How to Become an Locksmith in Texas
Locksmith jobs are a popular choice for those looking for skilled trades careers in the Lone Star State.
Completing an apprenticeship or a state-approved educational program can help you learn the essential skills for the job so you can pass your licensing exam and become a certified locksmith in Texas.
Education and Training
Wondering how to become a locksmith in Texas? Like other skilled trades careers, locksmiths must complete an approved training program before they can legally qualify for locksmith jobs. Those who wish to pursue this career path generally have two options they can choose from:
- Work experience through a locksmith apprenticeship
- Formal instruction at a Texas trade school or community college
One of the most common ways to develop the skills you need for locksmith jobs in Texas is to take a paid apprenticeship at a reputable locksmith shop in your area. When a licensed locksmith hires an inexperienced employee, they register them with the state and get them an official locksmith pocket card so they can legally work as an apprentice.
What Do Apprentice Locksmiths Do?
Apprentice locksmiths in Texas work under licensed professionals to learn the essential skills for the job. Trainees learn to make keys, change lock and safe combinations, and install, repair and open locks. Employers also teach apprentices how to use the various tools of the trade, including:
- Key decoders
- Plug spinners
- Locksmith tweezers
- Turning tools
- Pinning blocks
Apprentice Locksmith Duties
As an apprentice, you’ll work under the supervision of a licensed locksmith, performing various tasks. Your duties typically include making duplicate keys, taking emergency calls from customers who have accidentally locked themselves out of their homes and vehicles, and traveling to worksites with your employer to install, repair, or replace different types of locks and security systems.
What Classes Do You Take?
Some aspiring locksmiths in Texas prefer to undergo a formal education program. A locksmith training program must include a 48-hour introductory locksmith course, plus a 600-hour Locksmith Fundamentals course that covers:
- Key Blank Identification
- Deadbolt, Mortise, Knob and Lever Locks
- Automotive Opening
- Key Duplication
- Codes and Code Cutting
- Basic Lock Picking
- Rim and Mortise Cylinders
- Lock and Safe Installation and Servicing
- Panic Device Installation, Servicing, and Replacement
You can find state-approved training courses on the Texas Online Private Security (TOPS) website.
How Long is Locksmith Training in Texas?
Locksmith apprenticeships take at least two years to complete. Trade school programs, on the other hand, typically last less than a month. After passing a proficiency test to graduate from your training course or finish your apprenticeship, you’ll need to complete one year of full-time locksmith experience before you can apply for state licensure.
Depending on which Texas trade school you attend, the cost of your locksmith training course might range between $400 and $1,000. Institutions that teach students how to operate advanced, high-tech security locks and systems typically cost more than a standard course. Many locksmith trade schools in Texas waive tuition prices for veterans and active-duty military service members.
Texas Locksmith Requirements
Locksmiths in TX must have an official license from the Private Security Bureau of the Texas Department of Public Safety. To obtain your certification, you must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent.
The TOPS Website
You must also apply on the TOPS website by creating an account or logging into your existing account and selecting the Start an Individual Application icon on the homepage. From there, you can click on the Unarmed Application Types tab and fill out your Locksmith application by providing the following:
- State ID information certifying that you are at least 18 years old
- Contact information
- Business or school license number to confirm your completed apprenticeship or program graduation
- Demographic information
- Description of the duties you’ll be performing
- Military status
- Criminal background check questionnaire
Before confirming and submitting your paperwork, you’ll see a list of fees that you must pay to process your application form. Aspiring locksmiths in Texas typically pay a total of about $60 in:
- License Fees
- Pocket Card Fees
- TOPS Subscription Fees
- FBI Background Check Fees
Once you submit your application, you’ll need to notify your employer so they can verify your employment and experience through the TOPS website. Throughout the processing period, you must frequently check your application status on your TOPS account so you’ll know when you receive your state license and can qualify for unsupervised locksmith jobs in Texas.
Locksmith Salaries in TX
Locksmiths in Texas typically make decent wages, especially if they work for well-known high-tech, security, or automotive companies. However, the average locksmith salary in Texas also varies across regions. Check out the list below to learn about annual earnings for entry-level locksmiths in different Texas cities:
- Amarillo $33,695
- Houston $44,406
- Dallas $45,182
- San Antonio $42,040
- El Paso $36,293
- Austin $41,984
- Corpus Christi $41,989
More experienced locksmiths in TX may earn about $50,000 per year or more, depending on where they live. Jobs that involve working with complex locking mechanisms on safes and home security units may offer a higher salary as well.
What Do They Do?
Locksmith jobs in Texas involve making keys and repairing and installing locks for homes, businesses, and vehicles. Depending on what services their clients need, these professionals may need to install, replace, repair, or make duplicate keys for:
- Door and window locks and latches
- Combination locks
- Tumbler locks
- Panic bars and security systems
While some reports predict a 15-percent decrease in the demand for locksmith jobs in the United States, those with additional certifications and skills may have an easier time finding locksmith jobs in Texas. With the proper training, locksmiths in Texas can qualify for well-paying, in-demand jobs like auto locksmith, vault and safe specialist, and security consultant.