Elevators, escalators, and other types of people movers break down. You’ve seen it happen at the mall: The escalator isn’t moving, and mall customers are marching up the stairs or lining up at the working elevators. And you’ve definitely seen it happen in movies—people trapped in an elevator, panicking that they’ll run out of air.

What an Elevator Installer and Repairer Does

When an elevator, escalator, moving sidewalk, and other forms of people transport breaks down, it takes a specially trained, skilled worker to get the faulty piece of equipment up and running again so that the masses can move along with their day.

If you want to install and repair elevators, here’s what your days will look like:

  • You’ll need to know how to read blueprints so that you can interpret what system you’re working on, along with the equipment for the installation or types of repairs necessary.
  • Know how to assemble the products.
  • Also, know to to take the product apart to access the internal workings.
  • Be able to connect the electrical wiring.
  • Test the installed or repaired equipment.
  • Understand the product so that you can troubleshoot.
  • Repair or replace parts so it’s up and running.
  • Routine maintenance for preventative measures.

Elevators, escalators, and moving sidewalks have computerized parts and are far more advanced than those of yesteryear. Troubleshooting may prove to be more difficult on the newer movers of humans.

How To Become An Elevator Installer and Repairer

No advanced degree necessary if you are planning on becoming an elevator installer and repairer. Your plan of action should go as follows:

  • Graduate high school or get your GED.
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have the physical ability for the job.
  • Be able to pass a basic math, reading, and mechanical test.

If you’re in high school, take plenty of math classes, mechanical drawing, and shop classes. They will help you when you’re competing to get an apprenticeship.

Once you get that apprenticeship, which can be found through a union, industry association, or individual contractor, here’s what to expect:

  • 4 years in your apprenticeship
  • 144 hours per year of coursework
  • 2,000 hours per year of paid, on-the-job training
  • Certification (not required, but recommended)
  • 35 states require licensing so check with your state to know for sure

After you’ve completed your apprenticeship, you’ll be ready to go out and get ‘em. Keep in mind, you’ll have to keep up with your education. Technology is constantly evolving, along with it are the pieces that make up the elevators, escalators, and other related objects.

Salary and Job Outlook

Elevator installer and repairers make a nice living. When you’re early on in your career, your salary will be over $38K. Once you’ve gained more experience and have a few years under your belt, then your median salary will be closer to $80K. The top 10 percent in your field are earning well over $110K.

The highest paying industries are the government ($94K), building equipment contractors ($79K), and educational services ($64K).

Decent employment growth is expected through 2026, with 2,700 new positions opening. You’ll find most of your job prospects within the nonresidential construction industry, which is going to see an increase in business over the next few years.

Your job won’t be as affected by economic downturns or seasonality as some trades, so you can expect more consistency of work than in other construction-type careers.