What Does a Locksmith Do?

Locksmiths provide numerous services to customers who need assistance with locks, keys, safes, and electronic alarms. Read on to learn more about the skills, training, and education you'll need to become a locksmith. Schools offering Locksmithing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Locksmiths provide various services related to keys, locks, and electronic devices that safeguard property. According to the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA, www.aloa.org), some locksmiths work with keys, using a machine to cut and copy keys for customers. Others install or repair locks, deadbolts, and safes. To repair a lock, a locksmith must take it apart, examine it, and adjust or replace its parts. Some locksmiths work with electronic alarm systems. They design, install, and maintain the computer systems used to monitor and guard property. There are also locksmiths who strictly provide emergency service to customers who can't gain access to their cars or homes.

Important Facts About Locksmiths

On-the-Job Training Long-term through place of employment
Similar Occupations Safe repairers
Work Environment Mostly outdoors, on call at any point during the day, may work in inclement weather
Required Education High school diploma or equivalent

Required Skills

To understand how various locks work, locksmiths need both mathematical and mechanical know-how. Because locksmiths' work can often be very precise, it also helps to have a good attention to detail. When clients turn to locksmiths, they must be able to trust these professionals. It's important that a locksmith be dependable, honest, accurate, and reliable. Locksmiths need various additional skills, including:

  • Good depth perception and eyesight
  • Coordination and dexterity
  • Knowledge of various key and locks
  • Skill to work quickly and accurately under pressure

Education and Training

ALOA reports that some states require locksmiths to be licensed. According to ALOA, on-the-job training has historically been the method for teaching the trade. These programs offer classroom and practical instruction and can take three months to four years to complete, reports ALOA. Additionally, various colleges and state and national professional organizations like ALOA offer locksmith training and certificate programs. The City University of New York (CUNY) offers a locksmith certificate program. According to CUNY, www.cuny.edu, the 90-hour program teaches locksmith essentials and prepares students to own their own business, work for a security company, and more.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of locksmiths and safe repairers is expected to grow by about 7% between 2012 and 2022. The BLS also reported the average annual salary earned by such specialists as $38,600 in May 2014.

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