Becoming a Locksmith


Do you have questions about becoming a locksmith? Read below for information on licensing, school selection, and program duration.

Q: Do I have to be licensed?

A: Most states require locksmiths to be licensed in one way or another. Both people and organizations can become licensed if they desire to practice the trade in their state. Getting licensed usually requires you to submit an application (with an application fee that may be non-refundable), get fingerprinted so that the state can run a background check, and submit documentation of any existing criminal record you have. You might also have to submit photos for an I.D. card as well as prove that you have some experience, education, or other training. You will then of course have to pay a licensing and I.D. card fee. If you are interested in becoming a locksmith apprentice the requirements may be somewhat less. For example, you will still have to pay fees and submit to a background check and criminal investigation, but you won’t be asked to demonstrate experience or training.

Q: Can I go to school anywhere?

A: Before signing up for classes at the first school you see that offers a locksmith program, you may want to investigate your options a little further. Because you will ultimately have to be licensed, you will need to go to a school that your state approves as an institution that will provide you with adequate training and education. If you are unsure of what these schools are, you may be able to find a list by doing some research online. You can go to the appropriate government agency’s website in your state (such as the Department of Commerce) and search for information on locksmith licenses. The site may then provide you with a list of schools that they will accept when you go to submit an application for licensure.

Q: Can I get my training online?

A: There are schools that offer locksmith certification programs online. The benefit of these programs as that you can often work at your own pace, and will only have to meet the deadlines for taking your online exams. Distance-learning programs are sometimes also cheaper than going to school in a classroom, since you aren’t paying to use facilities. The downside, however, is that you won’t get the same hands-on experience as you would if you worked with an instructor in a classroom or work setting. You will also have to make sure that your state approves the program as an acceptable form of education before signing up for online classes (see the previous question). However, you might find online school a good option if you are working toward a certificate at the same time that you are getting professional experience by working as a locksmith apprentice.

Q: How long does it take to become a locksmith?

A: How long your studies will take you depends on where you go to school. Your training program may track your time by hour (such as by saying the program is 90 hours), number of classes (many programs contain four courses) or by month. All in all, most locksmith programs will take you between six and nine months to complete.


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