Elevator installers and repairers install, fix, and maintain elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other lifts.


Elevator installers and repairers typically do the following:

  • Read and interpret blueprints to determine the layout of system components and to select the equipment needed for installation or repair
  • Assemble elevator cars, installing each car’s platform, walls, and doors
  • Connect electrical wiring to control panels and electric motors
  • Test newly installed equipment to ensure that it meets specifications
  • Troubleshoot malfunctions in brakes, motors, switches, and control systems
  • Dismantle elevator or escalator units in order to gain access to remove and replace defective parts, using hoists, ladders, and hand/power tools
  • Repair and/or replace faulty components in order to return elevator to fully operational status
  • Conduct preventive maintenance and inspections of elevators and escalators on a scheduled basis to ensure compliance with safety regulations and building codes
  • Keep service records of all maintenance and repair tasks

Elevator installers and repairers, also called  elevator constructors  or  elevator mechanics , assemble, install, maintain, and replace elevators, escalators, chairlifts, moving walkways, and similar equipment in buildings.

Elevator installers and repairers usually specialize in installation, maintenance, or repair work. Maintenance and repair workers generally require greater knowledge of electronics, hydraulics, and electricity than do installers because a large part of maintenance and repair work is troubleshooting. Most elevators have computerized control systems, resulting in more complex systems and troubleshooting than in the past.

After an elevator is installed, workers must regularly maintain and service it to keep the elevator working properly. They generally perform preventive maintenance, such as oiling and greasing moving parts, replacing worn parts, and adjusting equipment for optimal performance. They also troubleshoot and may be called to perform emergency repairs. Workers who specialize in elevator maintenance typically service many of the same elevators on multiple occasions over time.

A service crew usually handles major repairs—for example, replacing cables, elevator doors, or machine bearings. These tasks may require the use of cutting torches or rigging equipment—tools that an elevator repairer would not normally carry. Service crews also perform major modernization and alteration work, such as replacing electric motors, hydraulic pumps, and control panels.

Work Environment

Elevator installers and repairers held about 27,000 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of elevator installers and repairers were as follows:

Building equipment contractors 89%
Government 2
Educational services; state, local, and private                       1

Elevator installers and repairers have a physically demanding job. They sit or stand for extensive periods, lift items that can weigh 50–200 pounds, work in cramped quarters inside crawl spaces and machine rooms, and may be exposed to heights in elevator shafts. They also work in dusty and dirty places with oily and greasy equipment in hot or cold environments.

Although installation and major repairs require mechanics to work in teams, workers often work alone when troubleshooting minor problems.

Injuries and Illnesses

Elevator installers and repairers may suffer falls from ladders, burns due to electrical shocks, and muscle strains from lifting and carrying heavy equipment. As a result, workers must take precaution and wear protective equipment such as hardhats, harnesses, and safety glasses.

Work Schedules

Almost all elevator installers and repairers work full time. They may work overtime when emergency repairs need to be made or construction deadlines need to be met. Workers may be on call 24 hours a day.

Education and Training

Nearly all elevator installers and repairers learn through an apprenticeship. Currently, 35 states require workers to be licensed.


High school classes in math, mechanical drawing, and shop may help applicants compete for apprenticeship openings.


A career in elevator installation and repair typically begins with a 4-year apprenticeship program sponsored by a union, industry association, or individual contractor. For each year of the program, apprentices typically receive at least 144 hours of technical instruction and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. During training, apprentices learn about safety, blueprint reading, mathematics, applied physics, elevator and escalator parts, electrical and digital theory, and electronics.

The basic qualifications to enter an apprenticeship program are the following:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Be physically able to do the job
  • Pass basic math, reading, and mechanical aptitude tests

When they finish the apprenticeship program, elevator installers and repairers are fully trained and become mechanics or assistant mechanics. Ongoing training is important for elevator installers and repairers in order to keep up with technological developments throughout their careers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Currently, 35 states require elevator installers and repairers to be licensed. Check with your state for more information.

Although not required, certification can show competence and proficiency in the field.

Elevator installers and repairers can become certified as Certified Elevator Technicians (CET) or Certified Accessibility and Private Residence Lift Technicians (CAT) through the  National Association of Elevator Contractors . They can also be certified as Qualified Elevator Inspectors (QEI) through the  National Association of Elevator Safety Authorities .


Some installers may receive additional training in specialized areas and advance to become a mechanic-in-charge, adjuster, supervisor, or elevator inspector.

Personality and Interests

Elevator installers and repairers typically have an interest in the Building, Thinking and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Thinking interest area indicates a focus on researching, investigating, and increasing the understanding of natural laws. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Building or Thinking or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as an elevator installer and repairer, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Elevator installers and repairers should also possess the following specific qualities:

Detail oriented. Elevator installers must keep accurate records of their service schedules. These records are used to schedule future maintenance, which often helps reduce breakdowns.

Mechanical skills. Elevator installers use a variety of power tools and handtools to install and repair lifts. Escalators, for example, run on tracks that must be installed using wrenches and screwdrivers.

Physical stamina. Elevators installers must be able to perform strenuous work for long periods.

Physical strength. Elevator installers often lift heavy equipment and parts, including escalator steps, conduit, and metal tracks. Some apprentices must be able to lift 100 pounds to participate in a program.

Troubleshooting skills. Elevator installers and repairers must be able to diagnose and repair problems. When an escalator stops moving, for example, mechanics determine why it stopped and make the necessary repairs.


The median annual wage for elevator installers and repairers was $84,990 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,620, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $124,150.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for elevator installers and repairers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Government $93,110
Building equipment contractors 84,140
Educational services; state, local, and private                            74,820

The starting pay for apprentices is usually 50 percent of what fully trained elevator installers and repairers make. They earn pay increases as they progress in their apprenticeship. Apprentices who are also certified welders usually receive higher wages while welding. Assistant mechanics, by contract, receive 80 percent of the rate paid to journeyman elevator installers and repairers.

Almost all elevator installers and repairers work full time. They may work overtime when emergency repairs need to be made or construction deadlines need to be met. Workers may be on call 24 hours a day.

Job Outlook

Employment of elevator installers and repairers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.

Demand for these workers is closely tied to nonresidential construction, such as office buildings and stores that have elevators and escalators, and this type of construction is expected to increase during the next decade.

In addition, the need to regularly maintain, update, and repair old equipment; provide access for the disabled; and install increasingly sophisticated equipment and controls will maintain demand for elevator installers and repairers.

Job Prospects

The high wages of elevator installers and repairers will attract many applicants, and jobseekers may face strong competition.

Job opportunities for entry-level workers should be best for those who have postsecondary education in electronics.

Elevators, escalators, lifts, moving walkways, and related equipment need to work year round, so employment of elevator repairers is less affected by economic downturns and seasonality than employment in other construction occupations.

For More Information

For information about apprenticeships or job opportunities as an elevator installer or repairer, contact local elevator contractors, a local chapter of the International Union of Elevator Constructors, a local joint union–management apprenticeship committee, or the nearest office of your state employment service or apprenticeship agency. Apprenticeship information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s  Apprenticeship  program online or by phone at 877-872-5627.

For more information about elevator installers and repairers, visit

International Union of Elevator Constructors

National Elevator Industry Educational Program

For more information about the NAEC Apprenticeship Program, the Certified Elevator Technician program, or the Certified Accessibility and Private Residence Lift Technician program, visit

National Association of Elevator Contractors  

For more information about certification as a Qualified Elevator Inspector, visit

National Association of Elevator Safety Authorities



Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook . This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

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This information is taken directly from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Truity does not editorialize the information, including changing information that our readers believe is inaccurate, because we consider the BLS to be the authority on occupational information. However, if you would like to correct a typo or other technical error, you can reach us at help@truity.com .

I am not sure if this career is right for me. How can I decide?

There are many excellent tools available that will allow you to measure your interests, profile your personality, and match these traits with appropriate careers. On this site, you can take the Career Personality Profiler assessment, the Holland Code assessment, or the Photo Career Quiz .

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