Elevator Installers and Repairers

Summary

elevator installers and repairers image
Elevator mechanics often work in elevator machine rooms, which are at the top of some elevator hoistways.
Quick Facts: Elevator Installers and Repairers
2015 Median Pay $80,870 per year
$38.88 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, 2014 20,700
Job Outlook, 2014-24 13% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 2,700

What Elevator Installers and Repairers Do

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

Work Environment

Elevator installers and repairers often work in cramped quarters inside crawl spaces and machine rooms, and may be exposed to heights in elevator shafts. Repairers may be required to work overtime when essential equipment needs repair and are sometimes on call 24 hours a day.

How to Become an Elevator Installer and Repairer

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

Pay

The median annual wage for elevator installers and repairers was $80,870 in May 2015.

Job Outlook

Employment of elevator installers and repairers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. New installation and maintenance of elevators and escalators in stores and residential and commercial buildings is expected to spur demand for workers.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for elevator installers and repairers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of elevator installers and repairers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about elevator installers and repairers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Elevator Installers and Repairers Do About this section

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

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

Duties

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 About this section

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

Elevator installers and repairers held about 20,700 jobs in 2014, of which 89 percent were 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.

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 and Repairer About this section

Elevator installers and repairers
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.

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.

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

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 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.

Pay About this section

Elevator Installers and Repairers

Median annual wages, May 2015

Elevator installers and repairers

$80,870

Construction and extraction occupations

$42,280

Total, all occupations

$36,200

 

The median annual wage for elevator installers and repairers was $80,870 in May 2015. 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 belonged to a union in 2014. 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 About this section

Elevator Installers and Repairers

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Elevator installers and repairers

13%

Construction and extraction occupations

10%

Total, all occupations

7%

 

Employment of elevator installers and repairers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2014 to 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. 

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 SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Elevator installers and repairers

47-4021 20,700 23,400 13 2,700 [XLSX]

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of elevator installers and repairers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2015 MEDIAN PAY Help
Boilermakers

Boilermakers

Boilermakers assemble, install, and repair boilers, closed vats, and other large vessels or containers that hold liquids and gases.

High school diploma or equivalent $60,120
Electrical and electronics installers and repairers

Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers install or repair a variety of electrical equipment in telecommunications, transportation, utilities, and other industries.

Postsecondary nondegree award $55,160
Electricians

Electricians

Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and factories.

High school diploma or equivalent $51,880
Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers

Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Machinery Maintenance Workers, and Millwrights

Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers maintain and repair factory equipment and other industrial machinery, such as conveying systems, production machinery, and packaging equipment. Millwrights install, dismantle, repair, reassemble, and move machinery in factories, power plants, and construction sites.

High school diploma or equivalent $48,410
Structural iron and steel workers

Ironworkers

Ironworkers install structural and reinforcing iron and steel to form and support buildings, bridges, and roads.

High school diploma or equivalent $49,970
Sheet metal workers

Sheet Metal Workers

Sheet metal workers fabricate or install products that are made from thin metal sheets, such as ducts used in heating and air conditioning systems.

High school diploma or equivalent $45,750

Contacts for More Information About this section

For information about apprenticeships or job opportunities as an elevator mechanic, contact local elevator 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 ApprenticeshipUSA program online or by phone at 877-872-5627.

For more information about elevator installers and repairers, visit

International Union of Elevator Constructors

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

O*NET

Elevator Installers and Repairers

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Elevator Installers and Repairers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/elevator-installers-and-repairers.htm (visited December 02, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. This tab may also provide information on earnings in the major industries employing the occupation.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's Career InfoNet.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2014

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2014, which is the base year of the 2014-24 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2014-24

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.