Have you considered becoming a locksmith? Locksmiths play an important role in America; without them life would be so much difficult for so many. Anyone who has lost their house keys and has been locked outside their own home would know about the value of a locksmith.
So, what does it take to be a locksmith?
First, let’s give you a sense of how much you can make as a locksmith in the United States. The job prospects for locksmiths are pretty good, with the median yearly pay for locksmiths estimated to be $39, 160 in 2015.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for locksmiths is likely to increase by 7 percent from 2012 to 2020, which is actually slower than that for other professions. But in states with high population, such as Texas, Florida and California, the demand for locksmiths is expected to be very high.
Generally, locksmith apprentices start at minimum wage, but their salary increases over time. Experience counts for a lot in this profession. As locksmiths gain in experience they are promoted to more responsible positions within a locksmith company. Many locksmith technicians go on to start their own business.
How to be a locksmith? Where to start?
To be a locksmith, you will need to train extensively in various skills such as lock picking, rekeying, key cutting, transponder key programming, working with home security systems, and all sorts of lock and key systems including padlocks, biometric locks and keyless locks.
Locksmith training is a mix of hand-on-experience at the job and classroom learning. You should start by joining an accredited locksmith training school or training program. You can find a list of such programs, including online programs, on the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) website.
You will learn a variety of locksmithing techniques and by the end of the course will have a good understanding of all lock and key systems, ranging from the traditional to the advanced.
It is equally important, if not more so, to get hands-on experience by working as an apprentice with an experienced locksmith. This would require you to accompany the experienced locksmith to various client locations and find out how they go about their job.
Is there a certification for locksmiths? Should a locksmith be licensed?
Yes, there are many states in America that require locksmiths to be licensed in order to practice their trade, such as Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
All locksmiths, even in states that don’t require a license, should pass a criminal history background check.
Locksmiths should get a voluntary certification from recognized industry bodies such as the Associated Locksmiths of America, in addition to the state license. Based on the level of expertise, a locksmith can achieve the following certifications: Certified Registered Locksmith, Certified Professional Locksmiths and Certified Master Locksmith.
Generally, a locksmith training course takes 2 to 6 months to complete. The on-the-job training takes a few more months, while a locksmith apprenticeship typically lasts 2 to 3 years.
Do you think you are up to the challenge of becoming a locksmith? Is this something you can see yourself doing? Do tell us.