Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CHOOSING A CAREER / SEP. 15, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Become a Locksmith

Do you like working with your hands? Do you love the challenge of solving a puzzle and figuring out how all of the pieces fit together? If so, locksmithing could be the ideal career choice for you.

What do locksmiths do?

Locksmiths sell and work with locks for doors, windows, safes, and automobiles. Tasks may include:

  • Meeting with customers (individuals and/or businesses) to determine the type of lock that will best meet their needs
  • Installing new locks
  • Repairing broken locks
  • Copying keys
  • Making new keys for existing locks (for people who are locked out, for example)
  • Fitting combination locks and/or timing devices to safes
  • Changing locks after break-ins

Where and when do locksmiths work?

  • Most locksmiths work a 40-hour week. This may include regular night and weekend shifts as well as responding to customer emergencies such as lock-outs and/or break-ins.
  • Some locksmiths work in a shop, making keys, repairing locks, etc.
  • Most locksmiths travel to meet their customers wherever they’re needed.
  • You may sometimes need to work outside in all types of weather, especially when responding to lock-outs and break-ins

 What do locksmiths earn? 

 

Low end

Mid-range

High end

Salary

£13,000

£16,000

£25,000

 What skills do locksmiths need?

  • Good hands-on, practical skills
  • An interest in and aptitude for mechanics
  • Excellent customer-service skills
  • Patience
  • Strong hand-eye coordination
  • Attention to detail
  • Experience in carpentry or metalwork (helpful but not required)
  • The ability to work alone and as part of a team
  • Good organizational skills
  • Problem-solving skills

 What education and training are required?

There is no required educational background for locksmiths, and, in the UK, locksmithing is not regulated by the government. However, the Master Locksmith’s Association (MLA), offers courses through its British Locksmiths Institute (BLI). In addition, the MLA recently launched a new apprenticeship scheme. If you take part in an MLA apprenticeship, you’ll learn things like:

  • How locks and keys are designed
  • How to assemble locks
  • How to practice safety while on the job
  • How to make keys
  • How to communicate effectively with others
  • How to maintain the equipment you use to do the job
  • How to determine a customer’s needs and offer advice
  • How to maintain your customers’ security while you’re working on their locks
  • How to estimate costs and quote prices
  • How to install security devices and door hardware

You may also be able to find an apprenticeship through a local locksmith who is willing to provide on-the-job training.

What about professional development?

Continued learning is essential to help you keep up with the changing industry. As locks and security systems become more complex (and often automated), locksmiths must learn new skills for the new technology.

What career paths are available?

As you gain experience as a locksmith, you have a couple of options: 

  • You could specialize: in a certain type of lock, in providing lock-out services, in making keys, etc.
  • You could move into a supervisory position and manage a crew of locksmiths
  • You could start your own locksmith business 

If you’re good with your hands, enjoy solving problems, like the idea of seeing new people and places every day, and have great people skills, a career as a locksmith could be just what you’re looking for.

 

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