The US bureau of labor statistics reports that the locksmith industry is ever-growing in 2014. It is a niche profession that is always in demand. After all, the demand for locksmith will always be there even though the way locks are made may change.
The main responsibilities of a locksmith include installation, modification and repair of locks for homes, businesses, and residences. As a locksmith, you may also be required to make a duplicate set of keys or re-key the locks for stolen or lost keys.
Locksmiths are also frequently called upon to disassemble, bypass or pick a lock when customers accidentally lock themselves out of cars or homes. This is why there are so many advertisements for emergency locksmiths. With the growing popularity of electronic security systems, locksmiths are also required to install as well as service these security systems.
As far as the education of a locksmith is concerned, formal education is not needed but it is certainly desired if you want to be successful in this field. There are some career options in this field. You may start your own locksmith business; you can work with a lock manufacturer, or you can join a locksmith school for teaching others.
To start working as a locksmith, you will need extensive training. All the locksmiths start their career by working as an apprentice under a more experienced hand. Formal education is also available.
Licensing requirements vary by state. Some states don’t require any formal license to practice as a locksmith where some have strict requirements. Some other states require a background check along with certification. The best way to check the requirements is to get in touch with the State locksmith organization.
Some states that require licensing are California, Louisiana, Illinois, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, New Jersey, Nevada, Alabama, Nebraska, Connecticut, and North Carolina. This is not an exhaustive list. The best way to find out is to check the local locksmith organization.
As mentioned in the beginning, no formal training is required to become a locksmith. However, a successful locksmith requires some key skills such as knowledge of components, ability to use various locksmithing tools, mechanical ability, mathematical ability, spatial perception, eye coordination and dexterity.
Vocational schools, state locksmith organizations and community colleges offer a variety of certificate as well as diploma programs for locksmith training. The training covers ways to pick a variety of clocks, repair of locks in commercial and residential buildings, making duplicate keys, understanding the mechanics of locks as well as the testing security of locks after installation.
Another way to get training is through apprenticeship under an experienced locksmith. Most of the time, apprenticeships are unpaid, but these allow trainees to learn the legal, business and technical aspects of this profession directly from practicing professionals. The apprenticeship can range from three months to 4 years depending on the desired training and learning ability of the apprentice.
Some of the states that also require licensing require potential locksmiths to work for at least one year full-time at a licensed locksmith business before they are given a license of their own.
The Associated Locksmiths of America offer a variety of certifications such as the Certified Professional Locksmith, Certified registered locksmith, Registered locksmith and Certified Master Locksmith. The applicants are required to pass each exam with a minimum score of 70% to get the certificate.
While having a certification allows you to practice as a locksmith, the best way to establish yourself is to work as an apprentice under an established locksmith company. You can start your locksmith company once you have enough experience and confidence.
As far as continuing education is concerned, it is not a requirement in this field but locksmiths can take advantage of advanced education and opportunities offered by various locksmith associations. Continuing education helps locksmiths in expanding their area of expertise and it also allows them to stay current on the new technologies as well as laws in the field.
Experts also recommend joining various state organizations in addition to joining The Associated Locksmiths of America. A membership in the professional organization comes with some benefits that includes continued access to various educational opportunities, legislative representation, insurance options, computer-based testing and much more. These can help you a lot in strengthening business operations.