Locksmith Training Programs and Courses

Locksmiths use specialized tools to install, repair and service locks and security systems on commercial, residential and institutional buildings. Locksmiths typically complete an apprenticeship or certificate program before obtaining employment. Only 12 states require licensure, though voluntary certification is available.

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Training Requirements and Recommendations

There are two common training programs for locksmiths. For both, locksmiths must have a high school diploma or GED. Some locksmiths enroll in locksmith certificate programs, which combine classroom teaching with hands-on experience. There are very few locksmith schools; however, many locksmiths choose a second training path by obtaining a locksmithing apprenticeship. In an apprenticeship, beginning locksmiths work under the supervision of an experienced locksmith to learn about the industry.

Locksmiths should have good dexterity and coordination. They should have strong communication and customer service skills in order to work with customers and other security professionals. In most cases, locksmiths should have a valid driver's license and the ability to travel short distances in order to provide on-site locksmithing services.

Formal Education

To gain knowledge of locksmithing, most beginning locksmiths enroll in a locksmith certificate program or participate in a locksmithing apprenticeship. Both paths give locksmiths practical, hands-on experience with locks and security systems. In general, most locksmiths choose to become an apprentice, though apprenticeships may still include traditional classroom teaching along with field experience. A list of locksmithing schools is available from Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA).

Locksmithing Certificate

Locksmithing certificate programs cover lockset servicing and mechanical locks. They also cover:

  • Automotive locksmithing
  • Residential locksmithing
  • Commercial and institutional locksmithing
  • Key duplication and impressioning
  • Types of locks
  • Detention locking systems

Job Experience

Employers typically require locksmiths to have at least 1-5 years of locksmithing experience. Locksmiths can gain professional experience through a locksmithing educational program or a professional apprenticeship. Some employers may provide on-the-job training programs, which don't require newly hired locksmiths to have professional experience.

Licenses and Certifications

Licensure is required for locksmiths in less than 20 states. In those states, locksmiths must demonstrate proficiency in locksmithing by passing a comprehensive locksmithing exam. In other areas, locksmiths can obtain voluntary certification from ALOA. Certification from ALOA proves to employers and customers that a locksmith is proficient in all areas of locksmithing, including residential, commercial and institutional locksmithing. After passing the appropriate exam, locksmiths can become a:

  • Registered locksmith (RL)
  • Certified automotive locksmith (CAL)
  • Certified registered locksmith (CRL)
  • Certified professional locksmith (CPL)
  • Certified master locksmith (CML)

Workshops and Seminars

Workshops may be provided by technical and vocational schools that offer locksmithing programs. Typically, these workshops are sponsored in conjunction with an apprenticeship or certificate program, though employers may also hold workshops for newly hired locksmiths. In addition, ALOA offers five online training workshops for locksmiths, which cover advanced concepts in locksmithing and security.

Additional Professional Development

Locksmiths can take advantage of professional development resources provided by ALOA. The organization offers a continuing education program for locksmiths to learn about evolving trends in locksmithing. The organization also provides an online store and membership program for locksmiths to learn more about the industry. Each year, ALOA holds a locksmithing conference that includes guest speakers and trade show representatives.

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