- Locksmith & Home Security Technician
- Getting a career diploma in as little as 5 months.
- Gain experience with practical exercises and interactive assignments.
- Learn how to identify, create, and duplicate keys.
- Learn to work with several types of locks including safes, valuts, and auto.
- and more...
It’s usually wise to choose work you know you’ll enjoy on most days.
However, you also have bills and responsibilities, and you probably want to eat and put gas in your car.
A career as a locksmith could provide you the opportunity to improve your financial situation while not feeling trapped in a dead-end job.
Table of Contents
- 8 Popular Types of Locksmiths
- Are Locksmiths In Demand?
- How Much Do Locksmiths Make?
- Are There Online Locksmith Certification Programs?
- 5 Tips for Locksmiths Looking for a Job
- Key Takeaways
8 Popular Types of Locksmiths
Many situations also arise with electronic or wireless security systems that you’d need to resolve, depending on your chosen locksmithing track.
These eight popular types of locksmith positions all call for unique skill sets.
An auto locksmith would have knowledge of how to access an assorted array of vehicle makes and models.
Moreover, they need to know how to repair the door, gas, and ignition locks, and they need to duplicate keys when necessary.
From 2022 and beyond, you’ll also need some type of computer or electronic expertise.
This helps when dealing with people who have “chip” keys that won’t if they broke the “FOB” part of the key that would allow them to open their vehicle without a key.
A home locksmith would re-key doors or make ones for the current locks.
When hired in this role, you might also find the most logical, safe method of entry into a house armed by an electronic security alarm and has a combination lock or other keyless system.
You’d provide similar duties as would a residential (home) locksmith.
However, you might have to learn advanced solutions to the safe, vault, and biometric (fingerprint, eye, or hand) entry problems.
In this role, you’d have to replace damaged panels and maybe even repair minor electrical problems and replace parts.
Starting a locksmith business?
Read this: How to Start a Locksmith Business: An In-depth Series
You’d probably have to reset electronic employee entry badges in case of loss or theft.
It also would include many other duties that a business locksmith would perform, such as changing security system codes or repairing biometric or other keyless entry systems.
If major data breaches occur, you might end up installing or testing new systems.
You could respond to urgent locksmithing and security system maintenance situations when working for an emergency roadside assistance company, such as AAA.
Other emergency locksmith situations would include times when people have locked themselves out in the middle of the night after normal business hours.
You’d perhaps work for a bank or some other business that usually keeps a safe on the property as a safe technician.
You can find available positions in just about any public or private sector that requires secure access to valuable goods or cash.
Retail stores and restaurants or grocery stores include other examples but think about finding a job at a university or government agency too.
You maybe would work as a private detective solving criminal lock issues.
This may or may not include direct hire or self-employment.
Working as a forensic locksmith might also require some police science or security guard training, and it could involve becoming an assistant to a law enforcement agency that solves cybercrimes.
You might have miscellaneous duties at parks, where you would assist travelers with all types of lock emergencies.
Some of them, you perhaps haven’t yet thought of, such as opening suitcases for people who lost their luggage keys.
What’s more, maybe a customer left their keycard in a hotel room after hours and can’t get into their room.
Are Locksmiths In Demand?
The Recruiter website reports an estimated 3,320 new locksmithing job openings by 2029.
Most opportunities may involve making safe repairs, and this locksmithing sector may increase by a little more than two percent.
This should encourage you even though the Bureau of Labor Statistics sees a possible need decline of 2 percent after 2020.
Concerning this, the demand depends on what type of lock technician you decide to become and where you plan to work.
Locations With Most Locksmith Jobs
The BLS designated 10 places as the most saturated lock and safe repair technician job markets.
In 2020, these included as follows:
- The Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California Area
- Amarillo, Texas
- Bloomington, Illinois
- Eugene, Oregon
- West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami, Florida
- Hammonton and Atlantic City, New Jersey Areas
- Reno, Nevada
- Roanoke, Virginia
- The York-Hanover area in Pennsylvania
- Fayetteville, North Carolina
How Much Do Locksmiths Make?
Mean wages as reported by the BLS for 2020 total approximately $59,970 per year for the Hammonton and Atlantic City, New Jersey regions.
According to this raw calculation, that would make this United States location the place from the top 10 most locksmith-saturated locations where you could earn the most.
The U.S. salary for someone working in one of a variety of lock or security system repair roles ranges from $46,973-$61,041, with the average calculated at $54,145 as of January 2022.
Are There Online Locksmith Certification Programs?
Yes, you can find online locksmithing certification programs.
The best resource for seeking locksmith certifications online includes the Associated Locksmiths of America, also known as ALOA or Security Professionals Association.
You also can find information about online and in-person different programs offered at the Safe & Vaults Technicians Association website.
SAVTA is a division of ALOA.
You’ll find training schedules posted on the national locksmithing websites.
Furthermore, most states provide multiple locations for people seeking help with all issues pertaining to becoming a locksmith and operating as such.
Refer to this contact listing to find the locksmith association near you and learn more about upcoming training events.
Starting your training online could provide you with the advantage of accelerating the testing process.
This will qualify you faster to start your apprenticeship training.
Of course, you’ll not find it beneficial to try performing apprenticeship services online.
You’ll need to prove competency in key lock and key identifications, duplications, and other safety and security issues before securing gainful employment.
This will require some experience in person, so keep that in mind when seeking qualified training.
Locksmith Certifications Overview
When seeking online training, make sure you also learn more about the available licenses you can achieve.
The regulations differ by state, but they all usually require that you take an assessment before training to receive your first certificate.
First, achieving AFL l(ALOA Fundamental Locksmith) standing will prepare you to become an apprentice.
It also shows that you have received necessary safety training and that instructor has introduced you to the most fundamental lock and security issues you need to know to perform as a professional.
Three mid-tier locksmithing certifications offer you a variety of opportunities.
First, you would work towards a Certified Registered Locksmith license, also known as the “CRL.” You must pass all mandatory sections of your proficiency exam plus become competent in two elective areas to earn the CRL.
The second training completion results in earning The Certified Professional Locksmithing license, otherwise known as the CPL.
For this one, you would have already earned your CRL, and you must pass 12 additional elective testing classifications to earn the CPL.
Then, you would move on to obtaining your Certified Master Locksmith license, which also is called the “CML.”
To earn a CML, you need to show that you can handle at least 90 percent of what you learned in your training.
This includes every lock and key-making or repair duty you practiced at the first two licensing levels.
Then, you earn the CML when you have also shown competency in dealing with a variety of wireless and electronic security issues.
Two More Licensing Opportunities
Additional licensing opportunities involve training to become either a Certified Professional Safe or Certified Master Safe Technician, two certifications otherwise known as the CPS or CMST.
Your CPS training should make you proficient in 17 additional safe, vault, and security categories.
The CMST takes all your security training to the highest level you can currently go to until new technology classes emerge.
As technology evolves, you may also need to periodically take new courses to update your skills even if you have achieved the highest locksmithing certification there is.
For instance, you perhaps haven’t yet received training in the latest handprint or face technology used to open highly classified security vaults.
5 Tips for Locksmiths Looking for a Job
Staying current with your education will remain a priority throughout your locksmithing career.
However, you also need to gain as much on-the-job experience as you can, even if it means taking on entry-level positions for now.
1. Learn Alternate Job Title Names
When seeking locksmithing jobs, you’ll want to consider alternate names for the duties you would perform.
For instance, you can find positions as a Key Maker, Lock and Vault Mechanic, Safe Technician, or similar.
Some roles may involve assisting a licensed professional, but it does provide you a “foot in the door” if you have a passion for security and lock problem-solving.
2. Consider Hardware Store Positions
Even if some locations now have self-service key duplication kiosks, not everyone understands how to make them.
Therefore, customers might need you to guide them in the process.
This experience will especially serve as a steppingstone while still in training.
Hardware stores or home improvement centers also might hire entry-level key makers who may want to further their locksmithing training.
3. Don’t Procrastinate The Job Search
You don’t need to wait until you’ve reached the topmost locksmithing level to search for a job.
In fact, you could put “feelers” out there while still hired on as an apprentice.
Start navigating the ALOA or local association classified ads, and maybe try local security companies.
Practice interviews could also help, or you could ask local HR directors what qualifications their company looks for.
Of course, you can gain additional insight into the locksmith career outlook as you browse online jobs to find out how to qualify.
4. Keep Proof of Licensing With You
Having your proof of licensing when interviewing for jobs shows that you have taken the steps to qualify yourself for prestigious locksmithing positions.
If you have one or more certificates, employers or customers will know you “did your homework” for your state.
After all, you can’t secure a locksmithing job unless you’ve demonstrated completion of an approved locksmith training program.
Besides, you also must pass a rigorous FBI background check before applying for that license.
5. Research High-Demand Listings
You might not find any leads in your immediate area if it’s a small town not even on the map.
However, you could perhaps find opportunities within 30 minutes of you.
In addition, you could try in-house locksmithing work for a manufacturing plant, where people often accidentally forget to remove key locks.
Other changes for earning might exist within schools, hospitals, at police stations, and more.
How long does locksmith training take?
It depends on what type of locksmith you want to become.
It could take as little time as a few months on up to more than three years.
What’s the first licensing level?
The first licensing level is the Certified Registered Locksmith (CRL) level.
Can I work on my own with just an AFL?
No, you cannot work on your own yet.
You can achieve AFL status, which allows you to work under a licensed professional.
Then, you have to obtain your CRL.
Do I need a state license to be a locksmith?
You either need one to run your business, specifically for locksmithing, or both.
- Seek locksmithing training relevant to your state.
- Make sure you take approved locksmithing courses.
- Look for jobs before you complete your apprenticeship.
- Keep learning new skills to succeed.
- Watch out for the highest need categories to find locksmithing jobs.
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