Career Profile: Locksmith
When people need help, they have to call the right person. If they need to go somewhere, they might call a taxi service or get a ride from a friend. When they lose their keys or lock themselves out of the house, they call a locksmith for help. Locksmiths or lock technicians are tradespeople who are experts on everything related to locks, keys, and security. Becoming a locksmith is a good career choice for people who enjoy puzzles and working with their hands.
Have you ever thought about the many different skills that go into working with locks? Becoming a locksmith involves learning about how to make keys that fit only one lock and how to repair broken locks or doors. Sometimes this might also mean that people have to learn how to replace doors and hinges as well as installing new locks. These days, working as a locksmith also requires some knowledge of electronic and keyless locks that use number or letter codes. As technology changes, locksmiths need to learn new techniques to keep up with what customers might want.
Learning all of these techniques takes a combination of education and experience. Some people attend classes at locksmith academies, where they learn about key cutting, lock types, and other topics related to their work. Others go straight to an apprenticeship for the trade. Being an apprentice allows them to learn from people who are experienced in the work while also practicing their skills. Locksmith work can require a lot of delicate manipulation of small metal parts, and being able to practice this work is essential for learning the necessary skills. Many locksmiths also need to know basic accounting or bookkeeping skills and learn how to run a business. Receiving a certificate in the trade is also necessary in many parts of Canada.
Keeping up with the latest locksmithing information is important, and many working locksmiths participate in workshops and seminars, as well as reading magazines related to their trade. Some locksmiths work as employees of companies, but many of them have their own businesses or work together with one or two other people. Generally, they work regular hours, but they might need to work evenings or weekends in case of emergency.
Depending on where and how much they work, locksmiths make between about $24,000 and $55,000 per year. Most locksmiths stay in the job for under twenty years. Locksmiths work in a wide variety of conditions, often in small, confined spaces. The ability to use tools to work with very small moving parts of a lock is important, and good vision (with or without glasses) for close-up work is helpful.
Almost every building has locks that need the services of a locksmith at some point. Jobs availability can depend on many factors, such as the number of older workers who are retiring and the size of the town or city where the locksmith lives. If you have the patience and skills to work with locks, you might eventually become part of this trade.