How to Become a Locksmith in New York

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How to Become a Locksmith in New York

Responsible for replacing people’s locks, keys, and ignition switches, locksmiths are known for frequently getting people out of unpleasant situations, such as being locked out of their own vehicles or homes.

If you are a New York resident and you are interested in becoming a locksmith, we are here to help.

From the steps you need to take to become a locksmith to licensing requirements to training programs, we have got all the information you need.

Steps to Become a Locksmith in New York

Right now, only a handful of states, including California, Illinois, and Texas, require locksmith licensing, and New York is not included on this list.

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That said, New York City has special licensing requirements, so if you live in this city, there are certain steps you need to take to become a locksmith.

Those who live outside of NYC are not required to apply for a locksmith license.

However, they would certainly benefit from obtaining training through an online or in-person locksmith training program or an apprenticeship.

Licensing Requirements to Become a Locksmith in New York

According to NYC Consumer and Worker Protection, these are the requirements to apply for a locksmith license in NYC:

  • License application
  • Photo ID
  • Current passport-size photo in color
  • Proof of locksmith qualifications
  • Fingerprints
  • Granting authority to act (if applicable)
  • License fee

However, submitting these application materials does not mean your license has been automatically approved.

Locksmith Programs

There are several locksmith training programs in New York.

Whether you live in New York City (where a locksmith license is required) or elsewhere, undergoing locksmith training has a plethora of advantages.

These include better employment prospects and opportunities for advancement in your career.

Even if you live, for example, in upstate New York, the benefits of undergoing locksmith training far outweigh the disadvantages (e.g., the training costs).

Here are some of the training programs in New York:

  • Charles Stuart School – Known as the only licensed locksmithing school in the state, the Charles Stuart School has been training professionals for over three decades. Locksmith courses, which are taught by licensed teachers, include Basic Locksmithing, Intermediate to Advanced Locksmithing, and Advanced Locksmithing. The 900-hour courses run for about 10 months.
  • City Tech – This 70-hour course, which costs $1130, is “designed for building maintenance and security personnel, handymen and hardware specialists, and those aspiring to become locksmiths.” If there are no openings, you can add yourself to the Locksmith Course Waitlist for further notice.
  • Hostos Community College – This community college provides a wide range of certificate courses, including accounting and bookkeeping, business administration management, case management, personal training, HIV counseling, and, of course, locksmithing. Although there is no information about certificate course tuition fees specifically, according to the school’s website, full-time matriculated students pay $2,400 per 12-18 credit hours, while part-time students pay $210 per billable equivalent credit hour.
  • Society of Professional Locksmiths (SOPL) – A global locksmith organization, SOPL offers a variety of training programs, which culminate in certification. Through its locksmith training program, you can explore topics such as cylinder serving, key blank identification, professional opening techniques, door closers, and lock functions, to name just a few. You can avail of their courses for free simply by registering on their website. However, by becoming a member, you get access to their more advanced classes, plus other exclusive benefits.


As of January 27, 2022, the average annual salary for locksmiths in New York is $58,097, with the range typically falling between $50,402 and $65,497.

This is well above the national average, which is $54,145 (with a range between $46,973 and $61,041).

It should be noted, however, that salaries vary widely according to one’s location in New York State.

For example, while the average salary for locksmiths in Brooklyn is $65,136, the average salary in Youngsville, a hamlet with a population of 617, is $49,651.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
New York $65,136
Buffalo $51,780
Rochester $53,375
Yonkers $62,410
Syracuse $53,368
Albany $54,784
New Rochelle $62,152
Mount Vernon $62,383
Schenectady $54,812
Utica $51,849

Regional Salary in New York

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY60$52,470$25.23$65,490$38,510
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY50$56,020$26.93$84,650$37,170
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA1,000$61,200$29.42$81,960$36,160
Rochester, NY30$53,630$25.78$67,580$38,260
* 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

How long does it take to become a locksmith in New York?

This depends on your location in the state of New York.

If you live in NYC, you are required to obtain a locksmith license.

But, before you even undergo licensing, you have to successfully complete a locksmithing course, which can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on your level of experience.

If you live outside of NYC, you do not have to get a locksmith license.

However, because earning a license can propel you forward in your locksmithing career (by improving your employment and career advancement prospects), it is definitely worth considering.

Why is a locksmith license required in NYC and not other parts of New York?

The question should probably focus instead on why other places do not require a locksmith license.

The fact of the matter is that locksmithing comes with an enormous amount of responsibility.

However, almost anyone can advertise himself or herself as a locksmith.

This is bad news for customers since they run the risk of dealing with incompetent (or even worse—fraudulent) locksmiths.

This, of course, is also bad for the locksmith industry, which has to deal with its reputation being tarnished by “bad” locksmiths.

Locksmith licensing, in a nutshell, maintains quality and keeps services consistent across the industry.

How much do locksmiths charge in New York?

According to Home Advisor, customers in NYC can expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $500 (or an average of $275) for locksmith services.

Customers in other parts of New York State can expect to pay significantly less, although no verifiable source can confirm this information.

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