How to Become a Locksmith Guide 2020 (Apprenticeships, Degrees & Training)
A career in locksmithing can be rewarding and challenging for individuals who enjoy working with their hands. While a less obvious career choice than others, locksmithing remains important and relevant in society today. The skills of locksmiths are sought-after by multiple industries, and are adaptable to other types of trades.
Those interested in locksmithing as a career follow a short educational path and are able to start working in the field quickly. Read on to learn whether locksmithing is right for you.
What Does a Modern Locksmith Do?
Before pursuing the education required for locksmithing, make sure the duties align with your interests and strengths. Below are some of the top duties of locksmiths in most industries.
Duties of a Career Locksmith
A locksmith’s main job duties differ from day-to-day, but most locksmiths usually perform some or all of the following:
- Make and duplicate keys
- Repair and install locks for homes and businesses
- Assist customers locked out of vehicles or homes, or respond to other security emergencies
- Install electric security systems, depending on qualifications
- Advertise business and skills if self-employed
Locksmith Equipment Required for the Job
Locksmiths work with a range of small tools and metal parts depending on the specific work they are doing. Key cutters, programmers and small hardware like screwdrivers, pliers, tweezers, and lock picks are used frequently.
Locksmithing has evolved with technology and now involves computer programs and electronic security devices. Grasping both traditional and modernized approaches to locksmithing is therefore highly beneficial in today’s market
- PACKAGE INCLUDE: 17 tools + 2 locks + 4 keys + 1 Instruction;
- Various tools: torsion wrench, short hook, medium hook, saw (or "L") rake, snake (or "C") rake, etc;
- 2 Transparent locks included and very easy to use;
Additional Skill Requirements of Locksmithing – What’s Good to Have?
Success as a locksmith depends largely on your skills and personality traits. Below are a few of the most important skills and characteristics that modern locksmiths possess.
1) Manual dexterity and understanding of mechanics
Due to the nature of locksmithing, manual dexterity and an understanding of the trade’s mechanics are essential. Locksmiths work with very small parts for long hours of the day and may work on various projects in one work day.
Being able to jump from one project to another with mental ease will help you perform your job duties effectively.
2) Problem solving skills
Because locksmiths are trained to repair and install a number of different components, a strong ability to problem solve is vital to locksmithing.
Many locksmiths are called for emergency repairs or called to assist people who are locked out of a vehicle or residence, and these situations require calm, rational problem solving.
3) Interest in digital technology
As locksmithing becomes increasingly modernized, it is important to stay up to date on technological innovations in the field. Attending training or conferences to keep up on the digitalization of locksmithing will help you and your business remain relevant.
Becoming familiar with computer programs and updates will continue to gain importance as locksmithing modernizes.
4) Customer service skills
Because many locksmiths are business-owners, work in retail settings, or provide emergency services, they come into contact with many customers throughout the work day.
Understanding basic customer service and being able to interact with people from all walks of life therefore highly important.
5) Business skills if self-employed
Self-employment is common in the locksmithing industry. If you are planning on running your own business, hone some basic business skills and consider using social media to your advantage. Small businesses thrive when they have a beautiful, functional website and a few social media accounts for customers to follow and share.
Again, if you live in an area that requires licensure for locksmithing, secure a license and operate your business according to the rules of your state or country.
Education Paths for Locksmiths – Where to Begin?
There is no one educational path for those interested in becoming a locksmith. Choose the option that works best for your unique situation.
It is important to note that some states in the US require locksmiths to be licensed. Research your state’s requirements and gain licensure if it is required.
1) On the Job Training
Many aspiring locksmiths learn the trade on the job with nothing more than a high school diploma. Gain real experience working for a small locksmithing business or in a hardware store. This option is great for people who want to dive into real-world, hands-on learning while getting paid.
On the job training can take as little as three months to complete or as long as four years, depending on who is teaching you. If you are a quick study and are comfortable with a fast-paced learning environment, on the job training might be a perfect fit for you.
2) Professional Programs & Degrees
The other option for learning locksmithing is enrolling in a training program or degree program. Several schools in the United States offer locksmithing and security training programs.
Penn Foster Career School, for example, has a Locksmith and Home Security Technician program that teaches the fundamentals of the trade and prepares students for a career with an established locksmithing business or as a self-employed contractor.
Do research on programs near you and make sure that the program offers training in the specific components of locksmithing that are of interest to you. Online programs can be completed at an individualized pace, but lack real-world training. Also keep in mind that training programs can be expensive.
Estimated tuition at the school mentioned previously is $750-$925. On the job training is a great option for money-conscious individuals.
Where Will You Work as a Locksmith?
Locksmithing continues to be an important skill around the world. Modernized countries are seeing a technological advancement of locksmithing and electronic security as threats to businesses and residences also become more advanced. Because we all need keys, lock installation or repair, and security devices, locksmiths can be found working worldwide.
Locksmiths usually work in small, independently operated workshops, retail hardware stores, or for institutions like universities, hospitals, or government facilities. These workspaces are usually clean, organized, and stocked with a range of tools needed for various jobs.
Locksmiths spend a good amount of time driving to different job locations, especially if they provide emergency services.
Average Salary and Working Hours of Locksmiths
The salary and working requirements of locksmiths can be quite varied depending on where you live and the work that you do. However, there are general salary estimates and working hour requirements that pertain to most locksmiths working around the world today.
What’s a Locksmiths Salary?
In the United States, the median salary of locksmiths is around $41,000 with the lowest paid locksmiths making $25,000 and experienced locksmiths making $67,000. There is room for salary growth within this field, and salaries differ depending on location, training, and the type of locksmithing performed.
What are a Locksmiths Working Hours?
Most locksmiths work 40 to 48 hours per week. Small business owners or locksmiths who respond to emergencies may work longer hours.
Career Prospects for Locksmiths & Locksmithing
Locksmithing is a great career option for people who enjoy working with their hands, problem solving, and using technology. Understanding the growth trends of locksmithing is important when considering pursuing a career in this field.
Data reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that employment in locksmithing is expected to grow by 7% between 2012 and 2022. Although this is below average when compared to all other occupations in the United States, keep in mind that this statistic is only for the US and may be different in other parts of the world. Locksmithing is still a growing occupation, it is just a bit slower than other, more popular occupations.
If you are passionate about locksmithing, do not let growth trends stand in your way of educating yourself and gaining experience. Locksmiths are always needed and the modernization of the field means that there are plenty of opportunities available in electronic security.
Preparing for a Locksmithing Career (Things You Can Do Right Now!)
While some sort of traditional education is oftentimes required to become a blacksmith, there are things you can do right now to jumpstart your journey into blacksmithing as a career or passion project. The possibilities are as varied as the items you will be crafting, but here are a few especially helpful ones.
1) Get a job at a local hardware store or locksmithing shop
The best way to prepare for a career in locksmithing is to get first-hand experience in the field. Check your local hardware store for openings, inquire at locksmith businesses, or choose a job in a related field. Your work could involve on the job training as described previously.
Plus, you can decide whether locksmithing is the right career for you without making a commitment to a training program. Your employer will likely have tips for progressing in locksmithing and running a business.
2) Reading & Research
Spend some of your free time researching education paths, job requirements, businesses in your area, salaries, and other aspects of locksmithing before you jump into training. Read about the history of the trade and familiarize yourself with the tools and responsibilities.
The more you know now, the easier it will be to move forward in the process of becoming a locksmith!
- McGraw-Hill Education
- Phillips, Bill (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
Are You Ready to Be A Locksmith?
Locksmithing is a great choice for those wanting a less conventional occupation in an evolving field. Hopefully this article gave you some useful insights and advice into locksmithing and its important place in society today.