Employment Prospects


Approximately 16,900 locksmiths are employed in the United States. The largest demand for locksmiths is in larger metropolitan areas. Locksmith shops or large hardware or department stores hire many locksmiths. Numerous large factories, resorts, hotels and industrial facilities hire locksmiths to install and change their locks and to maintain their security systems. Many locksmiths open their own businesses and provide services to home or automobile owners, as well as to hospitals, hotels, motels, businesses, government facilities, and housing developments.

The increased use of security systems in businesses and residences offers many additional employment options for locksmiths. These jobs may require additional training and skills, however.

Starting Out

Since locksmithing is a vocation that requires skill and experience, it is unlikely that the untrained job seeker will be able to begin immediately in the capacity of locksmith. Beginners might consider contacting local shops to inquire about apprenticeships. In some cases, skilled locksmiths may be willing to teach their trade to a promising worker in exchange for low-cost labor. Another method is to check with state employment offices for business and industry listings of job openings for locksmiths. Some locksmith trade organizations may post job openings or apprenticeships.

Students enrolled in a trade school can obtain career counseling and job placement assistance. Trade school graduates should be qualified to begin work in established locksmith shops doing basic work both in the shop and on the road; others become in-house locksmiths for businesses and other establishments.

Advancement Prospects

Most locksmiths regard their work as a lifetime profession. They stay abreast of new developments in the field so that they can increase both their skills and earnings. As they gain experience, industrial locksmiths may advance from apprentices to journeymen to master locksmiths, to any of several kinds of supervisory or managerial positions. 

After having worked in the field for a number of years, many lock experts decide to establish their own shops and businesses. In so doing, they tend to build working relationships with a list of clients and, in effect, can grow their business at their own flexible rate. Self-employed locksmiths are responsible for all the tasks that are required to run a business, such as planning, organizing, bookkeeping, and marketing. 

Another advancement opportunity lies in becoming a specialist in any of a number of niches. Some locksmiths work exclusively with combination locks, for example, or become experts with automobile devices. One of the most promising recent specialty growth areas is that of electronic security. Such safety devices and systems have become standard equipment for large establishments such as banks, hotels, and many industries, as well as residences and autos, and their popularity is creating a need for skilled locksmiths to install and service them.

Tips for Entry

Talk to locksmiths about their careers. ALOA Security Professionals Association offers a member search feature at its Web site, http://www.findalocksmith.com. Use it to locate a potential interviewee in your area.

Read Keynotes (https://www.aloa.org) to learn more about the field.

Join ALOA Security Professionals Association to take advantage of networking opportunities, become certified, and access publications and other resources.