Locksmiths provide people with various services relating to locks and safes. They may help a homeowner, renter, or business owner, choose and install locks, rekey a lock, cut keys for their locks, or repair a locking device or a lock that’s malfunctioning.
Locksmiths are called when people are locked out of their vehicles, homes, or businesses (many types of services). Trying to open a lock without a key is not as simple as it looks, it’s like solving a puzzle. Luckily, these professionals know various methods that can open a lock without causing any damage.
They work with a wide range of products and tools from simple locks, to security systems and sophisticated locking devices. They must stay abreast of the latest products and advances in lock and security technology, so they can be prepared for any lock they might encounter in their job.
Locksmiths must also be comfortable using hand and power tools, including drills, grinders, and lathes. Electrical and carpentry experience are useful skills. Since customers need them at various time of day, most of them work irregular hours in different types of weather conditions and different locations.
Most of the training involves hands-on experience and classroom learning. In the U.S., there are many different locksmith training programs and schools. You can get your training online or in-person.
You can find a list of Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) approved training programs on their website. This is a great place to start looking for a program that will work for you.
A locksmith training course trains a person in various topics including high-security locks, safe and vault locks, master key systems, business and home security systems, electronic access locks, automotive locks, commercial locks, residential locks, lock picking, lock installation, key making, and key identification.
An in-person training program will provide students with the opportunity to practice what they learn using the tools they’ll have when they begin working. Some online programs will provide some of these tools so their students can practice at home.
A student can gain additional hands-on experience by apprenticing or working as a trainee under a local experienced locksmith. Some are not willing to take on an apprentice or trainee, but many are. Apprentices don’t just work alongside the locksmith in the field; they also learn how to perform tasks around the office.
Licensing or Certification Requirements
Since locksmiths have access to people’s homes, high-security areas, and sensitive security information, clients and employers need to trust that they are reliable, trustworthy, and qualified to do the job. Some states require them to obtain a license. In other states, a locksmith only needs to pass a criminal history background check.
Some jurisdictions require a locksmith to complete an approved training program and pass a licensing exam. Others also require apprentices to obtain a license and pass a criminal background check. As an apprentice, they won’t need to take a licensing exam, but they must prove they are employed by a licensed locksmith.
In addition to licensing, they can also choose to pursue voluntary certifications. ALOA offers locksmith certification at various levels. Typically, a person starts with the Certified Registered Locksmith (CLR) designation. After completing additional training and gaining more experience, they can become and Certified Professional Locksmith (CPL). Then, they can pursue the designation of Certified Master Locksmith (CML).
Even if it’s not required, certification can help them demonstrate to clients that they are committed to their profession and have met the high standards of experience and training needed to get certified.
To become a Certified Registered Locksmith (CLR), a person needs to pass an exam that measure their knowledge in ten categories, including, mailbox, furniture, and cabinet locks, basic master keying, lockset servicing, lockset functions, professional lock opening techniques, key impressions, key duplication, key blank identification, cylinder servicing, and codes and code equipment.
Candidates for the CLR must also pass an exam in 2 of the 26 available elective categories. For the CPL, they must show proficiency in 12 addition electives. A CML must pass 90 percent of the elective exams. The elective categories include keyless mechanical locks, alarms, safe installation, and basic electricity.
How Long Does It Take?
You can complete your training in several months. There are some programs that can be completed in as few as two months. It may take a few additional months or years of on-the-job training. Most apprenticeships last two or three years.
In 2012, the median salary for a locksmith was $37,500. Apprentices and trainees start out at minimum wage but may get a raise in salary if they’re productive.
According to projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, locksmith employment will increase by seven percent between 2012 and 2020 which is slower than average.
Job prospects are best for people who are offering locksmith services in an area that is not currently being well-served by an established locksmith. A certified locksmith has a better job prospect than a person who is not certified.
How To Find One
If you want to find your first locksmith job, you need to start out as an apprentice or trainee. Begin by approaching existing, established locksmiths in your local area to discover which ones are willing to take on an apprentice or trainee.
If you can show that you’re willing to work hard and learn, regardless of the condition and situations, you may be offered a permanent position when your apprenticeship or training period is complete.
They may also look for employment at security equipment manufacturing facilities, hardware stores, and independent locksmith businesses. Some organizations that have large or numerous facilities, like hospitals or universities, may have a full-time locksmith on staff.