If you’re looking for well-paid skilled trade work with paid training as a union apprentice you may want to consider becoming an elevator constructor. This job, however, is highly competitive.
Demand for these workers will continue to increase thanks to several factors. These include a growth in commercial construction – expected to grow more than 5% this year and 6% next, according to the American Institute of Architects. In addition, many seniors are installing elevators in their homes. And elevators in older office and other commercial buildings will continue to need repairs and upgrades
The salaries of those who install and repair elevators is among the highest in the trades. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook the median pay — half of all workers earned more than this and half earned less — for this type of work is $97,860 per year or $47.05 per hour.
Because of the high pay, however, many people are interested in doing it. So it’s best to consider places where more people do this job. The states with the highest employment level of elevator constructors are New York, California, Texas, Florida and Maryland.
Elevator constructor job description
Just what does an elevator constructor do and what kinds of skills do they need?
Elevator constructors are also known as elevator installers and repairers and elevator mechanics. They spend their time installing, repairing and maintaining elevators, escalators, moving walkways and other types of lifts. Elevator constructors usually specialize in one of these tasks, since they each require different knowledge and skills.
People who do this job need to know how to read and interpret blueprints. They must be able to test equipment and troubleshoot any problems with motors, control systems or parts. And they also must be able to keep careful records of the work they complete. Those who do maintenance and repair need to have a greater knowledge of electronics, electricity and hydraulics than installers do. All of these requirements are part of what is included in on-the-job practical apprenticeship and classroom instruction.
Being an elevator constructor is not a job for the faint of heart. Those with claustrophobia or fear of heights may want to look for another kind of work, since elevator constructors often must work in tight spaces and at heights inside of elevator shafts. Since elevators can break down any time of day or night, repairers might have to be on call 24 hours.
The work can be quite physically demanding and requires being able to lift loads of up to 200 pounds. Constructors sometimes work as a team but can also work alone when doing scheduled maintenance or handling minor breakdowns.
How to get a job as an elevator constructor
The best way to get a job as an elevator constructor is through an elevator constructor apprenticeship program. But to become an apprentice, you must go through a testing and interview process. And since the process is quite competitive, you need to do well on the test and make a good impression in the interview.
The first step is to take the Elevator Industry Aptitude Test. The test is administered by the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP), an organization created as a joint labor-management effort between the International Union of Elevator Constructors and the National Elevator Industry, Inc. The test is taken in person, and your local International Union of Elevator Constructors branch will send you the date, place and time after you turn in your application.
It’s not so easy – we tried a few sample questions – but there are several companies offering courses to prepare. And in order to pass, it would certainly help to take one of these courses. Their websites also include a few sample test questions, so you can get an idea of what will be on the test. The aptitude test consists of basic math (including fractions and decimals, algebra and geometry), reading and tools assessment.
Elevator constructor apprenticeship test courses
These companies offer prep tests for the elevator constructor apprenticeship test.
iPREP – iPREP has created a course that includes 400 questions and explanations for the answers, 19 practice tests and a study guide. The cost is $39.95.
Prepterminal – The EIAT Prep Course offered by Prepterminal and priced at $49.90 includes 29 core instructional guides, video modules and quizzes, practice questions and timed practice tests.
Job Test Prep – Job Test Prep’s The Ultimate EiAT Guide (2022) includes an introduction test, two full-length simulation tests, 12 practice drills and a personality test prep to help people succeed in the interview. The cost is $79 for one week, $89 for one month and $99 for three months.
After completing the test with at least a 70% pass rate, it’s time for an elevator constructor apprenticeship interview. These interviews are conducted by at least two people – an International Union of Elevator Constructors member and an employer. They will last 15 to 20 minutes. And the interviewers give a score with applicants needing 70% to pass. The two scores are combined. The candidates are ranked, and the rankings are sent to potential employers. The higher one scores, the more likely they are to be chosen as an apprentice. The names of those who aren’t chosen as apprentices will be put on future ranking lists for up to two years.
Apprenticeships are highly competitive
Since this is a very desirable job there are typically many applicants for each job opening. Although some candidates come right out of high school, others are in the trades in another field of work and transition over once they are selected. Being in a trade and working can also help you obtain some of the knowledge needed for the aptitude test. The union locals have full discretion of whether they will hire justice-impacted individuals. If you fall into that category, contacting the appropriate union local would be a good idea before moving forward.
And if you do get hired as an apprentice and are interested In higher education, you can get college credit for the work you complete as a student in the NEIEP Apprenticeship Training program at one of the colleges and universities that the NEIEP has partnered with. Your on-the-job- learning hours will count toward credit as well.
Other ways to find elevator constructor apprentice
Although the best way to get a job as an elevator constructor apprentice is through the exam and interview process, some job boards, including Indeed and ZipRecruiter, include this position. Another option is to search the internet using “elevator repair apprenticeships,” and then review the search results for possible leads.