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What Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers Do About this section

Elevator installers and repairers
Mechanics check many parts, including the rails of an escalator.

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

Duties

Elevator and escalator 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 and components for similar systems
  • Connect electrical wiring to control panels and motors
  • Test newly installed equipment to ensure that it meets specifications
  • Troubleshoot malfunctions in brakes, motors, switches, and control systems
  • Dismantle elevator, escalator, or similar units to remove and replace defective parts, using hoists, ladders, and handtools or power tools
  • Repair or replace faulty components in order to return elevator or escalator to fully operational status
  • Conduct preventive maintenance and inspections of elevators, escalators, and similar equipment to comply with safety regulations and building codes
  • Keep service records of all maintenance and repair tasks

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

Elevator and escalator installers and repairers usually specialize in installation, maintenance, or repair work. Maintenance and repair workers generally need to know more about electronics, hydraulics, and electricity than do installers. Most elevators and similar mechanisms have computerized control systems, requiring maintenance and repair workers to do complex troubleshooting.

After an elevator, escalator, or other equipment is installed, workers must regularly maintain and repair it. Maintenance includes oiling and greasing moving parts, replacing worn parts, and adjusting equipment for optimal performance. Workers also troubleshoot and may be called for emergency repair.

A service crew usually handles major repairs—for example, replacing cables, doors and other components, or machine bearings. Service crews may need to use cutting torches or rigging equipment and also may need to do major modernization and alteration, such as replacing electric motors, hydraulic pumps, and control panels.

Work Environment About this section

Elevator installers and repairers
Elevator mechanics also work on chair lifts.

Elevator installers and repairers held about 28,900 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of elevator installers and repairers were as follows:

Building equipment contractors 86%
Government 2
Educational services; state, local, and private 1

Elevator and escalator installation and repair work is usually physically demanding. These workers may sit or stand for extensive periods, lift items that weigh up to 200 pounds, and work in cramped areas inside crawl spaces and machine rooms. They also may work at heights in elevator shafts, in dusty and dirty places with oily and greasy equipment, and in hot or cold environments.

Injuries and Illnesses

Elevator and escalator installers and repairers may suffer injuries from falls, burns from electrical shocks, and muscle strains from lifting and carrying heavy equipment. To reduce their risks and prevent injury, workers must wear protective equipment such as hardhats, harnesses, and safety glasses.

Work Schedules

Most elevator and escalator installers and repairers work full time. They may work overtime to make emergency repairs or to meet construction deadlines. They may be on call 24 hours a day.

How to Become an Elevator or Escalator Installer and Repairer About this section

Elevator installers and repairers
The fine tuning of an elevator is done by an adjustor.

Elevator and escalator installers and repairers typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. Nearly all learn how to do the work through an apprenticeship. Most states require workers to be licensed.

Education

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required. High school classes in math, mechanical drawing, and physics may be helpful.

Training

A career in elevator or escalator installation and repair typically begins with a 4-year apprenticeship program sponsored by a union, industry association, or employer. For each year of a typical program, apprentices must complete a predetermined number of hours of technical instruction and 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.

When they finish the apprenticeship program, fully trained elevator and escalator installers and repairers become mechanics or assistant mechanics. Elevator and escalator installers and repairers need ongoing training in order to keep up with technological developments.

Workers with relevant experience who can document it and demonstrate their skill may qualify for a shorter apprenticeship. 

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states require elevator and escalator installers and repairers to be licensed. Check with your state for more information.

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

Elevator and escalator installers and repairers can become 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 International.

Employers may require elevator and escalator installers to have a driver’s license or reliable transportation to travel to jobsites.

Advancement

Installers may receive additional training to specialize and advance to become a mechanic-in-charge, adjuster, or supervisor.

Important Qualities

Ability to work at heights. Some elevator and escalator installers may have to work atop ladders, mechanical lifts, or in elevator shafts. 

Detail oriented. Elevator and escalator installers must keep accurate records of their service schedules. They need to carefully review complex blueprints and follow blueprint instructions exactly.

Mechanical skills. Elevator and escalator installers use a variety of power tools and handtools to install and repair lifts.

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

Physical strength. Elevator and escalator installers often lift heavy equipment and parts, including escalator steps, conduit, and metal tracks. They may be required to lift equipment weighing up to 200 pounds.

Troubleshooting skills. Elevator and escalator installers must be able to diagnose problems, especially when making repairs.

Pay About this section

Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers

Median annual wages, May 2019

Elevator and escalator installers and repairers

$84,990

Other construction and related workers

$46,510

Total, all occupations

$39,810

 

The median annual wage for elevator and escalator installers and repairers was $84,990 in May 2019. 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 $44,620, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $124,150.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for elevator installers and repairers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Government $93,110
Building equipment contractors 84,140
Educational services; state, local, and private 74,820

The starting pay for apprentices is usually about 50 percent of what fully trained elevator and escalator 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.

Most elevator and escalator installers and repairers work full time. They may work overtime to make emergency repairs or to meet construction deadlines. Workers may be on call 24 hours a day.

Job Outlook About this section

Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Elevator and escalator installers and repairers

7%

Other construction and related workers

5%

Total, all occupations

4%

 

Employment of elevator and escalator installers and repairers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, 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 and escalator installers and repairers.

Job Prospects

About 3,000 openings for elevator and escalator and escalator installers and repairers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

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 and escalator repairers is less affected by economic downturns and seasonality than employment in other construction occupations.

Employment projections data for elevator and escalator installers and repairers, 2019-29
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Elevator and escalator installers and repairers

47-4021 28,900 30,800 7 1,900 Get data

Contacts for More Information About this section

For information about apprenticeships or job opportunities as an elevator and escalator installer or repairer, contact local elevator and escalator contractors, a local chapter of the International Union of Elevator Constructors, a local joint union–management apprenticeship committee, or the nearest office of your state employment service or apprenticeship agency. Apprenticeship information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship program online or by phone at 877-872-5627. Visit Apprenticeship.gov to search for apprenticeship opportunities.

For more information about elevator installers and repairers, visit

International Union of Elevator Constructors

National Elevator Industry Educational Program

For more information about the NAEC Apprenticeship Program, the Certified Elevator Technician program, or the Certified Accessibility and Private Residence Lift Technician program, visit

National Association of Elevator Contractors 

For more information about certification as a Qualified Elevator Inspector, visit

National Association of Elevator Safety Authorities International

For information about opportunities for military veterans, visit:

Helmets to Hard Hats

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Elevator Installers and Repairers

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