How to Become a Locksmith in Illinois

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How to Become a Locksmith in Illinois

Locksmithing is an increasingly popular career choice, particularly for those interested in working for themselves.

Many people have acquired the skills to be a locksmith through practice and experience.

However, it is possible to gain official training as well.

There are several locksmithing schools in Illinois.

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These provide comprehensive training courses to prepare students for careers as locksmiths.

The cost of the training depends on the school but is usually between $500 and $750.

Steps To Become a Locksmith in Illinois

Becoming a locksmith in Illinois is an important part of life for many, particularly those not satisfied with working service jobs.

If you are looking to get out of the rat race and become your boss, take these five steps toward becoming a locksmith in Illinois.

Step 1: Start Early

You may find that you are better off starting your career early rather than later.

This is because many locksmiths are retired public safety officers, carpenters, or even plumbers who have found that this career works for them.

If you are under 18, be sure to check with state regulations before you begin working in the locksmith field.

While it is not impossible to become a locksmith at your age, it may not be easy.

Step 2: Learn Electronics

As a locksmith, you will often need the assistance of electronics to open up locked devices or car ignitions to gain access.

It is imperative that you learn basic knowledge of electricity and how to work with it.

You can gain electrical knowledge by taking a simple electrician’s course.

Your state or vocational school often offers these classes, but you should check to ensure the information will help you in your particular line of work.

Step 3: Get Your Tools

To become a locksmith, one of the first things you will need is tools.

While it is possible to have a full set of tools, you can find locksmiths who only carry a few pieces.

A set of skeleton keys will come in handy for this job, as well as a tension wrench and screwdriver bit.

Also, be sure that your electrical knowledge is up to date so that you can work on some of the more difficult devices.

Step 4: Get Licensed

The next step to becoming a locksmith is to get your state license.

While requirements may vary, generally, you will need to be at least 18 years of age and have proof of your identity, training in basic electronics, and knowledge of the laws governing locksmithing.

Step 5: Keep Up with Technology

One of the most important aspects of being a successful locksmith is keeping up with the latest technological advances.

Visit workshops and seminars if you want to keep on top of new developments.

The Licensing Requirement to Become a Locksmith

In Illinois, a person who wishes to become a locksmith must meet certain licensing requirements.

Here are the detailed requirements:

The first type of requirement is age.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old to apply for the locksmith professional license in Illinois.

They should also prove that they are eligible for employment in the United States.

Second, applicants are required to have a high school diploma or GED.

They need not major in related fields when they study high school or attend equivalency programs.

They meet the requirement as long as it can show that they have taken enough subjects in key areas such as science and math.

Third, applicants must pass an examination to be issued a locksmith professional license in Illinois.

The test is based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards, part of the federal government’s safety codes.

The fourth requirement is fingerprinting for a background check.

Applicants will have to submit their fingerprints electronically, such as online or via mobile devices, using IDENTICO or Live Scan technologies.

They can also be submitted by ink at the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

Fifth, applicants must pay a fee when they file their applications.

They can do so online using credit cards such as MasterCard and Visa.

Checks and money orders can also be used in paying the fees, but only if the applicant has filed the necessary forms to request check or money order payments.

Locksmiths in Illinois must follow the state security contractor law and the residential builders’ law when they handle locksmith services for buildings and residences, respectively.

They should also know the state’s burglary prevention codes to make sure they offer their clients current advice on precautions against burglary.

Locksmith Programs

Choosing the right locksmithing program to meet your needs can be difficult.

It is important to know the total cost of the school and how long it will take before you can become a certified locksmith.

Here are some of the factors that influence cost, time, and completion requirements at different schools.

How long the program takes to complete – these programs range from one week to two years.

Some of the most popular schools in Illinois are:

  • Lincoln College of Technology, Langhorne, PA for one year ($14,700)
  • Universal Technical Institute, Houston, TX for 12 months ($21,870)
  • Colorado Technical University, Colorado Springs, CO for ten months ($31,766)

The number of hours required – some schools require as few as 250-350 hours, while others require over 1000.

Many vocational schools operate on the quarter system, requiring longer programs to accommodate more class time.

Other Factors – While some schools offer a comprehensive range of courses with guaranteed jobs upon completion, others may have fewer options.

Most locksmithing programs require physical agility and a clean criminal record.

Some vocational programs charge a fee for certifications, while others provide tuition reimbursement.

Salary

The average salary of a locksmith in Illinois is $53,919 per year.

The salaries are typically determined by their education level, location, and experience.

Locksmiths who have completed an apprenticeship program can expect to earn less than those who hold bachelor’s degrees.

Additionally, the more years they have worked as locksmiths will typically result in higher salaries.

For example, a locksmith who has worked for ten years will generally earn more than a locksmith who only works at the trade part-time.

Annual Salary Range:
$48K
$55K
$62K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Chicago $57,350
Rockford $53,237
Aurora $56,871
Naperville $56,319
Peoria $52,215
Springfield $49,896
Joliet $55,927
Elgin $56,376
Waukegan $54,121
Cicero $57,350

Regional Salary in Illinois

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI400$50,800$24.43$72,260$34,370
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Locksmiths and Safe Repairers, OCC Code 49-9094, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where should I go to get locksmith training?

Though not required, several trade schools in the state offer locksmithing courses.

These programs typically last nine months and take place Monday through Friday from 10 am to 1 pm each day.

How do I find a locksmithing apprenticeship?

The state of Illinois does not set standards for coaches or mentors, so the licensing agency recommends asking for proof of at least three years in the business and checking references before you accept an invitation to work as an apprentice.

What is involved in the licensing process?

The state requires locksmiths to complete 30 hours of continuing education during each three-year licensing cycle.

It takes most locksmiths between six and nine months to finish the required coursework.

Applicants must also pass a written examination with a score of at least 70 percent and be willing to comply with the Department’s requests for additional information.

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Earn your accredited, affordable Locksmith career diploma online with Penn Foster in as little as 5 months!

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