There are two common training programs for locksmiths. For both, locksmiths must have a high school diploma or GED. Some locksmiths enroll in locksmith certificate programs, which combine classroom teaching with hands-on experience. There are very few locksmith schools; however, many locksmiths choose a second training path by obtaining a locksmithing apprenticeship. In an apprenticeship, beginning locksmiths work under the supervision of an experienced locksmith to learn about the industry. However, apprenticeships are primarily offered through trade or apprentice associations rather than formal education institutions.
Program Levels include certificate programs, while prerequisites include a high school diploma or GED.
Prospective locksmith students should have good dexterity and coordination. They should have strong communication and customer service skills in order to work with customers and other security professionals. In most cases, locksmiths should have a valid driver's license and the ability to travel short distances in order to provide on-site locksmithing services. Locksmithing certificate programs cover lockset servicing and mechanical locks. They also cover:
- Automotive locksmithing
- Residential locksmithing
- Commercial and institutional locksmithing
- Key duplication and impressioning
- Types of locks
- Detention locking systems
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the BLS, locksmiths as of May 2015 make an average annual salary of $41,270.
Continuing Education Information
In the 15 states that require licensure, locksmiths must demonstrate proficiency in locksmithing by passing a comprehensive exam. In other areas, locksmiths can obtain voluntary certification from Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA). Certification from ALOA proves to employers and customers that a locksmith is proficient in all areas of locksmithing, including residential, commercial and institutional locksmithing. After passing the appropriate exam, locksmiths can become a:
- Registered locksmith (RL)
- Certified automotive locksmith (CAL)
- Certified registered locksmith (CRL)
- Certified professional locksmith (CPL)
- Certified master locksmith (CML)
Moreover, locksmiths can take advantage of professional development resources provided by ALOA. The organization offers a continuing education program for locksmiths to learn about evolving trends in locksmithing. The organization also provides an online store and membership program for locksmiths to learn more about the industry. Each year, ALOA holds a locksmithing conference that includes guest speakers and trade show representatives.
Lastly, workshops may be provided by technical and vocational schools that offer locksmithing programs. Typically, these workshops are sponsored in conjunction with an apprenticeship or certificate program, though employers may also hold workshops for newly hired locksmiths. In addition, ALOA offers five online training workshops for locksmiths, which cover advanced concepts in locksmithing and security.
The two common locksmith training opportunities are locksmith certificate programs or locksmith apprenticeship. Program levels include just certificate programs while prerequisites for both of these programs typically include a high school diploma or GED. Students of locksmithing can learn various sub-trades, including automotive locksmithing, residential locksmithing, commercial and institutional locksmithing, key duplication and impressioning types of locks and key detention locking systems.
Once obtaining a certification from the ALOA, a locksmith can expect a decent salary. The average salary according to the BLS in 2015 was $41,270. But a locksmith can also continue their education through the ALOA and through vocational and technical colleges offering programs in locksmithing.