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At a Glance

  • Install and repair locks and safes
  • Often help people who have locked themselves out
  • Have a high level of social interaction
  • Are usually on-call
  • Most learn their skills on the job
  • May need to be licensed and bonded

Career summary

Locksmiths install and repair locks and safes.

#No alternate titles for this occupation CJ

Locksmiths install new locks in doors and safes. They cut new or duplicate keys and set up a master key system. They also set up codes for keyless entry locks. They help customers determine the level of security best suited for their needs. Locksmiths may also be in charge of keeping records of company locks and keys.

To repair a lock, locksmiths may take apart the device and replace worn parts such as tumblers, springs, or electronic parts using hand tools.

Locksmiths also use lockpicks or drills to unlock doors and safes when owners have lost their key. They may replace the key or rekey the device. Sometimes locksmiths are called because locks are jammed. Once they have opened these locks, locksmiths take them apart and repair or replace the worn wheels and springs.

Locksmiths use key cutting machines to create new or duplicate keys.

Locksmiths install safes. In banks they install vault doors and safe deposit boxes. They may also replace the doors and redo the exterior finishes.

Some locksmiths install and repair electronic alarm and surveillance systems.

Related careers

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to locksmiths.

Common work activities

Locksmiths perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, locksmiths:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Locksmiths frequently:

It is important for locksmiths to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for locksmiths to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Locksmiths need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study to consider


To work as a locksmith, you typically need to:

Education after high school

A few locksmiths learn their skills through formal training programs. Locksmithing programs are available online or as correspondence courses. In these programs you learn about security devices, access controls, and lock repair. Training programs usually grant a certificate.

On-the-job training

Most locksmiths learn their skills on the job from an experienced worker. Trainees usually begin as helpers. Training typically lasts at least one year.

Washington apprenticeships

For further information on apprenticeships in Washington, contact:

Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Apprenticeship Program (external link)

PO Box 44530
Olympia, WA 98504-4530

#added section 2/08 lh

#Checked info 3/4/06 cj, 2/8/11 & 11/14/16, 4/10/19 cj.

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements. You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

Many locksmiths are self-employed. If you want to run your own business some day, you should consider taking these courses as well:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Some employers prefer to hire applicants who have completed training. Other employers prefer to train locksmiths on the job. These employers generally prefer to hire applicants who have a high school diploma or equivalent. Employers may require applicants to pass a background check for criminal activity.

Employers look for applicants who are trustworthy.

A valid driver's license is usually required. Locksmiths working on low voltage security systems are required to have an electrician's license. Certification by national organizations, such as the Associated Locksmiths of America, is preferred by some employers and can be important for individuals wanting to advance in the field of installing and maintaining complex security systems.

#Saw job announcement at Boeing in Tukwila 11/14/16 for maintenance locksmith that said preferred ALA certification, cj.


Communication and listening skills are important when helping customers.

#no change 03/04 lh or 3/4/09 cj.

Costs to workers

Workers may be required to supply their own hand tools. Some join a professional association, which may have annual dues. Locksmiths who operate their own business may be required to obtain a city license and pay a bonding fee.

#Added CTW info from txt file 2/9/11 cj.


Locksmiths must be bondable.

#This is still the case 1/26/16 lh

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Some workers may receive a salary plus commission. Workers earn more if responding to off-hours calls.

The minimum wage for Washington State as of January 1, 2020 is $13.50 per hour. Some areas of the state may have a higher minimum wage.

Locksmiths and safe repairers (SOC 49-9094)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $12.78 $13.70 $15.21 $22.01 $28.09
Monthly $2,215 $2,374 $2,636 $3,814 $4,868
Yearly $26,580 $28,500 $31,640 $45,780 $58,440
    Bellingham Hourly $13.28 $16.84 $20.24 $23.11 $25.26
Monthly $2,301 $2,918 $3,508 $4,005 $4,378
Yearly $27,616 $35,034 $42,101 $48,072 $52,538
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $13.39 $15.38 $17.63 $20.88 $24.06
Monthly $2,320 $2,665 $3,055 $3,619 $4,170
Yearly $27,844 $31,987 $36,670 $43,418 $50,038
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $12.79 $13.40 $14.42 $15.44 $26.78
Monthly $2,217 $2,322 $2,499 $2,676 $4,641
Yearly $26,605 $27,877 $29,996 $32,112 $55,703
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $17.42 $20.67 $25.87 $28.03 $29.72
Monthly $3,019 $3,582 $4,483 $4,858 $5,150
Yearly $36,227 $43,009 $53,816 $58,291 $61,813
    Vancouver Hourly $12.55 $14.52 $17.64 $26.24 $29.79
Monthly $2,175 $2,516 $3,057 $4,547 $5,163
Yearly $26,102 $30,212 $36,703 $54,593 $61,956
United States Hourly $11.67 $14.86 $19.93 $26.51 $31.67
Monthly $2,022 $2,575 $3,454 $4,594 $5,488
Yearly $24,270 $30,910 $41,450 $55,140 $65,870

Wages vary by employer and area of the country. The locksmith's level of experience and responsibility also affect wages.

Locksmiths who work full time usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include sick leave, paid vacation, and health insurance. Locksmiths who are self-employed must provide their own insurance.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Locksmiths and Safe Repairers (SOC 49-9094)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 659 7.4% 16.1% 72
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 18 5.6% 13.4% 2
    Benton and Franklin Counties 65 6.2% 15.0% 7
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 27 7.4% 11.9% 3
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 47 10.6% 14.1% 5
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 85 -2.4% 14.6% 7
    King County 42 7.1% 19.6% 4
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 18 5.6% 13.8% 2
    Pierce County 29 3.4% 15.2% 3
    Snohomish County 156 9.6% 12.4% 18
    Spokane County 29 6.9% 13.9% 3
United States 22,100 -9.0% 5.2% 2,100

National employment

About 20% of locksmiths are self-employed.

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation is declining. However, some demand may occur as the construction industry builds new homes and buildings.

Job openings will occur as locksmiths retire or leave this occupation.

Other resources

Associated Locksmiths of America (external link)
3500 Easy Street
Dallas, TX 75247
Safe and Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA) (external link)
3500 Easy Street
Dallas, TX 75247
US Small Business Administration (external link)
Seattle District Office
2401 Fourth Avenue, Suite 450
Seattle, WA 98121
Washington Business Week (external link)
PO Box 1170
Renton, WA 98057


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational cluster