There aren’t many strict requirements you’ll need to meet if you wish to become a locksmith, but to be successful within this competitive field, you should consider formal training and certification programs. Some states may also require you to obtain an official license before you can practice within their borders, so you should research the specific requirements for your state before pursuing the career.
Research the career. As a locksmith, you may install and repair locks for both buildings, automobiles, and safes. You may also need to make duplicate keys and offer forms of related assistance.
Many locksmiths work in a shop during normal business hours, but you should also expect to visit customers on-site when installing locks or assisting someone locked out of a vehicle or building.
Trainees usually start at minimum wage, but your earnings will typically grow quickly as you gain experience and demonstrate productive skills. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for locksmiths as of May 2012 was $37,560. Employment is expected to grow at 7 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is considered slower than average.
Many locksmiths work an “on-call” schedule, so you should be prepared to answer emergency calls outside of normal business hours. Some of the most successful locksmiths can spend around 80 hours per week on locksmithing duties, and self-employed locksmiths should expect to spend another 40 hours per week on marketing and administrative tasks.
Improve related skills. Locksmiths rely on a wide range of skills, and improving these skills will allow you to have a more successful career.
You need good eye-hand coordination and spatial reasoning skills. If you’re still in high school, consider taking courses in advanced mathematics, mechanical drawing, basic electronics, physics, metalwork, and carpentry. If you’ve already graduated, try honing these skills at a community college or on your own.
You’ll also need to demonstrate adequate customer service skills. If you plan to eventually start your own locksmithing business, marketing capabilities will also be crucial.
Obtain your high school diploma. Before you begin any formal locksmith training, you should obtain your high school diploma or GED. In many states, you’ll need at least this much education before you can qualify to perform professional locksmith work.
Locksmithing isn’t simple work. Getting a basic education will provide you with the foundational knowledge you’ll need to understand the more advanced mechanical principles used on the job.