Locksmiths do much more than open locks for people who have mislaid their keys (or locked them in their car); they also open, repair, adjust, and install locks on doors and safes, as well as make keys, change locks, and even install alarm systems. Locksmiths must be knowledgeable of a wide array of locks and other protective devices. Many choose to acquire this expertise in online locksmithing certificate programs.
Those who decide to take online locksmithing courses can expect to earn a certificate in less than one year. Most programs combine classroom lectures and hands-on lab work. Certificate holders are well versed in a variety of locks, including home and automobile locks as well as high-security systems. According to estimates provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 16,200 people were employed as locksmiths in 2011.
Types of Locksmithing Certificates
The typical online locksmith course, where most professionals learn their craft, only requires a high school diploma (or equivalent) and cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. Generally, a good locksmith program will take two semesters to complete. Usually, course work in key identifying, cutting, and duplicating will be required, as will at least one course on picking locks, making master keys, and installing locks and other systems. Since many locksmiths run their own businesses, a course on entrepreneurship is often offered.
What’s Next for Locksmithing Certificate Holders?
Most locksmiths either work for small businesses or operate their own. These professionals typically work out of small shops and perform the bulk of their work at people’s houses and commercial establishments.
According to BLS data from 2012, the unemployment rate for people without a high school diploma was 12.4%; for those with a vocational certificate, on the other hand, the unemployment rate was only 7.7%. Certificate holders also earned than 50% more in 2012, generally, than those who did not complete high school. Specifically in the locksmithing field,the median salary was $38,490 in 2011.
For locksmiths with an associate degree in areas like business administration, their 2012 unemployment rate was only 6.2%. Associate degree holders also earned more than $180,000 more during the course of their careers than colleagues who stopped their education with a certificate, according to a recent report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. In fact, the average associate degree holder will earn $1.7 million during the course of his or her lifetime career.
Some locksmiths even seek out bachelor’s degrees. According to the Georgetown University report, those with a bachelor’s degree will have average lifetime earnings of nearly $2.3 million, more than 45% higher than their colleagues who ended their college education with a vocational certificate. Furthermore, bachelor’s degree holders had an easier time finding and keeping work during the recession; as reported by the BLS, they suffered from only 4.5% unemployment in 2012.