According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a locksmith is one of the steadily growing professions. It offers a relatively stable career so more and more people want to know how to become a locksmith. If you have completed high school, your pathway to becoming a locksmith is relatively easier. For those who didn’t, you must sign up for GED before you get yourself enrolled in vocational college or an apprenticeship.
Before we dive into the details of how to become a professional locksmith, let us see the duties of a locksmith.
Duties of a Locksmith
- Locksmiths are called out during lockout emergencies. Whether you are locked out of your house or vehicle, a professionally trained locksmith can open the lock for you without breaking or damaging it.
- Locksmiths offer an essential service to customers by rekeying the existing locks. For those who don’t know, a professional can change the mechanism of the lock to render the older key useless. Once rekeying is complete, they provide a new key to the customer. It is an economical choice for many because lock hardware needs not to be changed but the house is protected from intrusion.
- A locksmith helps keep homes safe by repairing and installing locks on windows, doors, safes, etc.
- Installation of safe vaults and access systems is another duty of a locksmith.
- They also provide inspection and consultation services to people who want to improve the security of their properties.
- Locksmiths generally emergency service around the clock or work on untraditional hours.
How To Become A Locksmith
If you want to become a locksmith, consider following these steps:
1- Check With Professional Organization ALOA
A reliable starting point is to check the official websites of professional organizations of locksmiths. Associated Locksmiths Of America (ALOA) is the most reputable organization. Check their endorsed training programs required in your state.
For most of the US states, an aspiring locksmith must have completed high school or a GED program. Good knowledge of metalworking, mathematics, mechanical drawing, and basic electronics prove to be very useful. If your state requires you to complete a training program and get certified, proceed to the following steps.
2- Complete A Locksmith Training Program
A locksmith training program is a prerequisite to work as a professional in a field, even when it is not required for certification. Enroll in a training program available in colleges or any vocational institutes. The training programs generally include combinations of hands-on training and assessments.
The length of training programs is from months to years with most of them not exceeding three years.
3- Hone Your Skills With An Apprenticeship
On-job training or taking an apprenticeship has been a primary method for locksmith training. Instead of or addition to vocational training programs, you should take on an apprenticeship. You work with experienced professionals in the field and learn locksmith skills with hands-on practice. It could be a paid or unpaid one but is required for working as a professional. ALOA provides guidelines on choosing the right apprenticeships for your career choices.
4- Get Certified In Applicable States
Residents of the following states and counties are required to have a license or certification to work as a locksmith. If your state or county is not listed below, training and apprenticeship are enough.
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
- Hillsborough County, Florida
- Nassau County, Long Island
- New York City, New York
- Washington D.C.
Getting licensure typically includes a comprehensive background check, submitting fingerprints, paying fees, and passing exams.
5- Find Established Locksmith Companies And Apply For Job
Before you start to work as an independent locksmith, it’s best to work with an established locksmith company to learn more about locksmith duties. Find prospective employers in your area and apply for jobs. It will allow you to learn about business operations and administrative tasks.
6- Develop Your Locksmith Skills
If you want to become a well-reputed locksmith, keep working on developing your skills. Attend the seminars organized by ALOA to keep learning new things. Know that softs skills are as important in this job as the dexterity of your hands.