There are a lot many trades that are not well known or visible but provide excellent salary and employee satisfaction. On such a job is an elevator mechanic. If you work in a corporate office, live in a condo-apartment, or frequently go to malls and commercial complexes, you probably use an elevator without giving much of a thought to it.
But you get annoyed when the elevator is conked out.
So, the work of an elevator mechanic is as important as any other trade, such as electrical, plumbing, or construction.
Elevator installers get good salaries and benefits. So, if you are interested in this career, read on to learn how to become an elevator mechanic.
What Does Elevator Mechanic Do?
Elevator technicians install and maintain escalators, elevators, chairlifts, and other electronic carriers in residential and commercial buildings. Their primary job is to connect electrical wires, fix and maintain control systems, breaks, and the motors. Technicians are also hired for scheduled maintenance of elevators and lifts to troubleshoot minor problems and fix them in time.
Physical strength, endurance, stamina, long working hours, patience, troubleshooting skills, attention for details, diagnosing problems, and quick response time are some of the critical traits of an experienced elevator mechanic.
At present, an elevator mechanic’s salary falls between $41,450 and $115,813, depending upon the skill level and experience.
Starting Your Career: Elevator Mechanic Apprenticeship
Nearly all elevator technicians start their career through an apprenticeship program. This is because, at present, around 35 states employ only licensed workers.
Elevator Mechanic Apprenticeship program typically is of 4 years. Apprenticeship programs offer both classroom learning and on-the-job training. Given below are the steps to become an elevator installer.
Step 1: Complete High School Education or Equivalent Diploma Program
To get into an apprenticeship program, you must have at least a high school education, an equivalent diploma degree, or a GED in physics, mathematics, and electrical science. Knowledge in mechanics, blueprint, and the mechanical drawing will prove helpful in gaining admittance. If you have a diploma in welding, it would be an added advantage.
Step 2: Make Sure You Qualify Physically
Since the job of an elevator mechanic requires endurance, resilience, and stamina, you must meet the needed physical requirements to qualify for an apprenticeship. You should be at least 18 years old, have good hand-eye coordination, have the confidence and ability to work at heights, and should have the right balance and eyesight.
You have to pass a drug test too to become an apprentice.
Step 3: Choose a Relevant Apprenticeship Program
There are two options to choose: International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) regulated program and Non-Union Apprenticeship Programs via independent contractors, institutions, and companies. Both offer similar kinds of training – classroom and on-the-job, and both require the same educational and physical qualifications.
However, since the elevator mechanic is a mechanic trade and the elevator works are carried according to the union’s regulations, owning a union membership is essential. Most jobs entail candidates to be a union member. Therefore, an IUEC apprenticeship program is a better choice. The IUEC offers apprenticeship programs in most states. It also has regional institutions around the world.
Step 4: Application and Apprenticeship Entrance Examination
The application process may differ in institutions. To know the complete details, log in to the local institution’s or IUEC website, and go through the guidelines and policies. The programs offered are usually cyclic and yearly based.
Once you have filed your application, you have to start preparing for an entrance examination, which will assess your skills and aptitude. The entrance exam typically includes mathematics, general physics, and aptitude related questions. After clearing the entrance examination, you may have to go through a one-to-one interview session before being admitted for the 4-year apprenticeship program.
Step 5: Start Training
You will learn the intricacies of trade during the 4-year apprenticeship training, such as safety, blueprint reading, elevator system, and parts, lifts systems, electronics, electrical theory, wiring, calculation, etc. You must have at least 144 hours of technical training and 2000 hours of on-the-job internship each year to qualify for the next year.
Once you are done with the training, you will gain eligibility to become an assistant mechanic and obtain licensure.
How to Become an Elevator Installer
Since several states require licensed elevator mechanics to ensure the usage of safety measures at the job location, it is a good idea to complete a licensing exam and obtain a license. The licensing criteria vary in each state. For precise information, connect with your state’s licensing agencies or look up the web and fulfill the requirements.
In most cases, you will have to clear a written examination that covers subjects like installation process, electrical and electronic system and circuits, technical know-how, and parts specification. You may have to pay an examination fee and submit the necessary educational certification to take the licensing examination.
Once you pass the test, you will be awarded a renewable license.
Consider Further Certifications and Training
Elevator mechanic is a skill-based trade. Therefore, on-going training and further niche-based certifications will help improve caliber and expertise. Certifications will also help you show your competency in the profession.
Participate in a few voluntary certification programs to strengthen your merits for job interviews.
There are different kinds of certifications available, such as CET (Certified Elevator Technician) and CAT (Certified Accessibility and Residence Lift Technician). These two are notable ones that are offered by the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC). You can log in to the official website and understand the requirements and rules for gaining certifications.
To embark on this journey and improve your chances of getting a better salary, you can even develop a fitness regimen or join a stamina building fitness center to stay fit and avoid common injuries that accompany the job.
We have tried to cover everything essential to become an elevator technician. If you have any specific questions, shoot them in the comments below.