How to Become a

Locksmith

The complete career guide to be a Locksmith: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $41,270
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • -14.8%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Skill-Based Work
    Career Attribute
  • Work With Your Hands
    Career Attribute

Locksmiths are security professionals that use the tools of their trade to install, repair, and replace locks. They can install locks on a new home, cut keys to fit those locks, and even install safes. Additionally, many locksmiths also offer emergency services, allowing individuals access when they’ve lost their keys.


What is a Locksmith?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in locksmith roles:

  • Cut keys to fit new or existing locks
  • Install and replace window and door locks in homes and offices
  • Install, repair, and open safes
  • Provide individuals access to their home, car, safe, or other belongings when keys are lost or locked inside of belongings
  • Install home security and electronic monitoring systems

A Day in the Life

When people think of locksmiths, they usually think of the individuals who cut new keys or provide access to your car when you’ve locked your keys inside of it. And while these are common tasks that a locksmith engages in, a locksmith can do much more. Modern locksmiths are more commonly full-service security professionals that can perform a number of tasks that help keep your home and belongings safe and secure from unwanted entry and theft.

When you buy a new home or office, a locksmith will come and replace all of the locks on doors and windows for you. This prevents previous residents and tenants from reentering the home, and prevents home invaders from entering through thumb-locked windows. The locksmith will also cut keys for the newly installed locks and provide them to you. Additionally, some locksmiths will even install home security and electronic monitoring systems for you for added peace of mind that your new home is safe.

If you have belongings that you want to keep extra safe from both home invaders and fire—such as jewelry, identification documents, and cash—a locksmith can also install a safe. The advantage of having a safe installed by a locksmith is that they can install it in a way that prevents thieves from picking up the safe and leaving with it. Many locksmiths also offer emergency services to allow you to enter your home, car, safe, filing cabinet, or other belonging when keys have been lost, stolen, or locked inside.

Typical Work Schedule

Locksmiths typically work full-time schedules, though they often work irregular hours. They may need to be available in evenings and on weekends to be available when customers are seeking their services. Additionally, many emergency locksmiths operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, which may require overnight shifts and holiday work.

Typical Employers

Most locksmiths are either self-employed and own their own shops, or they work for locksmith and security services companies. However, some large business and organizations keep locksmiths on staff, so some locksmiths are employed by colleges, schools, government offices, and hospitals.


How To Become a Locksmith

The first step in becoming a locksmith is to pursue a locksmith certificate from a trade, vocational, or community college. These postsecondary programs teach students the basic skills and tools of the trade, such as key cutting, lock identification, and lock picking. A locksmith certificate may be required in some states to become licensed, and it will also make you more competitive for entry-level roles and apprenticeships.

The next step is to begin accruing professional locksmith experience. This can be achieved by taking on an entry-level position completing locksmith tasks, or finding a professional locksmith who’s willing to take on an apprentice. If you can’t find apprenticeship opportunities, there are other options for gaining experience and refining your skills. You could take a role cutting keys for a local hardware store, get hired by an emergency locksmith business, or find work installing security systems.

Some states require locksmiths to be licensed to work in the field, which typically requires completing a certificate program and earning professional experience. However, each state is different, so it’s good to check the laws of your state before beginning your journey to becoming a locksmith. After getting licensed and accruing enough experience to be considered a professional locksmith, you may consider opening your own locksmith business.


Locksmith Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$30,130

Average

$41,270

High Range

$61,830

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$14/hr

Average

$20/hr

High Range

$30/hr

How do Locksmith salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Locksmith's can make an average annual salary of $41,270, or $20 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $30,130 or $14 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #505 Nationally for All Careers


Highest Education Among Locksmiths

  • 0.4%   Doctorate
  • 2.8%   Masters
  • 6%   Bachelors
  • 7.8%   Associates
  • 29.1%   College
  • 45.7%   High School
  • 8.1%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

20,900

2024 Est. Jobs

17,800

Job Growth Rate

-14.8%

Est. New Jobs

-3,100

How does Locksmith job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -3,100 jobs for a total of 17,800 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -14.8% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #769 Nationally for All Careers


What Companies Employ The Most Locksmiths

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Security systems services 12,300 -2,100 -2%
Self-employed workers 3,300 100 0%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state 800 -200 0%

Want To Be a Locksmith? Get Started!

Generate your free SmartPlan™ to identify colleges you like, and potential ways to save on a degree or certification program toward your career with courses, offers, and much more!

Enroll Now and Get Started

or Learn More →