How To Become An Elevator Mechanic

How to Become an Elevator Mechanic: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you interested in a rewarding career as an elevator mechanic? Learning the ins and outs of this specialized trade can open doors to a fulfilling profession. Let’s explore how you can get started in the elevator industry.

Getting Started: Embrace Your Roots

Many elevator mechanics, like Mr. Chris Gutkes, are born into the industry. Chris, a fourth-generation elevator constructor, followed in his family’s footsteps. His journey began with a desire to learn the trade, leading him to join the apprenticeship program. Although this is not a typical path to go. Many will have to look for apprenticeship opportunity’s. Either with a union or a non-union merit shop.

Joining the Apprenticeship Program

To become an elevator mechanic, joining an apprenticeship program is key. Whether through a union or non-union avenue, these programs provide hands-on training and classroom instruction. They cover everything from elevator basics to advanced skills, preparing you for the job. Typically, an apprenticeship can take 4 years. In New York, after completing four years of training, you must take the mechanics exam. The NEIEP is a structured program that prepares you for the journeyman level. It’s a four-year program, and passing the standardized exam qualifies you as a mechanic. Failure means the company decides your status.

Choose the Right Path: Union vs. Non-Union

In the elevator industry, you’ll find both union and non-union opportunities. The primary union for elevator workers is the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC). However, various unions, like the IBEW and Teamsters, also have elevator divisions. Typically unions have very well structured apprenticeships. However, it can be a lot more competitive. Non-union might be easier to get into.

Education: The Foundation of Success

Education plays a crucial role in becoming a skilled elevator mechanic. Apprenticeship programs offer structured learning, covering topics outlined in the elevator safety code book. From hydraulic elevators to escalators, apprentices learn the ropes under expert guidance.

Safety First: The Elevator Mechanic’s Code

Safety is paramount in the elevator trade. Hazards are ever-present, from electrical risks to potential falls. Following safety protocols and undergoing rigorous training can prevent accidents and ensure a long, successful career.

Make Some Money

In the elevator industry, salaries can vary. Depending on factors like; union membership and location. Union shops typically offer preset pay scales, while merit (non-union) shops may adjust pay based on skill and demand.

First-year apprentices in a union shop, like the IUEC, start around $30 per hour, with potential increases after six months. Merit shop apprentices might begin at $20 to $25 hourly.

As you gain experience, earnings can rise significantly. In the New York area, experienced mechanics can earn $100,000 to over $200,000 annually. Top performers may even receive overscale pay.

Whether you’re in New York or elsewhere, skilled trade qualifications are transferable, offering opportunities for career growth and competitive salaries nationwide.


Elevate Your Career

Becoming an elevator mechanic is a journey filled with learning and growth. By embracing apprenticeship opportunities, prioritizing education, and emphasizing safety, you can pave the way for a rewarding career in this vital industry. Start your journey today and rise to new heights as an elevator mechanic!

Learn more blue collar careers HERE

Watch this podcast with Chris Gutkes “the elevator guy” to learn a whole lot more on how to become an elevator mechanic HERE

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