Degree programs in locksmithing generally are not available. However, some schools offer training leading to a certificate of completion. These programs are less than one year long and may accelerate the path to becoming a locksmith. In addition, certificate programs ensure that students are trained to work with the many types of security devices they may encounter during their careers.
Locksmithing programs are usually offered by trade and career-oriented post-secondary schools. The programs train students to competently perform the many tasks involved in locksmithing. The profession is suitable for people with no criminal history who enjoy solving mechanical problems and working with hand tools. Most of these programs require a high school diploma or GED, while some admit high school students.
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Locksmiths are security professionals with expertise in locks, keys, and other security devices such as safes or electronic security systems. Students in a locksmithing certificate program can expect to learn about residential, automotive, and commercial locksmithing services. Coursework generally includes:
- Locking hardware
- Picking locks
- High security locks
- Safe and vault manipulation and service
- Access control systems
- Locksmith business operations
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual wage for locksmiths and safe repairers as of May 2015 was $39,160 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also stated that locksmith and safe repairer jobs should decline 15% from 2014 to 2024.
The BLS also notes that many states require locksmiths to be licensed. Requirements vary by state but may include a criminal background check, fingerprinting and completion of an examination. Trade associations and schools with locksmithing programs often offer courses in new technologies and advances in the field to enable working locksmiths to update skills.
In addition, locksmiths may seek numerous professional certifications from trade associations, such as the Associated Locksmiths of America or the Safe and Vault Technicians Association. Professional certification may demonstrate expertise in a particular area, such as the Certified Automotive Locksmith designation, or indicate a strong commitment to overall professionalism, such as the Certified Professional Locksmith designation.
Students interested in locksmithing can earn a certificate that introduces them to the security devices and locksmithing services they will provide as a licensed locksmith.