People care about protecting their property, vehicles, and families. When they have security and locksmithing needs, they want to turn to a professional they can trust to get the job done. If you have a passion for problem-solving and helping people, starting a career as a locksmith could be right for you.
The requirements to becoming a locksmith can vary by state, so we’ll walk you through the most common steps to becoming a locksmith. In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of the profession, the steps you need to take to get started, and how to grow your career.
About the Locksmithing Profession
A locksmith is a professional who is trained to assist their customers with security needs such as installing mechanical and electronic locks and security devices to protect their homes, businesses, and vehicles. In the field, locksmiths are able to repair locking devices, rekey locks, make keys, program key fobs or security cards, and unlock vehicles. Some locksmiths also specialize in the installation and repair of electronic alarms, surveillance cameras, and security systems. This may require additional training beyond the normal locksmith training.
Locksmiths typically offer their services available around the clock for homeowners and businesses who have an emergency when they accidentally lock themselves out of their vehicle or their lock malfunctions.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for a locksmith is $43,690. This can vary depending on where you live and the types of services you provide. It’s estimated that there are over 26,000 locksmiths in the United States. The number of jobs in this industry is expected to grow significantly over the next few decades as the demand for personal and private security increases. The multi-billion locksmith industry is expected to grow by about 3-5 percent every year.
Understand the Rules and Regulations Where You Live
Before we move on, it’s important to understand that the rules and regulations for becoming a locksmith will vary greatly depending on your state of residence. Each state has its own set of requirements around locksmith licensing, oversight, and regulations. Currently, there are only 15 states that require official licensing through the state. Other states don’t have licensing requirements but provide general guidelines for people working as locksmiths.
The information provided in this guide is general information and will apply to most situations. However, the actual requirements may differ slightly. Check your state’s website or talk to an experienced locksmith in your area to confirm the specific requirements that you must follow. If you live in the Aurora or Denver area, give Aurora Locksmith Services a call.
Each state has different requirements around how old you need to be to pursue a career in locksmithing. Many states have no age requirements at all. Others may require you to be 18 or 21 years old before you can be licensed or work in the field.
Take a Locksmith Training Course
Many areas require that locksmiths go through a formal training program before performing work for clients. Even if this isn’t a requirement in your area, a training course will give you a good understanding of the industry and common work practices. Also, having a credential or diploma from an accredited locksmith course will help demonstrate that you are qualified to perform the work. This is a great way to show credibility with clients and prospective employers and give them the peace of mind that you can be trusted with the job.
What Will You Learn in a Locksmith Training Course?
A locksmith training course will provide a comprehensive overview of the profession and cover topics such as an introduction to locksmithing, lockpicking, hardware and lock components, automotive lockouts, surveillance, and digital security systems, and an overview of local laws and codes.
What Type of Locksmith Training is Available?
Generally, there are two types of training programs available to aspiring locksmiths — online courses and in-person courses. Both course types will provide the equivalent level of training. However, in-person courses may be better suited for people who prefer hands-on learning or working in a classroom setting. If you are ok with working on your own, an online course will allow you to work at your own pace.
How Much Does Locksmith Training Cost?
The cost for online courses ranges from $400 to $1000. In-person courses are a little more expensive and range from $1,000 to $3,000. The cost of each course will depend on what is included in the price. For example, some courses will provide students with basic locksmith tools. Others required that you purchase your own tools separately. Also, some courses cover the cost of the final certification exam and/or licensing.
How Long Does Locksmith Training Take?
The training programs available can take a different amount of time to complete based on your goals and what the course has to offer. Some courses boast a fast full-time 5-day training while others can be done on a part-time basis and take 4-6 weeks to complete. Keep in mind that most locksmiths aren’t considered experienced until they have at least 3-4 years of real working experience. The training course will be just the beginning of your locksmith education and experience.
Where to Find a Locksmith Training Course
There are plenty of trade schools and universities that offer locksmith courses. A quick search online will yield dozens of options. You can also find a list of recommended courses through ALOA (Associated Locksmiths of America). In areas where a license or official training is not required, you could find a local locksmith that is willing to provide on-the-job training through an apprenticeship program.
Apply for Licensing (Where Required)
If you live in one of the states that require licensing, be sure to follow the steps that are listed on the state’s website. Some states simply require an application and a small fee. Other states have a more extensive licensing process that involves background checks, extensive reviews, and identification cards. This step is the most critical. The last thing you want is to get caught performing work without the proper licenses or approvals.
Pass a Background Check
Because you will be working closely with and having access to people’s personal property, many states require that locksmiths be able to pass a background check. If your state doesn’t require this, many employers do this on their own to ensure that their employees don’t have a criminal history.
Finding Work as a Locksmith
Once you have the training, certifications, and licensing you need to become a locksmith, you will need to find work. The three most common paths into the industry are apprenticeships, employment with a locksmith company, or starting your own locksmith business.
Most people start their careers as an apprentice. While the training you receive will cover the basics that you need to know before entering the field, it will likely take several years before you can be considered an expert. Start by reaching out to local locksmith companies and ask if they willing to take on an apprentice. On average, an apprenticeship can last 2-3 years.
You could also jump right into a full-time position working for a company in the industry. Many new locksmiths land positions at a locksmith, security, door hardware, or safe company. The benefit to this is that you don’t have to find your own clients or manage the actual business.
Become an Entrepreneur
The third option is to start your own locksmith company. This will require a lot of work if you are just starting out. You’ll need to set up the business and look for new clients. The advantage is that you can have better control over your work schedule. Start by offering your services to people and businesses you know. This is a great way to get some initial clients.
Join a Professional Locksmith Organization
As you grow your locksmith career and business, you will want to stay connected with people and organizations in the industry. Two popular organizations are the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) and the Society of Professional Locksmiths (SOPL). These groups are a great way to get access to continuing education, network with other professionals in the industry, and learn about new technologies and best practices impacting the locksmith business.
Go with the Locksmith Aurora Trusts
If you live in the Aurora or Denver area and are looking for a reputable locksmith, look no further than Aurora Locksmith Services. Our team of professionals is available 24 hours a day to help you with your automotive, residential, and commercial needs. We’re here to give you and your family the peace of mind to feel safe and secure.