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September 15, 2019

 

How To Become A Locksmith

Review the steps it takes to launch a locksmith career, and take a look at the industry outlook for those entering the field.

If you have a clean criminal record and an interest in helping people who’ve lost keys or need to change locks, you might want to look into becoming a professional locksmith. For prospective locksmiths ready to unlock a new and rewarding career, we’ve compiled some convenient tips.

Unlock a New Career

Becoming a locksmith generally requires a license. You will likely have to take an exam before you can begin serving customers. The specific requirements differ by state and local area, so make sure you find out what your state requires. Generally, you’ll also need a clean criminal record to get started (since you’ll have the ability to unlock private homes, businesses, and vehicles). Follow up with your city and state to see about business licensing, registration for tax purposes, etc. as needed. 

Salary, Outlook, and Working Conditions

According to Zip Recruiter, locksmiths make an average hourly wage of $18 an hour, with a range between $9.13 and $27.64. On an annual basis, this represents a salary of $38,069. Of course, locksmiths can potentially make more with additional experience. Starting and operating your own locksmith business may allow you to increase your pay even further. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the locksmith profession to grow, so those entering the industry should find work and possibly even an opportunity to open a new locksmith business. 

Working conditions for locksmiths are hard to pin down. You could respond to someone who accidentally locked themselves out of a car, forgot their keys in the house, or can’t get their key to work in the middle of the night. Locksmiths sometimes work in adverse weather conditions and serve customers in unusual settings. For many locksmiths, the bulk of new business concerns installing and repairing locks, but you’ll still likely get called upon in everything from a crisis situation to instances of minor inconvenience. 

As such, you’ll also encounter people in stages of stress. People who need locksmith services are often frustrated and tired. In some cases, these people may take out their frustration on you. Locksmith work will involve elements of customer service, so you need to consider this before plunging into the industry. 

What It Takes to Become a Locksmith

The official requirements to become a locksmith differ depending on where you work, but here are the general steps involved: 

  • Age and eligibility: Locksmiths must meet the age requirements (usually 18 or 21) in order to get licensed and start working. 
  • Clean criminal record: Since locksmiths hold the proverbial keys to the city, they must be trustworthy people. One of the ways your state may determine this is through a background check. (In some circumstances, you may apply for an exception to this.)
  • Training: Different states have different training requirements. You may need an apprenticeship or certification courses. 
  • Licensing: Your state may have a certification and licensing process. This can be as simple as filling out an application and picking up your license, but some states may outline other specific requirements (including an exam). 
  • Business licensing: If you start a new locksmith business, you’ll probably need a business license before you can begin working. 

Assuming you’ve successfully cleared that first set of requirements, consider these important questions: 

  • Are you fascinated by lock mechanisms? Locksmiths devote their careers to installing, maintaining, and opening locks, so you better find the basic process interesting. 
  • Do you have basic mechanical knowledge? An aptitude for handiness will serve you well.
  • Are you comfortable working in a variety of conditions, including adverse weather? Those seeking the comfort of office jobs should probably find such work instead.
  • Do you want to work on strictly mobile assignments, or would you rather have a storefront? Either route represents a viable option, so think about what your long term plans include.
  • Will you specialize or be a generalist? For instance, there are automotive locksmiths, commercial locksmiths, etc. 

In all likelihood, you won’t becoming a locksmith overnight. More than likely, you’ll need to go through substantial training and practice to improve your craft and professional skills. As you grow, new career opportunities in your field may attract your attention. 

When considering a training program to become a locksmith, keep in mind that your state may allow you to complete such training online. Research your options and find the right school for you. 

Online Locksmith Schools

To give yourself a head start, consider one of these online training programs: 

  1. Ashworth College: An online locksmith course you can take for $749 and complete quickly. 
  2. Locksmith and Home Security Technician Program by Penn Foster 
  3. Stratford Career Institute: Take an online locksmith course for under $1,000. Price includes textbooks.

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