When you think of a locksmith, you probably envision a person whose job is to offer a helping hand in a moment of panic, such as when you are locked out of your home or vehicle. While resolving these types of issues is a large part of what a locksmith does, they offer other services as well.
Locksmiths also install locking mechanisms, help people make buying decisions about locks, create new keys for existing locks, change locks, or provide repair services for malfunctioning locks.
Locksmiths use a variety of products and tools to facilitate their work. In some cases, drills, grinders, and lathes are necessary for certain jobs.
Additionally, a locksmith needs to be available at virtually any hour on any day, regardless of circumstances or weather conditions.
Any reputable locksmith will confirm that both educational training and hands-on learning are required for the position. Locksmithing training is available in the form of programs and schooling in various places throughout the country.
ALOA (Associated Locksmiths of America) keeps a comprehensive list on its website of approved programs for locksmith training. Those who opt for training programs will learn various skills while training.
It is often also necessary for an aspiring locksmith to shadow a much more experienced individual who has many years of training and experience.
Certification and Licensing
Several states bar locksmiths from practicing without a license. However, each state has different sets of criteria. For example, a number of states require that a locksmith merely undergo and pass a background check. In other states, completion of training course(s) and license exam are required.
Locksmiths are always encouraged to pursue certifications. They aren’t required, but they enhance a locksmith’s knowledge, training, and experience.
This can improve a locksmith’s work performance and increase the trust of his/her clients.
There are various types of certifications, but the first one that should be pursued is the Certified Registered Locksmith certification. After that, locksmiths can move on to achieve Certified Professional Locksmith status or Certified Master Locksmith status.
Generally, it can take anywhere from a couple months to several months to complete locksmith training. Hands-on training is more difficult to estimate.
Some might train on-the-job for a few months, while some train for multiple years. An apprenticeship often spans 2-3 years.
Earnings and Outlook
In 2012, it was estimated that locksmiths earned a median salary of $37,560. Apprentices and those who are shadowing experienced locksmiths can expect to earn minimum wage. This wage often increases as the learner’s job performance improves.
A locksmith might continue to work for another company, or he/she can go on to open a business.
Between the years of 2012 and 2020, it has been predicted that employment has grown and will continue to grow by 7% for locksmiths.
A locksmith has the best chance for success when he/she chooses to practice in a location that isn’t overly saturated with other locksmiths offering similar services. For a licensed locksmith who is just starting out, it might help to take a training or apprentice position.
It also helps to offer services to hardware shops, security companies, or potential clients with large facilities that can be a challenge to maintain.
You can learn more about locksmithing by talking to experienced locksmiths or browsing the ALOA website.