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A locksmith is not a person who just duplicates existing keys. He runs or is an employee of a business that installs, repairs, opens locks and makes keys for locks. There are two ways to become a locksmith. One is to attend trade school and the other is to obtain a certificate from the Associated Locksmiths of America or the ALOA. 13 states in the US require locksmith licensing. Hence, you should confirm with your state’s business services department, the various pre-requisites you have to fulfill, to becoming a licensed locksmith. Some counties also require a license and hence it’s advisable to check with your nearest county licensing department. The same is true for many cities. You may contact your city licensing department to find out if you really need to acquire a license. It’s better to obtain different levels of certification from the ALOA if a license isn’t required by your state, as this can improve your prospects.
If you want to run a locksmith business, you would require a locksmith business license. On the other hand, if you want to work as an employee, you need to acquire a locksmith employee license. The name of the manager of the business must be mentioned in the locksmith business license application form. Each applicant in the business would be evaluated individually. For both the locksmith business and the locksmith employee licenses, you would have to undergo a criminal background check through the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Generally, you wouldn’t be issued a license, if you have been previously convicted of any crime. In addition to these two licenses, you need an alarm system installer license if you intend to install alarm systems. Licensing requirements vary among different states and some states require you to take a licensing exam while others require the payment of a licensing fee, to become a locksmith.
To be eligible for an apprenticeship with a locksmith business, you should complete a course in basiclocksmithing. Although it’s not mandatory for locksmiths to obtain certificates, completion certificates for approved courses are offered by the ALOA and the Safe and Vault Technicians Association. Upon completion of the course and passing the exam, you earn the title of a certified locksmith. Moreover, membership to the ALOA and the Safe and Vault Technicians Association can help you get the latest industry updates and you can thus have the opportunity to pursue your education. Similarly, bonding is optional in many states but since only a person with exemplary character is allowed to post a bond by bonding agencies, you can boost a customer’s confidence by acquiring certificates and becoming a bonded locksmith.
In addition to acquiring the appropriate license and obtaining course completion certificates, it’s essential to acquire the requisite practical skills in all aspects of lock repair and design. As a trained locksmith, you might be called upon to install, remove, modify or repair any locking device. You should thus have in-depth knowledge about cutting new keys and resetting combinations. Hence, it’s important to work as an apprentice to get hands-on experience. Locksmiths have plenty of job opportunities even in economically difficult times and locksmithing is an excellent career choice for those who have keen interest in this field.
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