Training and Working as a Locksmith

Becoming a locksmith isn’t as simple as setting up shop and grabbing the right tools. There’s a lot of training involved when it comes to figuring out how to crack a wide variety of locks.

It also means having to be ready to head to any destination at any time of the day or night. Training is a long process, but it’s worth it.

Locksmith Training

The best place to start looking for a good training program is at the Associated Locksmiths of America’s website. They offer a list of approved programs across the country. An average training course will last anywhere from 2-5 months to complete.


Trainees will learn how to identify and make keys, and they’ll also learn how to install and pick a variety of locks. In addition, they’ll learn the basics about residential, automotive and electronic locks among other varieties.


An aspiring locksmith can choose from in-person or online classes. Online classes will usually provide you with the tools you need to try to master a lock at home. In-person classes, on the other hand, provide you with the real-world training that’s needed to do the job well.

Once the training program is finished, most locksmiths will require aspirants to undergo an apprenticeship before they can be considered full-fledged smiths in their own right. These apprenticeships usually last between 2-3 years.

Locksmith Certification

Most states require locksmiths to be licensed and certified. In addition, voluntary certification shows potential clients that you can be trusted around their valuable possessions.

Licensing requirements differ depending on the state. Some states only require you to pass a criminal background check while others require a state-approved training course and a licensing exam.

The Associated Locksmiths of America offers three certifications depending on how skilled the applicant is. Or call a locksmith near you for more information.

locksmiths hand

To reach the lowest category, an aspirant has to pass 10 mandatory subjects, which include things like basic master keying, key duplication and professional opening techniques.

They must also pass at least two of the 26 voluntary ALOA categories. The second category requires them to pass at least 14 voluntary subjects, and the highest qualifications require passage of 23 voluntary subjects.

Other Facts About Locksmiths

A 2017 BLS report shows that the median annual pay for locksmiths is $42,730. This can vary depending on the region that you reside in.

A 2016 report from the BLS shows that general employment in locksmithing is expected to go down by 1% between 2016-2026, but it also shows self-employment going up by 0.7% in the same period.

The best option for new locksmiths is to find an area that isn’t well serviced. If you’re just starting out, look for an experienced smith and ask if they’re hiring. You can also consider hardware stores, security equipment suppliers, universities or hospitals.

All of these businesses will require a locksmith’s service from time to time. In the long term, it’ll be your experience that determines how far you can go in this industry. If you have the right certifications, you can set up your own business.

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