How to Prepare for an Elevator Mechanic Apprenticeship

An elevator mechanic apprenticeship is typically a 4-year program that allows aspiring elevator mechanics entry into the career field. Combining classroom instruction with on-the-job training, the program teaches a range of skills as the apprentice assists a professional with elevator repairs, maintenance and installations.

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Five Steps to Enter an Elevator Mechanic Apprentice Program

Step One: Complete a High School Education

Any applicant wanting to enter an apprenticeship program in elevator mechanics typically needs at least a high school education. Taking courses in physics, mathematics and electricity can be helpful, as well as knowledge in mechanical drawing, blueprint reading and drafting. Those who have taken shop courses, like welding, may have an advantage over those who have not. Most apprenticeship programs may accept a GED in lieu of a high school diploma.

Step 2: Meet Physical Requirements

An apprenticeship is an education program for elevator mechanics that also has physical requirements that must be met. An applicant will need to be physically fit, at least 18 years of age and pass a drug test. Individuals need to have good balance, hand-eye coordination, and an ability to work at heights.

Step Three: Choose Your Apprenticeship Program

In the elevator mechanic trade, having union membership is often considered crucial. Often, elevator work is done in accordance with union regulations and many of the jobs available require elevator mechanics to be a union member of good standing. The International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) provides an apprenticeship program where many elevator installers, mechanics and repairers learn their trade (www.iuec.org). The IUEC has local chapters across the world and offers apprenticeship programs in most states and large cities.

Another option is a non-union apprenticeship program offered by independent companies, contractors and large institutions. These programs generally have the same requirements as union programs and include a combination of classroom work and hands-on training.

Step Four: Apply for an Apprenticeship

The open window to apply to most apprenticeship programs is cyclical and often occurs on a yearly basis. Typically, local government, institutions and unions post application openings and deadlines on their websites. Many states maintain apprenticeship databases where individuals can locate union and non-union apprenticeship programs that are currently accepting applications.

Step Five: Pass the Apprenticeship Entrance Exam

Following the acceptance of their application, apprentices will be given an entrance exam, which assess the applicant's skills and aptitude for working in the elevator industry. After passing the exam, applicants typically must participate in a personal interview session with an industry professional before being accepted into the apprenticeship program.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), elevator installers and repairers are expected to see a 25% increase in employment from 2012-2022, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations. The BLS also reported that, as of May 2013, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $78,640.

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