Locksmithing and Safe Repair  Program Description


Insider Info

dotMechanical know-how and hand-eye coordination are very important in locksmith training.

Many people learn the trade as an apprentice. Apprentices train on the job and take some college classes. On-the-job training takes anywhere from three months to four years.

"The overall best thing to do is to grab a locksmith by the shirt-tail and be the biggest pest until he gives you something to do," says Gary Walta. Walta is president of Lock and Road Service Network. He is also a qualified instructor.

"It's pretty hard to get a job in a shop without experience, but your persistence and sincerity will sometimes crack through that hard outer shell," he says.

Some states recognize locksmithing as an official trade. Others do not.

Shaun Lovell, chair of a community college locksmithing program, says students need to be employed as a locksmith trainee to enter the program. They need to have an employer willing to train them. The employer must be a certified journeyman. The student learns primarily from the employer and attends eight weeks of classes per year at the college.

After the class time, students must pass a state exam. Then the process begins again, until the student has completed four periods of training and class time. "After successfully completing the fourth-period exam, apprentices become journeyman locksmiths," says Lovell.

Gary Beuchel teaches at the California Institute of Locksmithing (CIL). He says there is no apprenticeship program at his school. But they often place students in jobs or apprenticeship programs elsewhere.

Some of the things Beuchel looks for are "high school diploma, GED or other education, a student's determination to be a locksmith...and our own set of mechanical dexterity tests."

Start preparing in high school. Take math, physics, shop, electronics, English and business courses. John Heckman is a teacher at Pine Technical College in Minnesota. He says joining clubs and activities will develop your people skills.

Concentrate on courses and activities involving problem-solving skills and math. Computer literacy is helpful because most schools use computer software for teaching.

Expenses vary. If you already own equipment, it will be cheaper.

Since locksmiths are involved in security, many states require that they be fingerprinted and pay a licensing fee. Check the laws in your state for licensing rules.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Locksmiths and Safe Repairers

Associated Locksmiths of America
International association of security professionals

Institute for Women in Trades, Technology, and Science
Information for women entering the field

Just the Facts

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