Do you have a knack for solving problems and want to assist people in securing their homes and businesses?
You can start a rewarding career by becoming a professional locksmith.
A locksmith career involves picking locks and creating keys. But it also requires paying attention to details, a desire to help people, and possessing the right technical skills.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through how to become a locksmith.
- An Overview of Locksmith: A Primer
- What You’ll Need to Become a Locksmith [& Associated Costs]
- Is it Hard to Become a Locksmith?
- How to Become a Locksmith in 4 Simple Steps
- Reasons to Consider Becoming a Locksmith
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Similar Gigs to Check Out
- Wrapping Up
An Overview of Locksmith: A Primer
Locksmiths help people gain access to their houses, offices, or cars if they’ve lost their keys. They also install, repair, and maintain locks for residential and commercial buildings.
They play a critical role in ensuring the safety of people because if properties aren’t properly locked, they become prone to burglary.
A locksmith may generalize or specialize in different areas, such as forensic, industrial, commercial, residential, or automotive.
Besides lock installation and cutting keys, locksmiths perform other duties, from advising customers to writing quotations, bookkeeping, and completing paperwork. They liaise with suppliers, contractors, the security industry, and tradesmen.
Locksmiths should have good knowledge of lock styles, changing the configuration of pin-and-tumbler locks, installing security systems, and using hand tools and equipment.
They should possess excellent hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, mechanical abilities, and people skills since they’ll work with various customers.
A locksmith can work in a locksmith company or start a locksmith business and become self-employed. They may also become freelancers, taking up a part-time locksmithing job in local locksmith companies or recruitment agencies.
How Much Do Locksmiths Make?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a locksmith is $47,400 per year.
The amount may vary widely from state to state based on certain essential factors. A locksmith in Texas earns $31.81 per hour, while another in Arizona earns $27.08
The determining factors include locksmith training, locksmith certification, years of experience, and additional skills.
What You’ll Need to Become a Locksmith [& Associated Costs]
Becoming a locksmith has specific requirements, including:
- Formal Education: Locksmithing is intellectually stimulating, requiring the ability to solve problems. You need to complete high school or GED and obtain a diploma as proof that you’ve undertaken basic mathematics courses and acquired excellent problem-solving skills. According to Educate Tree, the average cost of attending a private high school is $36,880 per annum, while a public school costs $12,756.
- Certification: Enrolling in locksmith training programs offers access to industry resources and skills required to get started. It’d be worth finding a training program that offers certification. This may cost between $400 to $3,000.
- Tools and Equipment: Locksmiths work with tools like a car key kit, an installation kit, drills, a wrench, safety gloves, protective footwear, and eye protection. These could cost between $300 to $2,000.
- Locksmith License: Locksmiths require proper licensing to practice in most states. But in states where it isn’t a requirement, cities and counties make provisional laws. Examples include New York City, Washington, and Florida. The cost of a locksmith license is between $50 to $500, renewable yearly or biennially.
How Much Does It Cost to Become a Locksmith?
The cost of becoming a locksmith depends on whether you’ve obtained a high school diploma or not since it’s a basic requirement for taking up a locksmith position in a locksmith company.
You’ll spend an estimated $150,000 if you choose a private school or $52,000 if you choose a public school.
If you’re setting up a locksmith business, you’ll make investments like insurance, which could cost around $50 per month. And it’s a requirement for becoming a licensed locksmith.
Is it Hard to Become a Locksmith?
Becoming a locksmith is a challenging career. It requires dedication, focus, and continuous learning. But if you’re passionate about becoming a registered locksmith, you can overcome these challenges.
For starters, a professional locksmith should be willing to respond to emergencies at odd hours and travel long distances, even in bad weather.
They should also be open to a dynamic working environment because no two situations will be the same. They should be calm and speak reassuringly when customers sound frantic over the phone because they’re locked out.
As much as locksmiths are passionate about helping people, they should be careful to check that the stranded person lives at the said address or owns the vehicle in which they’re locked out.
Some documents to check are a driver’s license and a valid ID. This ensures that they stay within the confines of the law while discharging their duties.
Self-employed locksmiths may face more challenges, especially as they’re new in the industry, and it may be difficult to get customers immediately.
They may also have to do more voluntary work and stay on call for more than 48 hours weekly to build trust and let people know they exist.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Locksmith?
If you’ve obtained a high school diploma, it’ll take between three months to three years to become a licensed locksmith. This depends on the type of training program and locksmith license approval process.
A locksmith training course may take between five to 20 weeks. But if you’re getting hands-on training through apprenticeship, you may spend between two to three years.
In states that require a locksmith license, you need to pass a certification exam and do a background check, which could take up to six weeks.
How to Become a Locksmith in 4 Simple Steps
If you’re ready to embark on this exciting journey, here are the steps on how to become a locksmith:
Step 1: Enroll in Locksmith Training
After completing high school, you should get the required training for becoming a locksmith by taking online courses or signing up for an in-person course.
You can find a list of locksmith training facilities in your local phone book.
The Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) provides approved training programs and resources for continuing education. It also organizes a certification exam for associated locksmiths, such as automotive locksmith, a certified master safe tech, and a registered locksmith.
Although some employers don’t demand certification, it can increase your income significantly.
Other places to get locksmith training include vocational schools, community colleges, and a licensed locksmith school in your state.
Step 2: Get Hands-On Experience
In addition to the regular locksmith training, you should undergo at most a two-year apprenticeship with a licensed locksmith.
It offers an opportunity for you to work closely with a professional in the industry, enabling you to learn the tricks of the trade, including how to successfully run a locksmith business.
Although you may not get paid during an apprenticeship, you’ll gain the required training and experience that’ll prepare you for better job prospects.
You can also specialize in certain niches like auto locksmith and exclusively work on vehicles.
Step 3: Obtain a License
If your state requires locksmith licensing, you should check the eligibility requirements.
They can include passing a background check, completing approved locksmith training programs, and passing a certification exam.
A certified automotive locksmith and other registered locksmiths should get an excellent grade in one of the mandatory categories, such as identifying key blanks, professional key unlocking techniques, and servicing a lockset.
If you’re starting your own business, you should consider getting a business license to meet the legal requirements.
Step 4: Apply for Locksmithing Jobs
You can find locksmithing jobs online on job boards and recruiting sites like LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter. Ensure your resume highlights the skills you learned during your locksmith training.
You should also contact local locksmith companies to find out whether they’re hiring. Some companies still prefer to advertise job openings by word of mouth or recommendations from employees.
Other places to look for work include hardware stores, manufacturers of security equipment, and large organizations like hospitals, universities, and government agencies.
Reasons to Consider Becoming a Locksmith
With the advancement in technology, locksmiths now handle highly secured and computer-operated locking systems.
If this appeals to you, here are other benefits of becoming a registered locksmith:
- Flexibility and Versatility: You can choose to work for a locksmith company or start a locksmith business. Also, you can specialize as an automotive locksmith, a commercial locksmith, or a generalist, offering mobile locksmithing services.
- Dynamic Work Environment: A locksmithing job is an adventure that presents a wide range of tasks every day. You’ll handle different projects, from unlocking simple locks to installing complex security systems, which prevents monotony.
- Continuing Education: Locksmithing is an ever-changing field. This means that you’ll keep learning and exploring to keep abreast of new tools and techniques in the security industry and grow your expertise.
- Financial Reward: Locksmiths are well-paid. Your fees go higher if you have a locksmith license and when you become an experienced locksmith.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who’s the Target Market for a Locksmith Business?
A locksmith business serves a variety of individuals and businesses aiming to secure commercial and residential properties. The target market includes gyms, renters, corporations, government agencies, homeowners, and landlords.
How Much Should a Locksmith Charge Customers?
A locksmith may charge between $50 to $300 for unlocking automotive locks in the middle of the night and an average of $150 for residential locks.
Depending on the model of the car, an automotive locksmith may charge $50-$600 for specialized services like replacing car locks, rekeying the ignition, and installing a new keypad.
Similar Gigs to Check Out
If you think becoming a locksmith is too rigorous or doesn’t fit into your dream career, here are other careers that are suitable if you love helping people:
- How to Become a Plumber: Clogged pipes and drains can be a nuisance, but plumbers always come to the rescue. You should check out our guide to becoming a professional plumber.
- How to Become a Property Manager: Busy landlords don’t have to sweat it when a property manager can assist them in collecting rent and overseeing properties. You should read this article to find out how to tow this career path.
- How to Become a Security Guard: If you’re not securing locks, you could secure homes and company buildings. This article shows you how to get started.
Now that you know the details of how to become a locksmith, would you be willing to give it a try? It’s a career that rewards you financially and brings a sense of satisfaction.
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