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Elevator Installers and Repairers - What They Do

How to Advance (Advancement)
Ongoing training is very important for a worker to keep up with technological developments in elevator repair. In fact, union elevator installers and repairers typically receive training throughout their careers, through correspondence courses, seminars, or formal classes. This training greatly improves one's chances for promotion and retention.

Some installers may receive additional training in specialized areas and advance to the position of mechanic-in-charge, adjuster, supervisor, or elevator inspector. Adjusters, for example, may be picked for their position because they possess particular skills or are electronically inclined. Other workers may move into management, sales, or product-design jobs.

Elevator installers and repairers held about 24,900 jobs in 2008. Most were employed by specialty trades contractors, particularly other building equipment contractors.

Job Outlook
Even with average job growth, excellent job opportunities are expected in this occupation.

Job Growth
Employment of elevator installers and repairers is expected to increase 9 percent during the 2008–18 decade. Demand for additional elevator installers depends greatly on growth in nonresidential construction, such as commercial office buildings and stores that have elevators and escalators. This sector of the construction industry is expected to grow during the decade as the economy expands. In addition, the need to continually maintain, update and repair old equipment, provide access to the disabled, and install increasingly sophisticated equipment and controls should add to the demand for elevator installers and repairers. Another factor causing the demand for elevator installers and repairers to increase is a growing number of elderly people who require easier access to their homes through stair lifts and residential elevators.

Workers who seek to enter this occupation should have excellent opportunities. Elevator installer and repairer jobs have relatively high earnings and good benefits. However, it is the dangerous and physically challenging nature of this occupation and the significant training it requires that reduce the number of applicants and create better opportunities for those who apply. Job prospects should be best for those with postsecondary education in electronics or experience in the military.

Elevators, escalators, lifts, moving walkways, and related equipment need to be kept in good working condition year round every year, so employment of elevator repairers is less affected by economic downturns and seasonality than employment in other construction trades. Although elevator installers and repairers are employed throughout the Nation, the majority of positions tend to be concentrated in the Northeast because of its high concentration of tall office and residential structures.

Wages of elevator installers and repairers are among the highest of all construction trades. Median hourly wages of elevator installers and repairers were $33.35 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $25.79 and $39.41. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19.38, and the top 10 percent earned more than $46.78. Median hourly wages in the building equipment contractors industry were $33.46.

Wages for members of the International Union of Elevator Constructors vary on the basis of locale and specialty. Check with a local chapter in your area for average wages.

Over half of all elevator installers and repairers were members of unions or covered by a union contract, one of the highest proportions of all occupations. Of those in a union, the largest number were members of the International Union of Elevator Constructors. In addition to free continuing education, elevator installers and repairers receive the basic benefits enjoyed by most other workers.

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