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Elevator Mechanic: Career Information

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Job Description:

An elevator mechanic installs, maintains or fixes elevators, escalators and moving walkways. He or she usually specializes in one of these jobs and may be called an elevator installer, repairer or constructor.

Employment Facts:

In 2010 there were almost 20,000 working elevator mechanics. Most were employed in the building equipment contractors industry. Few were self employed. Jobs in this occupation are usually full-time. To deal with emergencies, some mechanics are on call 24/7.

An elevator mechanic may work on a team or alone, depending on the project. For example, an installation or major repair would require working on a team while one would work alone when troubleshooting a small problem.

Generally construction workers' schedules are determined by the weather. Clear days are spent on the job, while inclement ones mean time off. An elevator mechanic's schedule usually isn't dependent on the weather since he or she typically works indoors.

Educational Requirements:

Preparing for this occupation involves completing a four year apprenticeship that consists of 144 hours of technical instruction and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. One will learn electrical and electronic theory, mathematics, physics, safety and how to read blueprints.

Apprenticeships, typically sponsored by unions and contractors, are open to high school graduates or those who have earned equivalency diplomas. Recommended high school coursework includes math, mechanical drawing and shop. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and physically able to do the job. One must pass a math, reading and mechanical aptitude test to be admitted to an apprenticeship program. The National Elevator Industry Educational Program has put together an FAQ that can answer some of the questions you may have about apprenticeships.

Why Do You Need to Know About Educational Requirements?

Other Requirements:

Because an elevator mechanic must lift heavy equipment and do hard work for long periods of time, he or she must be physically strong and have good stamina. Being detail-oriented allows one to carefully keep track of service schedules. A repair person needs to have good troubleshooting skills.

To work in some states elevator mechanics must be licensed. To find out if you will need a license see the Licensed Occupation Tool from careeronestop (hint: typing only the word "elevator" into search box will bring up all relevant job titles).

Although it is not required, some people working in this field choose to become certified. Voluntary certification, available from trade associations like the National Association of Elevator Contractors can make a job candidate more appealing to an employer since it demonstrates that he or she meets certain standards.

Job Outlook:

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts this occupation will grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2020.

Why Do You Need to Know About Job Outlook?

Earnings:

In 2011 elevator mechanics earned a median salary of $75,060 and hourly wages of $36.09 (US). The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says it is one of the highest paying occupations for which a high school diploma is the highest level of education required.

Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much an Elevator Mechanic currently earns in your city.

A Day in an Elevator Mechanic's Life:

On a typical day an elevator mechanic's tasks might include:

  • determining what equipment is needed by reading blueprints
  • installing elevators and componants including doors, cables and control systems
  • connecting electrical wiring
  • diagnosing problems
  • keeping records of service calls and maintance

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Elevator Installers and Repairers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/elevator-installers-and-repairers.htm (visited November 26, 2012).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Elevator Installers and Repairers, on the Internet at http://www.onetonline.org/link/details/47-4021.00 (visited November 26, 2012).

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