How to Become a Locksmith

Locksmiths provide a wide range of services related to locks, keys, as well as other home or business security and access control devices.

Examples of what a locksmith may do on a typical day at work include helping a customer choose the best lock for their front door, install new locks at a business location that just opened, cut additional keys, rekey a lock and repair a home lock that is malfunctioning and doesn’t close properly.

One of the main reasons why individuals and business owners contact a locksmith is when they’re locked out of their home, commercial property or vehicle. Locksmiths can open the door for them and provide them with replacement keys if they lost every set they had.


While most of the work done by a locksmith still involves traditional mechanical locks and keys, many now provide service for more modern access control devices, such as intercoms and keyless locks.

What Kind of Education or Training Is Required to Become a Locksmith?

As tradesmen, locksmiths typically don’t need to have a traditional college or university degree. The training required to become one combines classroom education and practical hands-on experience. This is usually provided by a trade or vocational school. Some technical colleges train locksmiths as well.

Those who are currently working and looking to change their career will find that many institutions that train locksmiths provide part-time courses or online education options as well. A list of approved training programs is maintained by the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA).

Various topics are addressed in locksmith training programs, such as the different types of locks and keys, lock picking, lock installation, residential and commercial security systems, automotive locks, safe and vault locks and more.

Great Skills

Mastering the skills to become a good locksmith is hard to do without some hands-on training, which is why schools make their students complete tasks and projects with actual tools used by locksmiths. Some online programs provide tools to their students so they can practice tasks at home too.

To complete their training, most locksmiths will do an apprenticeship or work as a trainee under the supervision of a certified Cincinnati locksmith to gain real-world experience.

Are There Any Licensing or Certification Requirements?

The specific regulations vary from one state to the other. Some states require that locksmiths obtain a license before practicing their trade. This involves passing and examination and a criminal background check, as locksmiths are granted access to homes and secure areas of buildings.

locksmith dudeEven in states that don’t require any formal licensing, many locksmiths choose to pursue voluntary certifications, such as those offered by ALOA. Certifications such as being a Certified Registered Locksmith make it easier to find employment or to be hired by more clients if one is self-employed.

How Much Does a Locksmith Earn?

Statistics from 2012 show that the median yearly pay for American locksmiths was $37,560. Those working as apprentices can expect to start out at just above minimum wage, with pay increases as they gain experience.

Do Locksmiths Have Good Future Career Prospects?

Locksmiths working for a company may get promoted to more senior positions as they gain experience. This includes doing management duties or training apprentices.

Locksmiths who pursue more specialized training can become experts in areas such as electronic security system installation, commercial and high-security locks and automotive locks. Many locksmiths have become highly successful by opening their own businesses as well.