How Do I Become a Professional Locksmith?

Research what it takes to become a locksmith. Learn about job duties, education requirements, employment outlook and average wages to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Locksmithing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Locksmiths use their knowledge to install, modify and repair locks for automobiles, homes and businesses. The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required High school diploma or equivalent
Licensure/Certification Vocational programs and certifications are available
Key Responsibilities Repair and open locks, copy keys, install and repair safes
Job Growth (2012-22) 7% (slower than average growth)*
Average Salary (2014) $40,620*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Job Duties of a Locksmith?

As a locksmith, you are mainly responsible for installing, modifying and repairing locking mechanisms for automobiles, homes and businesses. You may also make duplicate keys or rekey locks for lost or stolen keys. For customers who have accidentally locked themselves out of their property, you can be called upon to find the best way to pick, bypass or disassemble that lock. Depending on your level of experience, you may also install and service electronic security systems.

Consider Your Education Options

As an aspiring locksmith, you may want to develop good hand-eye coordination and spatial reasoning abilities early on. You can pursue high school courses in mathematics, mechanical drawing, basic electronics and physics to hone these skills. You may need to have a high school diploma for some entry-level locksmith positions.

According to the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA), you can acquire professional, on-the-job training by working with an experienced locksmith ( Depending on your chosen area of expertise, your training can take anywhere from a few months to four years to complete. You may also want to make sure that your mentor possesses a locksmith certification or license.

You may also take locksmith training courses at a community college or technical school before or during your on-the-job training. These programs can typically be completed in several months, and may cover key identification, lock picking, combination locks, safe penetration, key duplication, automotive locksmithing and master key systems. Alternatively, you can use these courses to meet continuing education requirements if you decide to earn a locksmith certification.

Do I Have to Be Licensed or Certified?

You may need to be licensed as a practicing locksmith is some states, which usually requires passing a background check and an examination. Even in states without licensing requirements, you may want to earn a locksmith certification to establish your credibility and help your chances of career advancement. Professional locksmith organizations, such as the ALOA, offer multiple levels of certification. You are required to pass a written examination for each level and meet continuing education requirements to maintain your certification (

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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