Elevator Installers and Repairers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Employers prefer to hire high school graduates who are at least 18 years of age and in good physical condition. Mechanical aptitude, an interest in machines, and some technical training related to the field are other important qualifications. While you are in high school, therefore, take such classes as machine shop, electronics, and blueprint reading. Mathematics classes will teach you to work with numbers, and applied physics courses will give you a basis for understanding the workings of this equipment. Also, take English classes to enhance your verbal and writing skills. In this work you will be interacting with a variety of people and communication skills will be a necessity.

Postsecondary Training

Union elevator installers and repairers receive their training through the National Elevator Industry Educational Program, administered on a local level by committees made up of local employers who belong to the National Elevator Industry Inc., and local branches of the International Union of Elevator Constructors. The programs consist of four years of on-the-job training under the supervision of experienced workers, together with interactive classroom instruction. In the work portion of the program, trainees begin with the simplest tasks and gradually progress to more difficult activities. In the classroom, they learn about installation procedures, basic electrical theory, electronics, and job safety.

Union trainees spend their first six months in the industry in a probationary status. Those who complete the period successfully go on to become elevator constructor helpers or assistant mechanics. After an additional four years of required field and classroom education, they become eligible to take a validated mechanic exam. Upon passing this exam, workers become fully qualified journeyman installers and repairers. They may be able to advance more quickly if they already have a good technical background, acquired by taking courses at a postsecondary technical school or junior college.

Other Education or Training

The National Association of Elevator Contractors offers seminars, workshops, and other educational sessions at its annual conference. Recent classes included Hydraulic Elevator Control Valve Training, Competing in the New Economy: Six Steps to Boost Profits, and Elevator Lighting/Ceiling Materials. Contact the association for a complete list of educational offerings.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The National Association of Elevator Contractors offers the following voluntary certifications: certified elevator technician and certified accessibility and private residence lift technician. To earn these certifications, applicants must satisfy educational or experience requirements and pass an examination. Additionally, approximately 35 states require that elevator installers and repairers pass a licensing examination. This is not true of all areas at this time, but the trend toward mandatory licensure is growing.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Six months of on-the-job experience are needed to transition from probationary status to the position of helper. Four years of training as an apprentice are required to become a journeyman elevator installer and repairer.

Elevator installers and repairers must be in good physical shape because they will periodically need to carry heavy equipment or tools (that can weigh 50–200 pounds) and work in small areas or in awkward positions. They should also enjoy learning. To be successful in this field, elevator installers and repairers must constantly update their knowledge regarding new technologies, and continuing education through seminars, workshops, or correspondence courses is a must. Elevator installers and repairers need good hand-eye coordination. These workers should not be afraid of heights or of being in confined areas since some of their work may take place in elevator shafts. Also, because elevator installers and repairers frequently work with electrical wiring and wires are typically color-coded based on their function, they need to have accurate color vision. Other important traits include strong troubleshooting skills, a detail-oriented personality, and good communication and interpersonal skills.