N2 and N3 Electrician courses

You can study at any one of South Africa’s leading universities:

Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Tshwane University of Technology

UNISA

Stellenbosch University

University of Pretoria

University of Johannesburg

North West University

University of Cape Town

Wits

You can attend TVET college and gain an electrician diploma:

Majuba

South West Gauteng Technical and Vocational Education and Training College

 The Johannesburg Institute of Engineering and Technology

The College of Cape Town

There are numerous private FET colleges where you can do the Nated level courses, universities typically do not offer Nated N courses for which you only need to achieve 40%.

There are so many different institutions and courses that can help you to become an electrician that it may seem a little overwhelming at first, however, your most important step is to ensure that it is recognised by EWSETA.

Now you need an EWSETA accredited assessor to assess you

A registered assessor will determine whether or not you are able to do the job. They will ask you to perform specific tasks and prove that you can correctly evaluate a CoC (certificate of compliance) against an existing electrical installation. This is incredibly important as only a qualified, registered electrician is able to issue a CoC and the assessor’s job is to ensure that you know what you are doing.

If EWSETA is happy with your work and you’ve passed all the relevant tests, then they will issue you with a letter that you will need to submit to the DOL as part of your application for a Wireman’s License.

According to the Department of Labour, your educational requirements need to be relevant across whichever registration you are applying for.

Know what the registrations are and how these affect your application

An electrician can register across three specific categories, each one allowing for them to work on different phases of installation with regards to electricity.

Phase 01:  A single-phase electrician who usually works on homes and electrical supplies of 220 volts. The is the most relevant one if you want to install prepaid meters.

Phase 02: Installation electrician who can handle both single and three-phase installations, but isn’t qualified for specialised installations

Phase 03: A master installation electrician who specialises in hazardous locations and specialised electrical installations.

Once you have received your ESETA Letter and achieved your qualifications, you can now submit your application for your Wireman’s License to the DOL. You can find the form right here, and a list of contacts to chat to if you need help right here. 

You will need to follow the following steps to get DOL’s attention:

  1. Have a trade qualification that includes electrician, electrical engineering, construction electrician, and other diplomas, degrees or qualifications that focus on the role of the electrician (Chemical, construction, mechanical et al).
  2. Pass the trade test, have a NQF Level 3 minimum with a Technical Senior Certificate and pass the Installation Rules Paper 1 and Paper 2 which can be written at an FET or TVET college.
  3. Documentation and certified proof of the qualification.

In our next piece, we will talk about the difference between the wireman’s license and registration with the DOL as an electrical contractor.

Be prepared to wait and use this time to keep learning and building your career

The following organisations are committed to providing you with support and insight into your DOL:

1. The Electrical Contractors Association of South Africa (ECA)
The ECA helps people to prepare what they need to get their DOL and they offer ongoing training courses to help you expand your skills.

2. The Department of Labour (DOL)
There’s an array of supporting documents on the Department of Labour’s website designed to help you learn more about your registration and the paperwork required. However, this can be out of date with the paperwork asking for one thing, but the person behind the desk asking for another. In our next article we will go into more detail around the exact route you need to take for your DOL, starting with your wireman’s license. If you are stuck, take a look through this list of contacts to see if you can get hold of someone in your area.

3. Forums and publications
There are numerous publications and forums that often provide insight into the challenges of being an electrical contractor and getting registration right. Consider reading through ESI Africa, the ECA publication Wired, and Sparks Electrical News.

4. The South African Institute of Electrical Engineers

You can find support and training insights on this site dedicated to this rewarding career.