What does a locksmith do?
A locksmith is in charge of many security aspects such as repairing and opening locks, making keys, installing and repairing safes, and changing locks and safe combinations. Locksmiths also give people advice about the best security measures that meet their needs for securing their home or business. They usually sell and install the recommended products and instruct their customers on how to use equipment. Locksmiths typically need a lot of equipment and tools to pick locks, fabricate keys, program electronic locks, and perform many other tasks. Locksmiths often become certified in specialty areas such as master key, auto locks, safes, security engineering, and security consulting.
What kind of training does a locksmith need?
Locksmiths need at least a high school diploma. Some locksmiths complete postsecondary programs that result in a diploma or certificate. Many technical and vocational schools and community colleges offer locksmith programs. Programs typically focus on key locks, door/frame preparation, deadbolts, and electronic and magnetic systems. Most aspiring locksmiths also complete apprenticeships to gain practical experience. Many locksmiths learn their skills through on the job training. Training varies greatly on employer and can last from one to twelve months. Locksmiths must be licensed in some areas and the licensing requirements typically include minimum education and experience and passing a written examination. They can also become accredited through the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA). Locksmiths must also say current on advanced technology to stay competitive in the field.
What are the prospects for a career as a locksmith?
Employment of locksmiths is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increased demand of advanced security devices for homes and businesses will drive job growth.
Job prospects will be the best for locksmiths with extensive experience and for those that can install and repair electronic alarm systems. Job openings will also arise from the need to replace locksmiths who retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do locksmiths make?
As of October 2009, locksmiths with 1 to 4 years experience earned average hourly rates between $10.29 and $15.09. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earned average hourly rates between $12.24 and $18.47 (2).
A career as a locksmith is an excellent choice for individuals who enjoy working with many different tools and work well with their hands. Locksmiths apply their expertise to a wide variety of situations. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, determination, good problem solving skills, and motivation are essential qualities of locksmiths. They must also be able to work effectively independently and as part of a team. Locksmiths must also be discreet because they often deal with sensitive or confidential information.