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Become an Elevator Technician: Career and Training Requirements

Research the requirements to become an elevator technician. Learn about the job description and duties and read the step-by-step process to start a career as an elevator technician.

Should I Become an Elevator Technician?

Elevator technicians install and repair escalators, chairlifts, elevators and other electronic transport equipment. Technicians may need to connect electrical wires and make adjustments to braking and control systems as well as motor switches. They may also perform preventative maintenance on elevators and keep service records. These workers typically use testing equipment to troubleshoot problems and must be adept in reading blueprints. Technicians may be on call to complete emergency repairs.

Career Requirements

Education Level Postsecondary apprenticeship; requires high school diploma or equivalent
Training Apprenticeship; paid on-the-job training
Licensure and Certification Some states require licensure; voluntary certifications available
Key Skills Physical strength, stamina and attention to detail, strong mechanical and troubleshooting skills; ability to use testing equipment and tools
Salary $78,620 per year (2014 median salary for all elevator installers and repairers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET OnLine, National Association of Elevator Contractors

Step 1: Complete an Apprenticeship

Generally, the first step to becoming an elevator technician is to complete a 5-year apprenticeship program. Apprenticeships provide a mixture of classroom lessons and on-the-job training. Apprentices are typically compensated for on-the-job training. Elevator technicians are paired up with experienced workers, so they may watch and learn the trade before performing work themselves. They learn all of the skills necessary to be successful in the trade, including reading blueprints and safety practices. Aspiring technicians can secure an apprenticeship through a local union or business. Apprenticeships may also be offered through colleges and other educational institutions.

Success Tip:

  • Develop a fitness plan. Elevator technicians often lift heavy tools and equipment. Additionally, they also run the risk of on-the-job injuries, such as falls or muscle strains. Developing a fitness regimen may help to keep elevator technicians physically able to perform their jobs and able to avoid the common injuries of the profession.

Step 2: Obtain Licensure Where Necessary

Several states require elevator technicians to complete a licensing exam to ensure public safety. Exams are usually in a written format and test an elevator technician's knowledge of installation procedures, part specifications and technical limitations. Besides this examination, additional requirements may be mandated depending on the state's licensing procedures, such as paying a fee and meeting educational or experience standards. Aspiring elevator technicians should research the specific requirements for their states.

Step 3: Consider Certification

Employers may look for elevator technicians with certifications that validate a technician's proficiency and skills. For this reason, certification may be helpful when seeking employment, even though it is not mandatory. The National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) offers voluntary certifications, such as the Certified Elevator Technician (CET) and Certified Accessibility and Private Residence Lift Technician (CAT) designations, (www.naec.org). In order to earn the CET credential, an elevator technician must complete the CET training program, have 5 years of experience and successfully complete an examination. For individuals interested in earning the CAT designation, completion of the CAT training program, 3 years of experience and passage of an examination is required.

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