Elevator Installers and Repairers


Quick Facts: Elevator Installers and Repairers
2017 Median Pay $79,480 per year 
$38.21 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Apprenticeship
Number of Jobs, 2016 22,100
Job Outlook, 2016-26 12% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2016-26 2,700

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Elevator Installers and Repairers Career, Salary and Education Information

What Elevator Installers and Repairers Do

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

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elevator installers and repairers

Duties of elevator installers and repairers

Elevator installers and repairers typically do the following:

  • Read and interpret blueprints to determine the layout of system components and to select the equipment needed for installation or repair

  • Assemble elevator cars, installing each car’s platform, walls, and doors

  • Connect electrical wiring to control panels and electric motors

  • Test newly installed equipment to ensure that it meets specifications

  • Troubleshoot malfunctions in brakes, motors, switches, and control systems

  • Dismantle elevator or escalator units in order to gain access to remove and replace defective parts, using hoists, ladders, and hand/power tools

  • Repair and/or replace faulty components in order to return elevator to fully operational status

  • Conduct preventive maintenance and inspections of elevators and escalators on a scheduled basis to ensure 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. Most elevators have computerized control systems, resulting in more complex systems and troubleshooting than in the past.

After an elevator is installed, workers must regularly maintain and service it to keep the elevator working properly. They 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.


Work Environment for Elevator Installers and Repairers

Elevator installers and repairers held about 22,100 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of elevator installers and repairers were as follows:

Building equipment contractors: 90%

Government: 3%

Educational services; state, local, and private: 1%

Elevator installers and repairers have a physically demanding job. They sit or stand for extensive periods, lift items that can weigh 50–200 pounds, work in cramped quarters inside crawl spaces and machine rooms, and may be exposed to heights in elevator shafts. They also work in dusty and dirty places with oily and greasy equipment in hot or cold environments.

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

Work Schedules for elevator installers and repairers

Almost all elevator installers and repairers worked full time in 2016. They may 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 and Repairers

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

Education

High school classes in math, mechanical drawing, and shop may help applicants compete for apprenticeship openings.

Training

A career in elevator installation and repair typically begins with a 4-year apprenticeship program sponsored by a union, industry association, or individual contractor. For each year of the program, apprentices typically receive at least 144 hours of technical instruction and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. During training, apprentices learn about safety, blueprint reading, mathematics, applied physics, elevator and escalator parts, electrical and digital theory, and electronics.

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 for more information.

Although not required, certification can show competence and proficiency in the field.

Elevator installers and repairers can become certified as Certified Elevator Technicians (CET) or Certified Accessibility and Private Residence Lift Technicians (CAT) through the National Association of Elevator Contractors. They can also be certified as Qualified Elevator Inspectors (QEI) through the National Association of Elevator Safety Authorities.

Advancement

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

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Elevator installers must keep accurate records of their service schedules. These records are used to schedule future maintenance, which 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 in order to participate in a training 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.


salaries for Elevator Installers and Repairers 

The median annual wage for elevator installers and repairers was $79,480 in May 2017. 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 $38,630, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $115,880.

 

In May 2017, the median annual wages for elevator installers and repairers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Government: $94,030

Building equipment contractors: $79,030

Educational services; state, local, and private: $64,200

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.


Job Outlook for elevator installers and repairers

Employment of elevator installers and repairers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.Demand for these workers is closely tied to nonresidential construction, such as office buildings and stores that have elevators and escalators, and this type of construction is expected to increase during the next decade. In addition, the need to regularly maintain, update, and repair old equipment; provide access for the disabled; and install increasingly sophisticated equipment and controls will maintain demand for elevator installers and repairers.

Job Prospects for elevator installers and repairers

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.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, 2016-26

Employment, 2016: 22,100

Projected Employment, 2026: 24,800

Change, 2016-2026: +12%, +2,700


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OccupationENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION2017 MEDIAN PAY
BoilermakersHigh school diploma or equivalent$62,260
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ElectriciansHigh school diploma or equivalent$54,110
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IronworkersHigh school diploma or equivalent$51,320
Sheet Metal WorkersHigh school diploma or equivalent$47,990
Wind Turbine TechniciansPostsecondary nondegree award$53,880

Citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Elevator Installers and Repairers,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/elevator-installers-and-repairers.htm