Career Profile: Locksmith
If you have ever locked your keys in your house, or need to install a new lock on a door, chances are you would have to call a locksmith. These professionals are experts in knowing how to install, repair, pick to unlock, and remove all different types of locks, including both key and pin locks and electronic locks for commercial and residential use.
Locksmiths usually attend a college program to learn the basics of locksmithing and earn a diploma or certificate. This can be followed up with an apprenticeship to learn the real ins-and-outs of working in the trade. In some provinces, taking an apprenticeship is mandatory, while in others it is optional. Be sure to do your research and find out everything you need to have in order to work as a locksmith in your province.
During a locksmithing college program, you will learn how to install and fix both key and electronic locks, how to identify different keys and locking mechanisms, as well as the basics of electronic alarm systems, automotive locks, and how to operate a key duplication machine. Locksmiths will also learn how to assess a building for security, and how to make recommendations for security solutions.
If you do not live in a town with a college campus where you can attend in person, many colleges now offer the courses you need for a lockpicking diploma through online learning. This means that you can enroll for the program remotely, and study at home by accessing the course materials over the Internet. This is a good solution for students who live in remote communities, or who do not want to move to a new city in order to attend college.
Most locksmiths begin working with an established company, but between a college program and apprenticeship experience, you will also learn how to begin your own locksmithing business in the future. In Canada, whether you need to complete a test and earn a professional license will depend on which province you live in. Alberta, for example, requires all locksmiths to have a professional license; however, other provinces may not have this requirement.
A professional locksmith typically earns between $13 an hour for early-career stage up to around $30 an hour for a more experienced worker. This works out to between $27,000 and $60,000 per year. The number of hours you work will vary depending on where you work. For example, a locksmith working for a hardware store or other business with regular open and close times can rely on having a predictable schedule.
If you own and operate your own locksmith business, however, you can expect hours to be more variable, as well as sometimes incorporating on-call services for emergencies outside of regular business hours. This can include working in the middle of the night, on weekends, and on holidays. However, locksmiths can often charge a premium rate to accommodate these kinds of work requests.