How to Become an Elevator Installer and Repairer
The fine tuning of an elevator is done by an adjustor.
Nearly all elevator installers and repairers learn through an apprenticeship. Currently, 35 states require workers to be licensed.
High school classes in math, mechanical drawing, and shop may help applicants compete for apprenticeship openings.
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.
Some installers may receive additional training in specialized areas and advance to become a mechanic-in-charge, adjuster, supervisor, or elevator inspector.
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.