How To Become A Locksmith

An argument can be made that locksmith is one of the oldest professions known to man. Ever since man developed locks, there has been a need to unlock them. Even in this age of technology, a locksmith still performs an important and often invaluable service. Aside from unlocking locks, locksmiths also re-key locks that have become worn or damaged and make copies of keys. According to, a locksmith can earn from $33,500 a year to more than $55,000 per year. If you want to become a locksmith, it can be a very rewarding profession. Here’s how to get started on your path to becoming a locksmith:

Decide What Type of Locksmith You Want to Be

A locksmith isn’t just a locksmith. There are different specialties. Regardless of what type of locksmith you want to be, some training and certification is involved. The types of locksmiths include:

  • Commercial locksmith – This is a locksmith who provides service to local businesses or exclusively to other businesses, regardless of location.
  • Residential locksmith – This is the traditional locksmith who helps you get into your home when you lock yourself out, repair a damaged lock, or replace a lock.
  • Automotive locksmith – This is a locksmith who provides service primarily to vehicle owners who either need to replace, repair, or open a lock.
  • Forensic locksmith – This is a locksmith who uses scientific methods to determine how a lock or security device was opened or bypassed.

Education Requirements

The first step to becoming a locksmith is to earn either a high school diploma or its equivalent. The next step is usually to seek an apprenticeship. This allows you to work under the supervision of an experienced locksmith. To start your own locksmith business or work for a locksmith, you’ll need about 2-4 years of experience. An apprenticeship is the easiest way to rack up that experience. As a full-fledged locksmith, you’ll have to quickly assess the situation and use your experience to decide how to address each specific situation.

Training Program

If you don’t want to go the apprenticeship route, you can opt for a locksmith training program. More than 100 classes are offered by the Associated Locksmiths of America to help those interested in pursuing this career achieve certification. Some of the specific topics the classes cover include:

  • Duplicating keys
  • Opening various locks
  • Removing and replacing locks
  • Using safety codes
  • Deadbolt preparation
  • Using locksmithing tools
  • Codes and laws related to the profession
  • Operating pin and disc cylinders


Once you complete a training program or apprenticeship, the final step to becoming a locksmith is to obtain certification. You can take additional training courses to prepare for the certification test or take the test online. You can even take the full training course online, although it is still best to acquire some real-life experience.
Becoming a locksmith can be a rewarding career in terms of both salary potential and career stability. The locksmith profession is considered an evergreen career choice since the services of a locksmith will always be needed, regardless of the state of the economy. Once you complete training or an apprenticeship, you’ll have several career paths to choose, including working as part of a maintenance team, working for an establish locksmith shop, or working independently. You literally have many doors open to you.
Laura Decker is a guest writer for where you’ll find information on duplicating keys and having new keys made.