Mechanical know-how and hand-eye coordination are very important in locksmith
Many people learn the trade as an apprentice. Apprentices train
on the job and take some college classes. On-the-job training takes anywhere
from three months to four years.
"The overall best thing to do is to grab a locksmith by the shirt-tail
and be the biggest pest until he gives you something to do," says Gary
Walta. Walta is president of Lock and Road Service Network. He is also a qualified
"It's pretty hard to get a job in a shop without experience, but your persistence
and sincerity will sometimes crack through that hard outer shell," he says.
Some states recognize locksmithing as an official trade. Others do not.
Shaun Lovell, chair of a community college locksmithing program, says students
need to be employed as a locksmith trainee to enter the program. They
need to have an employer willing to train them. The employer must be a certified
journeyman. The student learns primarily from the employer and attends eight
weeks of classes per year at the college.
After the class time, students must pass a state exam. Then the process
begins again, until the student has completed four periods of training and
class time. "After successfully completing the fourth-period exam, apprentices
become journeyman locksmiths," says Lovell.
Gary Beuchel teaches at the California Institute of Locksmithing (CIL).
He says there is no apprenticeship program at his school. But they often place
students in jobs or apprenticeship programs elsewhere.
Some of the things Beuchel looks for are "high school diploma, GED or other
education, a student's determination to be a locksmith...and our own set of
mechanical dexterity tests."
Start preparing in high school. Take math, physics, shop, electronics,
English and business courses. John Heckman is a teacher at Pine Technical
College in Minnesota. He says joining clubs and activities will develop your
Concentrate on courses and activities involving problem-solving skills
and math. Computer literacy is helpful because most schools use computer
software for teaching.
Expenses vary. If you already own equipment, it will be cheaper.
Since locksmiths are involved in security, many states require that they
be fingerprinted and pay a licensing fee. Check the laws in your state
for licensing rules.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Locksmiths
and Safe Repairers
Associated Locksmiths of America
International association of security professionals
Institute for Women in Trades, Technology, and Science
Information for women entering the field