Elevator installers and repairers-also called elevator constructors or elevator mechanics-assemble, install, and replace elevators, escalators, chairlifts, dumbwaiters, moving walkways, and similar equipment in new and old buildings. Once the equipment is in service, they maintain and repair it as well. They also are responsible for modernizing older equipment.
To install, repair, and maintain modern elevators, which are almost all electronically controlled, elevator installers and repairers must have a thorough knowledge of electronics, electricity, and hydraulics. Many elevators are controlled with microprocessors, which are programmed to analyze traffic conditions in order to dispatch elevators in the most efficient manner. With these controls, it is possible to get the greatest amount of service with the fewest number of cars.
Elevator installers and repairers usually specialize in installation, maintenance, or repair work. Maintenance and repair workers generally need greater knowledge of electricity and electronics than do installers because a large part of maintenance and repair work is troubleshooting.
Can I afford a home elevator? Isn't it just for the super rich?
Most elevator installers receive their education through an apprenticeship program. High school classes in mathematics, science, and shop may help applicants compete for apprenticeship openings.
Education and training. Most elevators installers and repairers learn their trade in an apprenticeship program administered by local joint educational committees representing the employers and the union-the International Union of Elevator Constructors. In nonunion shops, workers may complete training programs sponsored by independent contractors.
Apprenticeship programs teach a range of skills, usually during a 4-year period. Programs combine paid on-the-job training with classroom instruction in blueprint reading, electrical and electronic theory, mathematics, applications of physics, and safety.
Most apprentices assist experienced elevator installers and repairers. Beginners carry materials and tools, bolt rails to walls, and assemble elevator cars. Eventually, apprentices learn more difficult tasks such as wiring.