Not everyone has to go to college and try to earn a degree in order to find a career. Plenty of career choices will let people use their hands to make a decent living. In fact, tradespeople can make a pretty good living by getting licensed to provide professional services for people who can’t do certain tasks on their own.
Have you ever given thoughts to becoming a professional locksmith? If you were to find a car locksmith near me, me being you, you might ask what kind of money they make each year. You might find out that a good professional locksmith can make upwards of $50k per year as an employee. If a professional locksmith decides to hang a shingle and be an employer, they can make a lot of money.
Convinced? If you would be interested in pursuing a career as a professional locksmith, you would be well served to know what steps you would need to take in pursuit of that career. To that end, here are the five (5) steps you should follow on the path to becoming a professional locksmith.
1. Secure Education and Training
As is the case with most trades, the first thing you would need to pursue is education and training related to the locksmithing trade. To gain a locksmithing education, you should be able to find a college or trade school in your area that offers a locksmithing curriculum.
If schooling is not your thing, there is another option. You might be able to find an experienced locksmith technician who is willing to take you on as an apprentice. This is a really good option if you want to fast-track the gaining of hands-on practical knowledge.
Note: The combination of getting some formal education and time spent as an apprentice would really set you up well for securing a locksmith job.
2. Gather Practical Work Experience
Once you have some locksmithing knowledge under your belt, you should be able to secure a job as a low-level locksmith. Without a license, you would have to work under the license of a licensed locksmith.
The goal of gaining practical work experience is very important. Why? Most state licensing boards require that license candidates have at least one year of full-time work experience to qualify for a locksmith license.
Hint: If you work hard as an apprentice, that very same locksmith company might be willing to offer you regular employment.
3. Secure a License as a Locksmith
Once you have education, training, and practical work experience, you should be ready to apply for a professional locksmith license. It’s important to note that trade licensing responsibilities are managed at the state level.
Before you apply for a locksmith license, you should review your state’s licensing requirements. Since the requirements vary from one state to the next, you need to make sure you are going to check all the boxes in your state.
At a minimum, you can expect to have to meet the following requirement with no regard for your state:
- Have some level of work experience
- Submit a detailed application
- Agree to a full background check
- Agree to have your fingerprints put on file with the state
If you meet the requirements in your state, the state should give you a license to provide professional locksmith services.
4. Secure Certification With a Professional Organization
With a locksmith license in hand, you should be able to serve your community as a professional locksmith. If you were to be interested in increasing your earning potential, it might be worth your efforts to acquire professional certifications from top professional locksmith organizations.
The top professional organization in the U.S. for the locksmith trade is the American Locksmith of America (ALOA). The ALOA offers the following professional certifications (in order of importance):
- Registered Locksmith (RL)
- Certified Registered Locksmith (CRL)
- Certified Professional Locksmith (CPL)
- Certified Master Locksmith (CML)
To obtain any of these certifications, you would need to go through a testing process. The good news is each test only requires that you get 70% of your answers correct.
5. Choose Locksmith Career Option
With a license and higher level of certification, the locksmithing trade would be wide open for you as far as career choices. Of course, you would have the option of working for a locksmith shop or opening your own locksmith business. However, there would be other places you could work, including:
- Government agencies and law enforcement organizations
- Car repossession company
- Car dealerships (new and used)
- Corporations with carpools
- Companies that crack safes