Locksmiths are a unique type of technician who specialize in the design, installation, and maintenance of locks and security systems. Their job is to ensure that people’s property is as safe as possible from theft, unauthorized entry, and other types of crime.
Locksmiths must be highly skilled in a variety of areas. They must know how to design locks, keys, and other security devices. They must also understand how to install locks and security systems on a wide range of structures including homes, businesses, cars, boats, etc. Finally, they need a thorough knowledge of how to maintain these systems once they’re in place.
Read on to learn more about what it’s like to be a locksmith and what it takes to become one yourself.
Locksmith Job Duties
Locksmiths are responsible for a wide range of duties, including:
- Installing and maintaining locks and systems such as keyless entry padlocks and digital locks
- Making keys for customers from copies of their existing keys or from damaged or broken keys
- Performing repairs on broken locks, deadbolts, and security systems
- Installing new locks or door hardware on residential or commercial properties
- Suggesting safety measures to customers to protect property and family members
- Using common hand tools such as pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches and drills, or power tools
- Working on cars (depending on their specialty) and repairing ignition keys and other common problems for customers
Locksmith Salary & Outlook
The median annual wage for locksmiths is $46,636. Those earning higher wages tend to work for security systems companies, and the highest earners are bringing home over $76,000 per year.
The employment of locksmiths is expected to decline over the next decade. This is due to the increased use of technology in security systems. However, demand will increase for locksmiths who specialize in high-tech security systems.
Locksmith Job Requirements
The requirements for a locksmith are as follows:
Education: To work as a locksmith, individuals need to have a high school diploma or GED. Many employers require their locksmiths to have a vocational certificate or associate’s degree in a field related to the occupation. Some examples of these fields include automotive repair, manufacturing and electronics.
Training: Most employers prefer that locksmiths complete on-the-job training rather than going through an apprenticeship program. Locksmiths typically start out by learning the basics of the trade and working with more experienced professionals. In this role, they can learn about different types of locks and how to open various types of doors, windows and safes. They also learn how to make keys from customers’ key information.
Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not required for this job, but some employers may prefer or require them anyway. The Society of Professional Locksmiths provides certifications in areas like basic security and advanced security systems. These certifications can help employers assess the job seeker’s skill level and understanding of their role in the industry.
These are the skills that are required for a locksmith job:
Hand-eye coordination: Hand-eye coordination is important for a locksmith because he or she needs steady hands when working with tools and equipment.
Accuracy: This job requires attention to detail as locksmiths must be accurate.
Mechanical aptitude: A good locksmith needs mechanical aptitude in order to repair a wide variety of different types of locks and security systems.
Communication skills: In addition to interacting with customers, a locksmith must also be able to work well with other technicians and service personnel.
Problem-solving skills: This job requires employees to solve problems on the spot, sometimes in front of impatient customers.
Time management skills: In some busy locksmith stores, this can be a deadline-heavy profession, making time management important for locksmiths.
Locksmith Work Environment
A locksmith’s work environment can vary widely, depending on where they live and their employer. Locksmiths may be able to choose from a variety of jobs that include installing high-security locks, setting up security systems, or making keys for office buildings and homes. When working with clients, however, locksmiths need to be aware of safety procedures. For example, some clients might have guns or animals in the home.
Locksmiths usually work regular business hours in their employer’s shop. Some work nights and weekends. Many locksmiths start their own businesses after gaining a few years’ worth of experience.
Locksmith Career Path
As an apprentice, you are responsible for running errands, helping with simple jobs, and learning the trade. This job is physically demanding. You must be able to lift heavy items and work in cramped spaces. The hours are long, irregular, and frequently underappreciated.
Five Years Out
Locksmiths who are successful are those who have built up a reputation for quality work, because word of mouth travels fast in this field. Some work for locksmithing firms, which offer training programs and other benefits; others work for car dealerships, department stores, or car rental agencies as on-site employees. Locksmiths are proud of their skills and enjoy showing them off. Their work is very satisfying, and they enjoy solving problems that arise when dealing with the public.
Ten Years Out
Locksmiths at ten years can expect to be well established in the field. They enjoy their work and make a good living. Locksmiths who own their own businesses generally spend less time in the field and more time training new employees and taking care of business affairs.
Here are three trends influencing how locksmiths work. Locksmiths will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.
Increasing Importance of Technical Skills
In addition to traditional locksmithing skills, those in the field will need to develop additional technical skills as more home and business owners opt for high-tech solutions that require access via a smartphone or tablet.
For example, the rise of smart locks and security systems has led to the creation of new types of keys and cards, which can make it difficult for locksmiths who lack technical knowledge.
The Growing Importance of Online Customer Reviews
Online customer reviews are becoming increasingly important to the locksmith industry, as customers can easily check online reviews before choosing a company.
In addition, the increase in mobile devices has allowed customers to leave quick feedback on their service experiences from anywhere at any time. This type of instant feedback is an excellent way for locksmiths to improve their business and also provides a platform for customers to share praise or complaints about a specific service provider.
More Awareness of Home Security
As home security becomes more prominent in the public consciousness, people are increasingly likely to use locksmiths for things like key replacement and deadbolt installation.
Furthermore, as home security companies and related services continue to offer greater value-added services such as automation and maintenance packages, they will also drive demand for these companies from their customers.
How to Become a Locksmith
1. Planning Your Career
The job of a locksmith requires specialized training and knowledge. Locksmiths must know how to use their tools, but they also need to be able to interpret the needs of their clients. This is why it’s important for those interested in this field to choose an education program that focuses on practical experience as well as classroom instruction.
A company that specializes in security systems may be looking for someone with a background in electronics or computers. On the other hand, an automotive locksmith might prefer someone with knowledge of engines and the tools needed to repair them. As always, it’s important to align your interests with your strengths when determining your career path.
2. Writing a Resume
The best resumes for locksmiths emphasize their knowledge of lock repair and installation, as well as their ability to work quickly and efficiently. When describing your previous experience, include specific examples that demonstrate your skills in a way that’s relevant to the position you’re applying for.
As a locksmith, it is essential to keep abreast of new technologies and techniques, so if you’ve attended trade shows or courses in order to improve your skills, be sure to list these. If you have worked on specific projects that show your ability to solve problems with creativity and innovation, be sure to include these too.
3. Applying for Jobs
Your search for a locksmith job will start with your networking. As you begin to connect with people in the industry, use these contacts to learn more about which companies are hiring and what the companies are looking for. You can also use your network to see if anyone is looking for an apprentice locksmith, or if anyone knows of an apprentice position that is not currently listed on any websites.
If you are interested in working for a locksmith company, consider signing up for email alerts from websites like Indeed.com or simply check sites like Craigslist regularly. You may also be able to get leads by joining your local chamber of commerce chapter.
4. Ace the Interview
To prepare for a job interview as a locksmith, research the company you’re applying to work for. Become familiar with its history, products or services, and the issues it’s currently facing. Be sure to have skills, training, and experience that are relevant to the position. You’ll need to be prepared for a wide range of questions. Your potential employer will want to learn about your technical and people skills, and what your plans are for your future with the company.
You can demonstrate each of these attributes by giving examples from previous positions in which you’ve been successful. If you’re asked about a time when things didn’t go well, consider how you were able to problem solve and deal with this situation. Be willing to communicate your weaknesses in order to show maturity and honesty. Your interviewer is more interested in learning what steps you’ll take to remedy any shortcomings than they are in hearing all about them in detail.