Should I Become an Elevator Technician?
Elevator technicians install and repair escalators, chairlifts, elevators and other electronic transport equipment. Technicians might need to connect electrical wires and make adjustments to braking and control systems as well as motor switches. They also might 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 might need to be on call to complete emergency repairs.
Elevator technicians typically need physical strength and stamina as well as strong mechanical and troubleshooting skills. They must demonstrate attention to detail and have the ability to use testing equipment and tools.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, elevator installers and repairers made a mean annual salary of $77,350 as of May 2015.
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. A high school diploma or the equivalent typically is needed to begin an apprenticeship program.
Apprentices, who are typically compensated for on-the-job training, are paired up with experienced workers so they can watch and learn the trade before performing the work themselves. They learn all the skills necessary to be successful as an elevator technician, including blueprint reading and safety practices. Aspiring technicians can secure an apprenticeship through a local union or business. Apprenticeships also might be offered through colleges and other educational institutions.
Aspiring elevator technicians also might want to develop a fitness plan. Elevator technicians often lift heavy tools and equipment. Additionally, they run the risk of on-the-job injuries, such as falls or muscle strains. Developing a fitness regimen could help elevator technicians stay physically able to perform their jobs and avoid common injuries of the profession.
Obtain Necessary Licensure
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. Additional licensure requirements might include paying a fee and meeting educational or experience standards. Aspiring elevator technicians should research the specific requirements for their states.
Employers might look for elevator technicians with credentials that validate their proficiency and skills. For this reason, voluntary certification may be helpful when seeking employment. 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). To earn the CET credential, an elevator technician must complete a CET training program, have 5 years of experience, and successfully complete an examination. For individuals interested in earning the CAT designation, completion of a CAT training program, 3 years of experience, and passage of an exam is required.