How to Become a Locksmith
Locksmith Job Description
Skills and Qualities of a Locksmith
Salaries for Locksmiths
Influential Professional Locksmiths
Leading Organizations for Locksmiths
Top Cities for Locksmith Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Locksmith

A locksmith is someone in the business of designing and fitting together keys and locks. Becoming a locksmith requires special training. This training is available through many different trade schools and programs. In addition to completing these courses, locksmiths often receive on the job training in an apprenticeship that can last between one and twelve months. After this period of on the job training, the prospective locksmith would be expected to complete their certification by passing a certification exam. Additionally, in some states, locksmiths must be licensed.

What does a Locksmith do?

Locksmiths install, repair, adjust, and open locks. They also change lock combinations and make keys. Many locksmiths work in locksmith shops. Some own their own shop. Locksmiths may also work in department stores, hardware stores, safe and lock manufacturers, large industrial plants, and government agencies.

Locksmiths also serve as advisors for home and business owners interested in upgrading their security. They generally sell and install the devices that they recommend to these customers. They also teach customers how to properly use their locks and keys.

An average workday of a locksmith will often consist of answering calls from customers who need assistance because they have locked themselves out of their car, home or business. When answering the call, the locksmith will either pick the lock or create a duplicate key. Locksmith's can also be called on to open combination locks. They do this by turning the dial and determining when the tumblers fall into place or by using a high-powered drill to drill through the lock.

In the course of their work, locksmiths use a variety tools to ply their trade. These tools can include lock picks, screwdrivers, pliers and tweezers, as well as various hand and power tools.

According to data provided by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for locksmiths is excellent. In fact, they project the number of locksmith jobs to increase by 22.1% between 2006 and 2016.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Locksmith?

Generally, no college is required to become a locksmith though employers do usually prefer high school graduates. Additionally, an educational background in math, machine shop, and mechanical drawing can be useful.

Locksmiths often work out of small shops or out of their trucks when they are making house calls. For this reason, organizational skills can be very important. Also, because of the nature of their work, good hand-eye coordination is necessary. Most locksmiths are very good with their hands. Dexterity in the fingers and hands are especially important. Locksmiths should be comfortable working outdoors and under various weather conditions.

Another consideration is that most locksmiths work directly with customers at least part of the time, so interpersonal skills are a plus.

How much do Locksmiths make?

The median annual salary for a locksmith is $32,858. Of course, there are a variety of factors that can affect a locksmith's salary. Some of these include years of experience, special skills or training, and the city where the locksmith works. Locksmiths in large cities tend to earn more per hour than locksmiths working in small cities or rural areas. The number of hours and times that a locksmith works can significantly affect their earnings as well. Many locksmiths work a 40-48 hour work week during standard business hours in exchange for a standard salary. Others choose to work after standard hours (usually after 5:00 PM local time) or on weekends. These locksmiths can earn a premium and sometimes double the hourly rate of their brethren.

Some locksmiths choose to set-up their own shop. This can be lucrative but it can also be a lot of work. These locksmiths often work 80 hours per week or more. It can sometimes be difficult to gauge earnings for shop owners as they don't always pay themselves a salary.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Ken Kupferman is the proprietor of Affordable Security Solutions in Tampa, Fl. He is also the President of Associated Locksmiths of America which is "an international association of security professionals."

Greg Mango is the editor of "The National Locksmith", which is an online magazine with sections available for the public and for member locksmiths. He has been a member of the locksmith industry for over twenty years.

In general, many locksmiths tend to prefer to stay out of the limelight. While many locksmiths are well known within their own professional circles, there are not a lot of publicly well-known locksmiths.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

As previously mentioned, Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) is an international organization that provides valuable information to the public and special exclusive benefits to their members.

The New York Association of In-house Locksmiths, Inc. is "a non-profit educational locksmith association for locksmiths working 'in-house'. Our members are employed by educational facilities, hospitals, corporations, institutions, hotels and government agencies in the greater New York City area." They frequently provide training and seminars to their members at low or no cost to the locksmith so they can keep their skill sets current.

Schneider Locksmith is a large renowned locksmith service based in New York City that is highly respected throughout the northeast. They serve customers in the largest metropolis in the nation 24 hours a day.

There are many regional locksmith associations throughout the country. Examples include the Texas Locksmiths Association (, Missouri - Kansas Locksmiths Association (, and The Greater Philadelphia Locksmith Association (, just to name a few.

What are the top cities for Locksmith jobs?

Top cities for locksmith jobs include Charlotte (North Carolina), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), and Dallas (Texas). Additionally, most large cities have an abundance of locksmith shops including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago.

Other Careers of Interest

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