a locksmith uses a machine to cut a key

Why You Should Consider a Career as a Locksmith

One of the best careers in the trade industry you can have is as a locksmith! Locksmiths are prized for their ingenuity and skills in helping people enter their homes, places of work, cars, and everything in between. Locksmiths usually have to respond in emergency situations, and can be a valuable part of any company or run their own business. With advancing technology and better security, locksmiths need to be more and more trained in this highly-specialized field. 

How Do I Become a Locksmith? 

Being a locksmith takes a relatively short amount of time, and is a great return on investment for a career. Some states require locksmiths to have a valid license before they begin working professionally. These states include: 

  • Alabama
  • California 
  • Connecticut 
  • Illinois 
  • Louisiana 
  • Maryland 
  • Nebraska 
  • Nevada 
  • New Jersey 
  • North Carolina 
  • Oklahoma 
  • Oregon 
  • Tennessee 
  • Texas 
  • Virginia 

Certain districts also require additional documentation for future locksmiths. These include: 

  • Hillsborough County, FL 
  • Nassau County 
  • Long Island 
  • New York City 
  • Washington D.C. 

To get a license as a locksmith, people must complete a training program that can be available at any local college. To complete a program, you must 18 years or older and to be employed you must pass a background check. 

In addition to education for traditional locksmiths, many programs now integrate a technology program to help future locksmiths be trained in advanced security systems. Finally, after completing education and a locksmith program, future locksmiths can also take on an apprenticeship to hone their skills in and perfect them in real-world situations. The ALOA, or Associated Locksmiths of America, can help people understand what specific requirements are needed for people to be a certified locksmith in their state or district. 

For instance, locksmiths must complete a 2-year long apprenticeship before they begin working in the state of Texas. 

If your state doesn’t require you to complete a course and obtain a license, it’s still a good idea to complete an apprenticeship under a certified locksmith or master locksmith. This gives you hands-on experience and makes you even more valuable to future employers. For people with busy schedules, there are even online courses to help you finish locksmith training. 

How Long Does it Take to Learn to be a Locksmith? 

A locksmith training program should now integrate technology to help future locksmiths be more valuable to companies that want to protect their businesses through advanced security systems. A training program can take as little as 3 months to learn basic skills such as unlocking padlocks, deadbolts, and combination locks. A program that integrates modernized training for keyless entry systems, biometric scanners, and security cameras can take up to 9 months to complete. However, the more modernized your training is, the more valuable you will be and the more specialized your skill-set. Then, you can work not only as a locksmith, but also get a career as a: 

  • security consultant 
  • safe technician 
  • master key system specialist 
  • forensic locksmith 

and so much more! 

What are the Job Prospects? 

Due to advancing technology, there is a major growth predicted for the field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 10-year growth including over 6,100 new job openings by 2018. Since 2020, there are an expected 3,300 locksmiths that will be needed to fill positions throughout the United States. Some of the most in-demand locksmiths will be those with Certified Alarm Technician training that is endorsed by ALOA. 

In addition, job growth can be found in areas where new properties such as residences and commercial properties are being built. For future locksmiths, they can easily find work in the United States, but especially in the state of California, Texas, and Florida. In California and Texas alone, there are nearly four thousand employed locksmiths, and 1,430 estimated employed locksmiths in Florida. 

Is it Worth it? 

The average annual salary for a locksmith is estimated to be between 45,000 and 75,000 dollars a year! This is a good career in terms of return on investment, as the average cost of locksmith school is only $1,000 to $3,000. This can be even less for people who qualify for financial aid or veterans using their GI Bill. If you’re interested in a career that is highly-specialized, respected, and growing with the security and real-estate industry, then being a locksmith is a great choice! 

What Is it Like to Work as a Locksmith? 

“When most people think of a locksmith, they probably think about losing their keys or forgetting their keys in the car. What was really a shock to me was how much work we do. We install doors. We fix glass. When doors fall off, we put them back on their hinges. We deal with safes. We deal with ironwork, gates, welding. The people that get locked out and losing keys is really a very small fraction of the actual work that’s performed. The favorite thing about this job is there’s constantly new people, constantly going to different places.” –  Guy Gabai, locksmith for his family business in New York City. 

Locksmithing is an excellent career choice for people who like to work with their hands and their brain. It’s a flexible career that lends itself to both creativity and logic. If you like puzzles and problem-solving, you will thoroughly enjoy a career as a locksmith.” – Steven Myers.  

“For me it’s great. When you turn up with your vehicle of wonders and perform superhero magic to get someone in their house, they usually can’t be appreciative enough. Most are so happy with the service, even if it only takes you a few seconds to get them in.” – Alan Caistor, locksmith since 2010. 

“When you are first starting out, every situation is new, exciting, and different. I now have 23 years under my belt and for the most part, have seen almost everything. Even though there are now few surprises, I still learn new techniques each day.”Glenn Letteer

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