Locksmithing, once a respected and productive profession, is unfortunately not attracting young recruits as much as it used to. Most new locksmiths are inducted into the trade by a locksmithing relative, usually their father, and the number of new entrants to the industry is low.
Perhaps this is due to the skill involved in the trade. To become a locksmith, one must not only be a specialist in the art of creating and defeating locks, but also have a working knowledge of metalwork and carpentry. However, for those looking for a career in locksmithing, the rewards can be numerous. Wages can be upwards of $1,000 per week for an experienced locksmith, which is almost $20,000 a year higher than the average for Americans without a college education.
Skills and tasks involved
A locksmith in Decatur can perform a range of duties, or specialize in one. Duties range from on-site visits to assist those locked out of their cars and homes, to working in a shop cutting keys. Many locksmiths offer 24-hour callout services to assist those who are locked out of their homes, while others work a standard 9-to-5 shift.
A good locksmith will have a strong attention to detail, a desire to help people by solving the most difficult puzzles, and an interest in ‘how things work’. Becoming a locksmith does not require a college education, but some knowledge of carpentry, metalwork, mechanics and electrical work would be beneficial for anyone looking to join the field.
Starting out in the industry
In days gone by, most new locksmiths would be part of a proud family dynasty, and naturally joined the trade immediately after leaving school. Today, a person’s best chance of entering the industry is to land a job in a shop, perhaps a hardware store or security equipment store, and learn the skills involved through on-the-job training.
Many locksmiths also begin a career in the industry by becoming an apprentice of an experienced tradesperson and eventually starting their own business. The Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA), the trade association for the industry, can provide details of locksmiths in every state who are willing to take on an apprentice.
Qualifications and certifications
ALOA also provide training and examinations for those seeking to gain recognition of their experience as a locksmith.
The most basic certification, Certified Registered Locksmith (CRL), is awarded to those who pass a written exam on the skills required to carry on the trade. Above the CRL level is the Certified Professional Locksmith (CPL), then the Certified Master Locksmith (CML).
Despite many locksmiths advertising themselves as ‘masters’, this final certification is very difficult to acquire, and most locksmiths require a number of years’ study in order to achieve it. The qualification for the parallel trade to locksmithing is administered through ALOA for safe technicians.
When choosing a locksmith in Decatur, it is important to ask prospective tradespeople what qualifications they hold, if any. By choosing a Certified Master Locksmith to complete your locksmithing work, you can be assured of professional work every time.