If you want to replace and repair locks for a living, learning how to become a locksmith is a good idea. Many locksmiths provide emergency services, along with home and business security services. It’s common for locksmiths to work for themselves, as well.
Becoming a locksmith isn’t a long process and doesn’t require the same training as other careers. You can become a locksmith in a short amount of time. Let’s look at what it takes to be a locksmith.
Duties of a Locksmith
Commonly, a locksmith will install, repair, unlock, replace, and adjust locks on windows, doors, car doors, safes, and much more. You may also provide consultation services as a locksmith. Usually, locksmiths will assess the security needs of a business or home. They may also install security equipment.
Most people consider a locksmith to be someone they call during an emergency. They provide on-call services to help people get into their vehicles and homes. If someone is locked out, as a locksmith, you’ll become the hero.
Skills Needed to Become a Locksmith
If you want to become a locksmith, some of the skills you should have include:
- Attention to detail
- Ability to solve problems quickly
- Good organization skills for your equipment and tools
- A good worth ethic
- Ability to remain calm during stressful situations
- Knowledge of how to use power tools
With these skills and the right training, you can enjoy a successful career as a locksmith.
Necessary Training to Become a Locksmith
While you’ll need some level of training to become a locksmith, it will vary from one state to another. Some states require you to become licensed to practice as a locksmith.
It’s a good idea to start with the Associated Locksmiths of America or ALOA. This association can offer training options and give you exactly what you need to become a locksmith in your specific state.
States and Districts Requiring a Locksmith License
Several states require a license for you to practice as a locksmith as well as some districts, they include:
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
- Washington D.C.
- Hillsborough County, Florida
- Nassau County, Long Island
- New York City, New York
All of these areas will require the right license to work as a professional locksmith.
Basic Requirements to Become a Locksmith
Here’s a quick summary of the requirements to become a locksmith in most states.
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be able to pass a criminal background check
- Complete the right apprenticeship or required training
- Take and pass the license and certification exam/exams
- Get a business license if you want to work for yourself
Each state will be a bit different. For example, to become a licensed locksmith in the state of Texas, you have to complete a two-year apprenticeship under a licensed locksmith.
Steps to Becoming a Locksmith
Step #1 – Finish the Right Training Program
After earning your high school diploma or GED, you should enroll in a locksmith training program. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer training programs to help you become a locksmith. You will likely need to complete some assessment and hands-on training.
A locksmith training program will take several months or even two years to complete. In some states, you will gain certification and your license to work as a locksmith.
Step #2 – Find an Apprenticeship
Another option outside of a locksmith training program is to find an apprenticeship. This is a step many take if you want to become a locksmith and start with an entry-level position. In some cases, an apprenticeship will allow you to be paid, but others only offer experience. However, even an unpaid apprenticeship can lead to a paid position.
Make sure you choose a mentor with a license or certificate. An experienced locksmith is the best choice to gain the necessary training you will need to become a professional locksmith.
Step #3 – Get Your License, if Necessary
If you live in an area requiring a certificate or a license, you will need to get this before working as a locksmith. This will likely require passing the necessary tests. The ALOA will administer the certification exam.
Passing the test means you will likely be a Certified Automotive Locksmith, Registered Locksmith, or Certified Master Safe Tech. Likely, you will also need to submit fingerprints, and a comprehensive background check in your state.
Step #4 – Become a Locksmith & Gain Experience
With the right licensing or training, you can work as a locksmith. Working for someone else may not be your ultimate dream, but it’s a good way to gain experience. Getting the right experience in your field of work can lead to more opportunities in the future.
After a few years of experience, it may be possible to branch out and work for yourself. However, there are benefits to working for an established locksmith company. You may also be able to work for a hardware store or security company, as both often hire locksmiths.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Locksmith
How much does a locksmith earn annually?
Indeed.com states that the average annual salary for locksmiths is about $58K per year. This is a bit higher than the average salary stated by Salary.com, which is around $53K. However, ZipRecruiter.com has the average salary at the lower amount of about $39K per year.
Your actual salary will depend on where you work and your experience as a locksmith. Top locksmiths can earn over $65K per year.
How long will it take to become a professional locksmith?
The amount of time it will take for you to become a locksmith will vary. Each state is a bit different. Some programs are just three months long, while others take more than a year to complete.
Depending on where you live, you might need some formal education. You may only need a little work experience or a short apprenticeship. The average locksmith can become licensed within two years.
Where do locksmiths work?
You might think a locksmith will only work for a locksmith company or themselves. However, locksmiths can also work for security companies, hardware stores, universities, colleges, health care facilities, and other businesses. There are many types of locksmiths and job opportunities available for them.
What’s the cost of locksmith training?
If you take an online course to become a locksmith, you’ll pay $400 to $1,000. This is less expensive than an in-person option, which ranges from about $1,000 to $3,000. However, if you choose to enter into an apprenticeship, the cost will likely be $100 or less.
Licensing and certifications can range from $60 to $300 per exam, as well. Many locksmiths will hold multiple certifications and licenses.
How do I find a locksmith job?
Before you try to work for yourself, finding a locksmith job and gaining some experience is a good idea. There are plenty of options to find the right locksmith job for you. Putting together your resume and submitting it to the right job sites can help you find the right job.
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