How to Become a Locksmith

Today, the locksmiths are well-equipped with advanced technological equipment providing much more than the traditional services for installing, maintaining, and repairing locks and electronic entrances and making keys.

How To Become A Locksmith


Educational Qualifications

First of all, one has to earn a high school diploma or get your General Education Development or General Education Diploma (GED). Although, you must have a high school diploma To become a qualified locksmith, according to the official documents of the City Of Philadelphia Personnel Department, for becoming a locksmith, only the education equivalent to completion of the eighth school grade is required by the city.

In other cases, you have got to sign up for a GED class in your area and complete the coursework if you have not finished high school. Then, after taking the final exam to pass the class and earning your certificate, it may be quite easier for you to find a job if you have a college degree, but you’ll still need to get proper certification.


Vocational Schools

Moreover, it is highly advisable to attend a vocational school to get formal training in the locksmithing field. After getting your GED or high school diploma, you can surf the Internet to find a vocational school near you with a locksmith program. After signing up, paying the tuition fees, and enrolling in your classes, you have to spend about 1-2 years to gain knowledge about the construction, repair, and installation of locks as well as technological crafting of keys. Typically, most of the locksmithing programs also cover other security issues such as theft deterrence, electronic locks, and surveillance.

Although, the vocational schools usually cost somewhere between $10,000 and $30,000, it is worthwhile to help you get certified and find work after your graduation.


Ask Yourself Questions

You’ve got to ask yourself various questions and find their answers on your own:


Skills & Interests

There are two prominent ways to venture into the locksmithing industry:

Becoming Self-Employed 

For becoming a self-employed locksmith, on top of locksmithing skills, you will need exceptional business skills such as accounts, marketing, and general business knowledge.

Working for an Established Locksmith Company

Here, you would only have to concentrate on your locksmithing skills including carpentry, mechanical engineering, social skills, etc.


Services To Offer As A Locksmith

Think about what kind of locksmithing services you are going to or want to offer and more importantly what sort of these services are required by your target customers. You could narrow down major locksmithing categories as follows:

  • Auto Locksmith- Will you be working on vehicles)?
  • Safe Engineers- Are security safes your forte?
  • Office locksmith – Would you like installing and repairing access control, alarms, etc?
  • Domestic Services- Is working on 24 emergency lockouts, security upgrades, etc your specialty?

How And Where To Get Locksmith Certification


Prerequisite Knowledge Before Applying For Certification


For entering the locksmithing business, you will need to possess both mathematical and mechanical ability such as having excellent eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, vision, and spatial perception. You will have to understand lock and key specifications, operating manuals, and have a basic knowledge of metalworking, electronic and mechanical drawing. Mostly, your on-the-job training is obtained either through an apprenticeship or through employee training programs. However, it can also involve a balanced amalgamation of training and classroom experiences. A variety of online and in-person locksmithing schools and training programs can be found on the website of Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA).

Individuals who want to enroll themselves in a locksmithing training program have to take different courses covering different topics such as key duplication, rekeying, key blank identification, basic master keying, key impressioning, codes and code equipment, automotive locks, safe and vault locks, professional lock opening techniques, home, and business security systems and high-security locks, just to name a few. 


Requirements for Licensure and Certification


In addition to showing both your employers and clients that you are qualified and reliable, commercial locksmiths are also advised to obtain voluntary certification to show that they have met the high standards of experience and training required by some services. Moreover, a lot of states require the locksmiths to pass a criminal history check which demands proof that they are employed by a licensed locksmith.


Which Voluntary Certifications Are Available


Other than obtaining a license, locksmiths can also pursue voluntary certifications that, when completed successfully, recognizes the professionalism and proficiency of the locksmith with a designation. Individuals who go through the Associated Locksmiths of America training courses can receive certifications for various levels of expertise including Certified Registered Locksmith (CRL), Certified Professional Locksmith (CPL), Certified Master Locksmith (CML) and Certified Automotive Locksmith (CAL). 

According to the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) website, to become a Certified Registered Locksmith, one must achieve a passing grade of at least 70%+ on the mandatory section which includes ten categories and two specialized electives of choice. The mandatory categories for this are cylinder servicing, key duplication, professional lock opening techniques, lockset servicing, cabinet, furniture and mailbox locks, lockset functions, basic master keying, key impressioning, key blank identification, and codes and code equipment. For the two electives of choice, there are twenty-six categories to choose from which can be seen here but include topics like safe combination locks, keyless mechanical locks, alarms, and time locks.






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