How to Be an Elevator Technician


The basic form of an elevator may be traced back all the way to the Middle Ages, when a basket of some sort was lifted through a pulley system. The modern-day elevator wasn't introduced until the 1800s, when hydraulic or steam plungers worked to lift a platform. Since then, the elevator has transformed into a fast-moving component vital for the swift transport of people in buildings of all sizes. Due to the numerous movable parts within an elevator, elevator technicians are required to ensure the machine operates smoothly and safely. If you are interested in becoming an elevator technician, also known as an elevator constructor, you must undergo specialized training offered at vocational schools throughout the United States.

  • Enroll in an elevator technician apprenticeship program. This program typically lasts four years and provides you with a combination of classroom lectures and on-the-job training. Throughout most of the apprenticeship program, you will be paired with a licensed elevator technician and will shadow him throughout his daily work. Eventually, you will perform basic duties of an elevator technician while being supervised by a licensed technician. The U.S. Department of Labor states aspiring technicians are typically required to have a high school diploma; however, those with higher education typically advance faster than those with only a high school diploma. Apply for an elevator technician apprenticeship program by contacting your state's Apprenticeship and Training Division or the National Elevator Industry Educational Program, which requires you to pass the Elevator Industry Aptitude Test.

  • Check your state's licensing board to determine if you must hold an elevator technician license. If your state requires a license, you will be required to pass a written examination, which tests your knowledge of technical limitations, installation procedures and other vital information a technician must know. You may also be required to pay a licensing fee and meet other educational requirements.

  • Obtain a nationally recognized certification as an elevator technician. The U.S. Department of Labor states that on completing an apprenticeship program, you are awarded a journeyworker certificate, which is recognized throughout the nation; however, you may be required to obtain additional certification. The National Association of Elevator Contractors offers a Certified Elevator Technician, or CET, certificate, which requires completion of two levels of testing. Check with your state to determine if this certification is required for employment as an elevator technician. Once you have gained all necessary certification, you may work in your state as a certified elevator technician.

Tips & Warnings

  • Contact the National Association of Elevator Contractors regarding the CET examination to determine if this is best route for you.
  • Avoid scams promising a "fast-track" to certification. No matter where you live, you will spend a minimum of four years training for this career.

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