How to become a locksmith in 6 steps (with salary and FAQ)

15 September 2023by

Locksmithing can be an ideal career for those with mechanical aptitude who enjoy helping people gain access. The path to becoming a locksmith is relatively fast compared to other trades. Key requirements are technical skills, hands-on training, and customer service abilities. Locksmiths are relied upon to rekey, repair, replace locks and assist people locked out of homes or vehicles. Learning locksmith prerequisites helps determine if this rewarding, in-demand career is a good fit for you. With proper preparation, you can be on your way to becoming a knowledgeable professional locksmith and securing your future in this essential trade.

What is a locksmith?

To become a locksmith, it’s essential to understand their fundamental duties. Locksmiths install, fix, replace, unlock, rekey, and modify locks on doors, cars, windows, safes, and other security mechanisms. They recommend security improvements to homeowners and businesses, such as reinforcing strike plates. A big part of the job is responding at all hours to emergency lockout calls from people stuck outside homes or vehicles. 

How to become a locksmith

Aspiring locksmiths have several options to gain the proper skills and knowledge to embark on this career path:

  • Enroll in locksmith training courses to learn hands-on skills like impressioning, lock picking, key cutting, and access control installation.
  • Apply for apprenticeships where you can get firsthand experience assisting professional locksmiths on actual jobs.
  • Study locksmithing reference books and manuals to become familiar with technical concepts.
  • Practice hands-on with a locksmithing tool kit on sample locks and mechanisms.
  • Earn professional certifications to demonstrate your competency in certain locksmithing disciplines.
  • Build foundational mechanical skills by taking courses in subjects like shop class and electronics.
  • Shadow or interview working locksmiths to learn more about the trade from their experience.

Gaining formal education, practical training, and as much exposure as possible are key ways to acquire the expertise to succeed as a professional locksmith.


  • Complete a locksmith course

Taking a locksmithing course is a common approach to entering the field. This professional training course will teach you to unlock locks, set up key-cutting machines, and cut keys. Dexterity, mechanical, and electronic abilities can all benefit from doing this. Courses of this nature often last for a few days. After that, you can start thinking about more advanced training courses. Some examples of more advanced education include lessons on installing and removing door closers in aluminium doors and critical cutting by hand, furniture locks, and other fundamental bench locksmithing abilities.

  • Find an entry-level job.

After completing locksmith training, you can enter business or seek an entry-level position. If you’re considering becoming a locksmith but want to specialize in a particular area, like auto locksmithing, one option is to start working for an experienced locksmith. It’s a springboard to further advanced education, including auto locksmithing school.

  • Consider an apprenticeship

Apprenticeship programs in the locksmithing trade are another option. Apprenticeships in the locksmithing trade are specialized training programs that typically span several years and are open to anybody over 16. To qualify, one of the English and mathematics transferable skills qualifications must have been completed.

Completing an apprenticeship is an excellent way to prepare for a career as a locksmith. Apprenticeships provide invaluable on-the-job training and experience assisting professional locksmiths on actual service calls and jobs. As an apprentice locksmith, you’ll learn about the following:

  • Health and safety in locksmithing
  • effective communication with customers and co-workers
  • locksmithing risk assessments
  • essential system design and lock assembly
  • key cutting


  • Work on your customer service skills

Improving your customer service abilities will allow you to help both current and future clients better. This ability enables locksmiths to engage with consumers on a deeper level, patiently answer their questions, and guide them toward making the optimal lock choice for their homes and businesses. Keeping a cheerful demeanor and replying rapidly to consumer inquiries are two methods to impress them. You must also develop attentive client listening skills to identify their demands accurately.

  • Build your network

If you want to improve your prospects as a locksmith, you must get out and meet people in the field. Networking with other professionals and staying up on industry developments like these might help you provide better service to your clientele and develop your career. A more seasoned locksmith who learns of your aspirations in the field can offer you a position or wish to train you, both of which are very enticing professional options.

  • Pass background checks

Background checks are standard for prospective locksmith employees due to the sensitive nature of the job (locksmiths often have access to keys, locks, and security systems). An employer may seek these to learn more about your history and determine if you can be trusted. Sometimes, employers will want to see everything the police have on you regarding the job you’re applying for. This is called an “enhanced check.”


FAQ about working as a locksmith

How much does a locksmith earn?

In the UK, the average annual salary for a locksmith is £27,804, though earnings vary based on experience. Generally, locksmiths with more years of experience make above the median wage. Self-employed locksmiths who run their businesses also earn more than employed locksmiths. The most experienced locksmiths can potentially make well above the average, especially if they develop expertise in high-security locks or specialty services. 

How long does it take to become a locksmith?

For most, training ranges from several months to a few years of hands-on education under an experienced locksmith. This allows you to learn critical skills before working independently. Many pursue additional specialized courses to supplement their knowledge even further. These can often be completed within weeks or months. With the right experience and continued training, entering the locksmithing field within a year is possible. However, spending more time training to perfect your expertise can enable you to provide a wider breadth of services and thrive as a locksmith.

Where do locksmiths work?

Rather than working for a larger company, many locksmiths prefer to strike out on their own, offering critical replacement services and selling locks and security systems. If you want to advance your locksmithing career, working for a large, nationwide firm is another option to explore. No matter your chosen field, you may focus on residential, business, or mobile security. By choosing to specialize, you can increase your earnings and establish credibility in your chosen industry.

What are some essential skills of a good locksmith?

Good locksmiths have a depth of knowledge about locks and other security systems, but they also have additional soft and hard talents that help them get the job done efficiently and on schedule. These abilities consist of:

  • time management
  • problem-solving
  • practical skills
  • customer care
  • attention to detail
  • patience


Final Thought

Pursuing this profession invigorates the mind, develops valuable abilities, and fosters lasting change within individuals and communities. By following these six organized steps, you will gain the knowledge required to pursue a successful career as a locksmith. A vast spectrum of job prospects is available within the field of locksmithing due to its intersection with housing, commerce, and transit, exhibiting persistent interest in reliable secure access control.


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