Nowadays, locksmith work goes well beyond lock and keys, drawing businesses from a variety of sectors which include commercial, government, residential or automotive but also, installing CCTV systems and safes, repairing faulty or damaged units among others that come under their remit. Due to this, the work of a locksmith has varied significantly day to day.
Acquiring the skills of a locksmith often involves a combination of classroom and hands-on experience. The tools and products that the locksmith has to work with, range from the simple to the most sophisticated devices and security systems. Therefore, experience in electrical work and carpentry can be so beneficial at his disposal.
What kind of training is required to become a locksmith?
Since training to become a locksmith involve a combination of classroom and hands-on experience, there exist so many schools offering locksmith training programs within the country, offering both online and in person courses. The British Locksmiths Institute, Master Locksmiths Association, and Associated Locksmiths of America are some of the approved training institutes. They are all good places to enroll into if you are looking for the program.
The locksmith training involves taking courses on topics such as commercial locks, electronic access locks, key identification, business security system, high-security locks, among others. For instance in MLA, they provide a four-course training program to ensure they produce fully qualified Master locksmith.
After enrolling for the course as a learner, you first undergo a general locksmith course which involves learning the general aspects of the trade. Later, you’ll undertake a first course where you learn how to pick and open locks. After this program, you’ll take the MLA entry exam and the Full member’s exam.
Learners who complete in-person programs have a chance to put their learning into practice using the tools that locksmiths use. To improve the hands-on experience, a locksmith competes for an apprenticeship as a trainee with other experienced locksmiths.
Are there any certifications or licensure requirement?
Many states require locksmiths to have a license to practice their trade. The voluntary certification aids in proving to the clients that the locksmith has undergone the necessary training and experience. The fact that locksmiths are granted access to people’s homes and some sensitive security information, makes it necessary for clients to certify that they are trustworthy, reliable and qualified by checking their licenses.
To become a Certified Registered Locksmith, one needs to have passed an examination that measures knowledge in aspects such as, codes and codes equipment, blank key identification, professional lock opening technique, lockset servicing, etc. In some states, the locksmith is required to have passed a criminal history background check, completed an approved training course and have authentic licensing certifications from a recognized institution. For instance, at the Associated Locksmiths of America, they offer locksmith certification at the various levels of expertise. With additional experience, the applicant can either become a Certified Professional Locksmith or a Certified Master Locksmith.
If you are looking forward to working as a locksmith for your first time, you may need to start out as a novice or a trainee for an existing firm. You can as well consider approaching an established, licensed and accredited Locksmith willing to take you in as a trainee.
Other locksmiths consider looking for opportunities in some of the established independent locksmith organizations, security equipment manufacturers or even hardware stores. Some of these companies are either large, or operating on a franchise, and will provide a 24-hour emergency response services. Big organizations such as universities and hospitals, will hire locksmiths and eventually keep them as their staff, which is a great opportunity if you secure a such a vacancy.
You might as well consider becoming self-employed. However, becoming self-employed is very competitive and may need you to do careful market research about how to better your services and become unique among the local business links and surveys.
What are the job Prospects?
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has estimated from their research that employment of locksmiths will have a 7% growth by 2020. The job prospect will be better for those who are offering services in areas that are starved and not well served by some of the established locksmiths. Since the salary of a locksmith depends on the quality of services that he/she offers, one will need to perform a good job to attract more clients, who will boost your reputation.