How to Become an Locksmith in California
Are you the type of person who likes solving problems?
Do you enjoy working with your hands?
Then a career as a locksmith may be a rewarding, profitable choice.
Locksmiths in CA help customers open and replace locks, duplicate keys, and install automated locks and security devices inside homes and businesses.
Education and Training
While no formal education is required to be a locksmith in the state of California, enrolling in a locksmith program can be extremely beneficial. These programs teach individuals the skills they’ll need to be successful. People interested in a locksmithing profession can also look into becoming a locksmith’s apprentice when trying to get into the field.
Whether you take formal classes or learn through an apprenticeship, some topics you will likely cover are:
- Basics of keys
- Locks and key mastering
- Fundamentals of home security
- Home security wiring
- CCTV systems
Earning a Certification
Getting a locksmithing certification, whether in-person or online, can help you stand out from the crowd. The state of California does not have a mandate on needing a certification or meeting a certain education requirement to gain employment, so having a certification can help you look more attractive to potential employers.
Attending a Locksmith Program
Enrolling in a locksmithing program at a vocational college or trade school can help you learn more about the profession. These programs can teach you about key making, electronic safety, and working with different types of locks.
How Much Does It Cost?
Wondering how much locksmithing school costs? The total cost can depend upon the school, as well as the addition of books and materials. Some schools offer extensive training programs for around 15k, while you can find basic online programs that cost around 1k, plus materials and books.
How Long Does It Take?
Like most other post-secondary education, the time it takes to complete can depend on the program and individual. However, some locksmithing schools offer programs that can be completed in as little as five months or up to one year. Students can enroll in either in-person classes or find an online program that better suits their busy life.
California Locksmith Requirements
To legally work as a locksmith in the state of California, you must get a locksmith license. In order to do this, you will need to undergo a criminal history background check through the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
To be eligible to apply for a locksmithing license, you must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Download and complete the license application
- Pass a criminal background check
You may fill out and submit your application online or mail the required documents and payment to:
Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
P.O. Box 989002
West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002
Once the application and application fees have been submitted, you will receive a 120-day temporary registration so long as you pass the background check. Fees for the application total $250, plus an additional $250 once the license is approved. In the state of California, a locksmith license is valid for two years before needing to be renewed.
Locksmith Salaries in CA
In addition to being a rewarding profession, becoming a locksmith can be a profitable one as well. A locksmith salary in California can differ depending on a number of factors like region, experience, and amount of education you complete. Some salaries you might be able to earn as a locksmith in California are:
- Burbank $57,045
- Riverside $54,357
- Fresno $50,912
- San Diego $54,833
- Los Angeles $57,045
A CA locksmith has a wide range of job responsibilities, and they can change depending on the day or job. Locksmiths install, repair, and adjust locks and security devices on both residential and commercial properties. They also cut keys as well as change or bypass locks depending on what the customer needs.
Because of the nature of their job, locksmiths can work unusual hours. This means sometimes working nights and weekends depending on the job or client. Locksmiths may also find themselves on a variety of different worksites such as private homes, commercial businesses, banks, and manufacturing plants.
What Do They Do?
Other duties for a locksmith may include:
- Provide, repair, and troubleshoot locks for windows
- Provide locks for security safes and vaults
- Install, repair, or open vaults and safes
- Auto locksmithing
- Reprogram remote keys, repair key fobs, make new car keys
Locksmiths may also market and sell different lock systems, security control systems, window bars, and deadbolt locks. On commercial properties, locksmiths can even repair certain components on entrance and exit doors.
These workers also have the ability to design and create master key systems for banks, warehouses, apartment complexes, power plants, and manufacturing plants.
Other Skills Needed
Being a successful locksmith means having a wide range of skills available to properly complete a job. Since many jobs will require a locksmith to work face-to-face with a client, individuals in these roles should have strong customer service skills and be personable in conversation.
Some other helpful skills for a locksmith are:
- Dexterity and mechanical skills
- Physical strength
- Problem solving
- Technical aptitude
- Knowledge of security and control systems
- Skilled with hand and power tools
You should be able to find locksmith jobs in California in the coming years. While the job growth may be slower than those in tech or healthcare, experts predict that there will be an additional 3,000 locksmithing jobs available within the next decade, an increase of three percent. Additionally, the state of California has the most locksmithing job opportunities compared to the other parts of the country.