Elevator Technician Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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An elevator technician's average salary is around $76,000. Is it worth the apprenticeship and training requirements? See real job duties and get the truth about career prospects to find out if becoming an elevator technician is right for you.
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Elevator Technician: Pros and Cons

Elevator technicians work not only with elevators, but also with lifts, escalators and moving walkways. Learn more about the upsides and downsides of being an elevator technician to determine if it's the right career path for you.

Pros of an Elevator Technician Career
Income is higher than the national average (about $76,000 as of May 2014)*
Paid job training is part of your apprenticeship*
Faster than average job growth (25% between 2012-2022)*
Elevator technicians can join unions*
Career promotion to inspector and supervisory positions is possible*

Cons of an Elevator Technician Career
Some employers require elevator technicians to be on call 24/7*
Overtime is necessary if there is a construction deadline to meet*
Possible injuries from electric shocks or malfunctioning equipment*
Technicians must meet physical requirements*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Essential Career Information

Job Description

As an elevator technician, you're required to learn the blueprints for elevators or related pieces of machinery. You're also expected to observe specific building codes and safety regulations while on the job. During inspections, you may fix malfunctions and replace parts that are worn out. Technicians are also responsible for installing elevators, which involves connecting wires, adjusting controls and ensuring safe operation. At the end of the day, you'll keep service records to let others know the last time an elevator was repaired.

Salary Info

In May 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that elevator installers and repairers made an average of $76,490 per year. The top 10% of elevator technicians earned roughly $109,000 yearly. Additionally, the highest paying states for elevator technicians were Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maine, California and Oregon.

Vocational Requirements

Apprenticeship, Training and Education

Prior to entering into an apprenticeship, an elevator technician must have a high school diploma or its GED equivalent. A basic aptitude test covering math, mechanics and reading must be passed as well. There are unions and organizations that assist with getting apprenticeships; in some cases, an employer might help you find one as well. A typical apprenticeship for an elevator technician lasts four years. Your apprenticeship is a mixture of on-the-job training and classroom instruction.

Licensure

In some states, elevator technicians have to obtain licensure. While requirements can vary from state to state, you generally need to provide proof of your training and pass an electrical systems exam. You can learn more about additional requirements by contacting your state's licensing organization.

What Employers Are Looking For

Beyond licensing and education requirements, employers want elevator technicians with the stamina and strength to work for extended periods of time. Possessing an eye for detail is another important attribute. The ability to stay on schedule, meet deadlines and keep accurate logs is important to employers as well. If you're looking for additional information on what real employers want, check out these online job postings from April 2012:

  • A minimum of ten years of experience and possession of a personal vehicle is required for an elevator technician position in New York.
  • A company in Ohio is looking for an elevator technician with electronics systems skills and basic safety knowledge. Applicants should be willing to participate in continuing education opportunities.
  • A Washington, DC, company wants a licensed elevator and escalator technician who has 2-5 years of experience. Applicants should be able to lift objects weighing 50-75 pounds.

How to Stand Out as an Elevator Technician

Because professional certification is not a requirement for employment, obtaining certification can set you apart from other technicians. For example, you might pursue the Certified Elevator Technician (CET) credential offered by the National Association of Elevator Contractors. In order to earn this designation, you must complete five years of experience and an exam. Earning the CET credential shows employers that you have a thorough understanding of the skills and regulations in this field.

Other Career Options

If you like the electrical aspects of working as an elevator technician, you may want to consider being an electrician instead. Similar to elevator technicians, electricians use specialized tools to maintain and install electrical systems. These professionals also learn theie trade through 4-year apprenticeships. In May 2011, the BLS found that electricians earned an average of $53,000 per year, which is less than elevator technicians. However, electricians may have more job opportunities than elevator technicians from 2010-2020. During this time, the number of employed electricians was expected to increase 23%.

If you're interested in installing or repairing different types of mechanical equipment, you might consider becoming an industrial machinery mechanic. The machines you work with in this occupation are typically used in factories and assist with production, packaging and transportation. According to the BLS, the number of working industrial machinery mechanics was projected to grow 22% from 2010-2020. Industrial machinery mechanics earned an average salary of roughly $48,000 as of May 2011.

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