Elevator Installers and Repairers

Career, Salary and Education Information

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What Elevator Installers and Repairers Do[About this section] [To Top]

Elevator installers and repairers install, fix, and maintain elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other lifts.

Duties of Elevator Installers and Repairers

Elevator installers and repairers typically do the following:

  • Read blueprints to determine the equipment needed for installation or repair
  • Install or repair elevator doors, cables, motors, and control systems
  • Locate malfunctions in brakes, motors, switches, and control systems
  • Connect electrical wiring to control panels and electric motors
  • Use test equipment, such as ammeters and voltmeters, to diagnose problems
  • Adjust counterweights, door mechanisms, and safety controls
  • Test newly installed equipment to ensure that it meets specifications
  • Ensure elevator compliance with safety regulations and building codes
  • Keep service records of all maintenance and repair tasks

Elevator installers and repairers, also called elevator constructors or elevator mechanics, assemble, install, maintain, and replace elevators, escalators, chairlifts, moving walkways, and similar equipment in buildings.

Elevator installers and repairers usually specialize in installation, maintenance, or repair work. Maintenance and repair workers generally require greater knowledge of electronics, hydraulics, and electricity than do installers because a large part of maintenance and repair work is troubleshooting. Today, most elevators have computerized control systems, resulting in more complex systems and troubleshooting than in the past.

After an elevator is installed, elevator installers and repairers must regularly maintain and service it to keep the elevator working properly. Workers generally perform preventive maintenance, such as oiling and greasing moving parts, replacing worn parts, and adjusting equipment for optimal performance. They also troubleshoot and may be called to perform emergency repairs. Workers who specialize in elevator maintenance typically service many of the same elevators on multiple occasions over time.

A service crew usually handles major repairs—for example, replacing cables, elevator doors, or machine bearings. These tasks may require the use of cutting torches or rigging equipment—tools that an elevator repairer would not normally carry. Service crews also perform major modernization and alteration work, such as replacing electric motors, hydraulic pumps, and control panels.

The following are examples of types of elevator installers and repairers:

Adjusters specialize in fine-tuning all the equipment after installation. They ensure that an elevator operates according to specifications and stops correctly at each floor within a specified time. Adjusters need a thorough knowledge of electronics and computers to ensure that newly installed elevators operate properly.

Assistant mechanics have completed a 4-year apprenticeship program, and although they are fully trained, they typically work under the guidance of a more experienced mechanic.

Work Environment for Elevator Installers and Repairers[About this section] [To Top]

Elevator installers and repairers hold about 20,700 jobs, of which 89 percent are in the building equipment contractors industry. In contrast to other construction trades, few elevator installers and repairers are self-employed.

Elevator installers and repairers often work in cramped quarters inside crawl spaces and machine rooms, and may be exposed to heights in elevator shafts.

Although installation and major repairs require mechanics to work in teams, workers often work alone when troubleshooting minor problems.

Injuries and Illnesses

Elevator installers and repairers may suffer falls from ladders, burns due to electrical shocks, and muscle strains from lifting and carrying heavy equipment. As a result, workers must take precaution and wear protective equipment such as hard hats, harnesses, and safety glasses.

Elevator Installer and Repairer Work Schedules

Almost all elevator installers and repairers work full time. They often work overtime when emergency repairs need to be made or construction deadlines need to be met. Workers may sometimes be on call 24 hours a day.

How to Become an Elevator Installer or Repairer[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Elevator Installers and Repairers near you!

Nearly all elevator installers and repairers learn through an apprenticeship. Currently, 35 states require workers to be licensed.

Elevator Installer and Repairer Education

A high school diploma or equivalent is required. High school classes in math, mechanical drawing, and shop may help applicants compete for apprenticeship openings.

Elevator Installer and Repairer Training

Elevator installers and repairers learn their trade through a 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must have at least 144 hours of related technical instruction and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. During training, apprentices learn about safety, blueprint reading, elevator and escalator parts, electrical theory, and electronics.

Unions and individual contractors offer apprenticeship programs. The basic qualifications to enter an apprenticeship program are the following:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Be physically able to do the job
  • Pass basic math, reading, and mechanical aptitude tests

When they finish the apprenticeship program, elevator installers and repairers are fully trained and become mechanics or assistant mechanics. Ongoing training is important for elevator installers and repairers in order to keep up with technological developments throughout their careers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Currently, 35 states require elevator installers and repairers to be licensed. Check with your state’s individual licensing agencies for specific requirements.

Although not required, certification can show competence and proficiency in the field. The National Association of Elevator Contractors offers two certification programs for elevator installers and repairers:

  • Certified Elevator Technician
  • Certified Accessibility and Private Residence Lift Technician

Advancement for Elevator Installers and Repairers

Some installers may receive additional training in specialized areas and advance to become a mechanic-in-charge, adjuster, supervisor, or elevator inspector.

Important Qualities for Elevator Installers and Repairers

Detail oriented. Elevator installers must keep accurate records of their service schedules. These records are used to schedule future maintenance, which often helps reduce breakdowns.

Mechanical skills. Elevator installers use a variety of power tools and hand tools to install and repair lifts. Escalators, for example, run on tracks that must be installed using wrenches and screwdrivers.

Physical stamina. Elevators installers must be able to perform strenuous work, especially in cramped and confined spaces, for long periods.

Physical strength. Elevator installers often lift heavy equipment and parts, including escalator steps, conduit, and metal tracks. Some apprentices must be able to lift 100 pounds to participate in a program.

Troubleshooting skills. Elevator installers and repairers must be able to diagnose and repair problems. When an escalator stops moving, for example, mechanics determine why it stopped and make the necessary repairs.

Elevator Installer and Repairer Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for elevator installers and repairers is $80,870. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $40,140, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $111,370.

The starting pay for apprentices is usually 50 percent of what fully trained elevator installers and repairers make. They earn pay increases as they progress in their apprenticeship. Apprentices who are also certified welders usually receive higher wages while welding. Assistant mechanics, by contract, receive 80 percent of the rate paid to journeyman elevator installers and repairers.

Almost all elevator installers and repairers work full time. They often work overtime when emergency repairs need to be made or construction deadlines need to be met. Workers may sometimes be on call 24 hours a day.

Union Membership

Most elevator installers and repairers belong to a union. Although no single union covers all elevator installers and repairers, the largest organizer of these workers is the International Union of Elevator Constructors.

Job Outlook for Elevator Installers and Repairers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of elevator installers and repairers is projected to grow 13 percent through 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.

Demand for these workers will depend on growth of nonresidential construction, such as office buildings and stores that have elevators and escalators. This sector of the construction industry is expected to grow rapidly during the next decade as the economy rebounds from the recent recession.

In addition, the need to regularly maintain, update, and repair old equipment; provide access to the disabled; and install increasingly sophisticated equipment and controls will maintain demand for elevator installers and repairers.

Elevator Installers and Repairers Job Prospects

The high wages of elevator installers and repairers will attract many applicants, and jobseekers may face strong competition.

Job opportunities for entry-level workers should be best for those who have postsecondary education in electronics or who are military veterans.

Elevators, escalators, lifts, moving walkways, and related equipment need to work year round, so employment of elevator repairers is less affected by economic downturns and seasonality than employment in other construction occupations.

Employment projections data for Elevator Installers and Repairers, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Elevator installers and repairers 20,700 23,400 13 2,700

*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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