Locksmiths and Safe Repairers

What They Do

Locksmiths and Safe Repairers repair and open locks, make keys, change locks and safe combinations, and install and repair safes.

A locksmith is the person you call when you have locked your keys in the car, locked yourself out of your house, or otherwise had a problem that involves a lock of some kind. Locksmiths can also install new locks, make new keys for old locks, repair or modify locks and keys, and otherwise handle the physical functions of locks that protect homes, vehicles, commercial buildings, safes, and other property.

A Day in the Life

Locksmiths are trained to work on several different types of locks, so their day might be filled with a wide variety of duties. Locksmiths may repair locks by taking them apart and finding where the malfunction is, then fixing it with a variety of small tools. They might make these repairs on-site, or in a dedicated workshop. They might also change locks, re-key locks, and otherwise modify them.

Some locksmiths sell, service, and install safes for homes and businesses. Locksmiths often work on safes and other security measures for banks, which can require regular maintenance and testing. Related hardware, such as vault doors, timer systems, teller machines, and safe deposit boxes might also require the regular services of a locksmith.

Locksmith jobs often involve odd hours, as many choose to be "on call" for emergency services. Locksmiths often respond to calls from individuals who have lost their keys or locked themselves out of a home or vehicle. They might also work with local law enforcement or emergency services to obtain access to a property in the event of an emergency.

How to Become a Locksmith or safe repairer

Education and training:

Get the Training You Need: Find schools for Locksmiths near you!

Preparation for a locksmith job entails taking courses in a variety of subject areas, including metalworking, mechanical drawing, mathematics, electronics, business, and English. A strong working knowledge of electricity and electronics is essential for those locksmiths who will be installing security systems, safes, and the like.

Traditionally, locksmith training included hands-on work in the field, usually under the direction of a more experienced locksmith. Some training programs offer hands-on training as well as classroom instruction, and award a locksmith degree or certificate at the end of the program.

Locksmith schools can last anywhere from three months to four years, depending upon the depth of expertise and education required to handle a particular sector. Continuing education and certifications are offered through lock manufacturers, locksmith schools, and organizations such as the Associated Locksmiths of America. Many states require locksmiths to be licensed and bonded. A locksmith must keep extensive records of their work and maintain a proper inventory. Those who want to open their own locksmith business might be well-served by earning a degree in business, in addition to locksmith training.

Locksmith and safe repairer Salaries

The income a locksmith makes depends on the sector in which he or she is working, whether they handle emergency calls, and how many hours they are willing to devote to their profession. The more experienced a locksmith is, the better income potential. Those who run their own locksmith businesses might have income from many sources, but they also have the cost of overhead to consider.

Job Outlook for Locksmiths and safe repairers

Projected employment change, 2020-30:

*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

Explore more careers: View all Careers or Browse Careers by Category