Locksmith Career Facts

Locksmiths select, install, repair and service locking devices on automotives, homes, commercial properties and security systems, and locksmith jobs are increasing faster than average, including the auto locksmith and security services field.

Basic Tasks

Most locksmiths have pursued a combination of certification, licensing and on-the-job training. Many pursue certification with the Associated Locksmiths of America, usually course work and testing, and complete any state or city testing and licensing. With this training, locksmiths are able to select and install locks for different properties, residential or commercial, and are able to make suggestions to owners about appropriate locking mechanisms. Locksmiths are also able to repair locks and replace keys, for both residential and commercial properties, and they may receive call outs within a city, or to remote locations, like to an out-of-town storage facility or a stranded motorist.

As a locksmith, you will work out of doors in almost all types of weather conditions, sometimes in cramped spaces or in low or little light conditions. You will be expected to deal with clients in a professional and courteous manner, which may be difficult, since a locksmith can be called to assist distressed or distraught clients, and there may be a long wait before you can reasonably respond to their call. If you can deal with a difficult client, while also dealing effectively with a tricky security problem that will require a great deal of dexterity, you may do well as a locksmith.

Hours and Work Schedule

Locksmiths will work a varied schedule, usually a full-time day, but they may receive call outs to residential or commercial properties at all hours. This includes working evenings and weekends, sometimes overtime to complete all of the call outs that they receive during the course of the day.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary, nationwide, for locksmiths was $35,900, though this may differ depending on the types of services the locksmith offers and their amount of annual overtime.

Types of Locksmiths

Mobile locksmiths. There are locksmiths that work from mobile offices that include all of the tools of their trade, and which allow them to work on commercial, residential and automotive call outs. You will spend many hours in the vehicle, driving from site to site to respond to client requests, and you will work evenings and weekends to assist your clients. Your mobile office will usually be a large cube van which includes all of your tools, including a key cutting machine, and you will either work for a large chain of locksmiths or as an independent contractor, which means your are responsible for all of your own costs.

Automotive locksmiths. Some locksmiths will work with mainly automotive locks or security devices, and they may work as mobile locksmiths or they will work for security firms to secure automotive property. You will need to know how to select, repair and install locking devices on automotives, and professional development will include staying up-to-date on new automotive locking and security devices.

One speciality for locksmiths include safe repairers, and these locksmiths deal exclusively with stationary locking devices that secure documents and property in safes of any size. These workers will also consult on security issues and may work exclusively with commercial security agencies.