How to Become a Locksmith in North Carolina

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How to Become a Locksmith in North Carolina

Everyone has been in the predicament of losing their car or house keys, thus prompting a call to the local locksmith to help install new or change the locks around the house.

As a locksmith, you could also be called to assist those who have simply been locked out of their cars or homes.

The locksmith career path usually begins with a trade school or college program, followed by an on-the-job training period.

Keep reading to learn more about how to become a locksmith in North Carolina!

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Steps to Become a Locksmith in North Carolina

When considering becoming a locksmith, a clear career path, and is as follows:

Step One – Complete a Training Program

Once you have earned a high school diploma, it is advisable to enroll in a locksmith training program at a local vocational school or community college.

The training will be a combination of assessment and hands-on training and could take several months to years.

Since North Carolina requires licensure, enrolling in a training program will help you earn this requirement.

Step Two – Enroll in an Apprenticeship

An alternative or addition to formal training is that you can enroll in an apprenticeship, which offers opportunities for entry-level locksmiths to work alongside an experienced professional and take a hands-on role within the industry.

Many apprenticeships are paid, but some provide experience only and could lead to a paid position.

If you choose an apprentice, ensure you are being monitored by a licensed or certified professional to ensure you are receiving the best training.

North Carolina requires you to apply for a Locksmith Apprentice License before enrollment.

Step Three – Earn your License

North Carolina requires state licensure, so you must follow the required guidelines to apply and earn your license.

The North Carolina Locksmith Licensing Board requires testing with assessment and satisfactorily passing.

They determine who can become a Registered Locksmith, Certified Master Safe Technician, or Certified Automotive Locksmith.

Step Four – Work for a Locksmith Company

Before working independently, it always makes sense to work for a well-established locksmith company.

This will allow you to learn more about business operations to develop the skills required to be an entrepreneur.

You can work for a large firm that offers 24-hour emergency service, or a small business that follows normal business hours.

Other companies for consideration include hardware stores, security companies, or other organizations in parallel industries.

Licensing Requirements to Become a Locksmith

Before applying for your license, you must take the locksmith licensure exam, which is submitted with the Authority for Release of Information forms for federal and state record checks, fingerprints for a background check, and a $338 registration fee.

The licensure exam application must be submitted at least 15 days before the test date.

The exam is offered four times per year, once per the second month of each quarter.

The February and August exams are offered in Charlotte while the May and November exams are in Raleigh.

The examination covers safe combination locks, key blank identification, and lockset servicing, among other concepts, and consists of 225 questions to be completed within three hours.

The pass/fail score is 70 percent.

If you have satisfactorily passed the licensure exam, then you can apply for the North Carolina license.

To renew your license every three years, the state requires 24-hours of continuing education.

Navigate to the locksmith board’s website to find a list of approved national and regional organizations that offer continuing education classes.

Locksmith Programs

In the past, a locksmith required a GED or high school diploma, but many new locksmiths are earning an advanced degree from an accredited technical school or college.

The greatest number of locksmith schools are found around Charlotte since it is the largest city in the state, but there are programs available around North Carolina, including:

Ashworth College

This four-month program is online and teaches students how to work with electric and manual lock systems for businesses, vehicles, and residences.

The college is currently offering the program for $749, which is a savings of $250.

Stratford Career Institute

In the Stratford Career Institute online locksmith program, students learn about the various locking and key devices ranging from basic locksmithing techniques to advanced.

The course also covers information on opening a locksmithing business.

The price of the course is now $689 (was $989) and can be completed in around four months.

Penn Foster

Penn Foster is another online locksmithing course that can be completed in around five months and costs $900 to complete.

The course includes study materials, goal-setting tracking tools, and a cutaway lock simulation you can perform at home.

The content is comprised of five courses and covers topics like home security wiring, locks and key mastering, and other relevant information.

Salary – $54,145

The median locksmith salary in the United States is $54, 145 as of January 2022, with a range between $46,973 and $61,041.

The median salary in Charlotte, North Carolina is $53,039 with a range from $39,617 to $65,945.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Charlotte $53,039
Raleigh $52,396
Greensboro $51,745
Durham $52,093
Winston Salem $51,871
Fayetteville $49,683
Cary $52,396
High Point $52,055
Wilmington $49,385
Asheville $49,771

Regional Salary in North Carolina

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC110$37,770$18.16$62,290$22,820
Raleigh, NC60$35,830$17.22$51,080$23,120
* 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

Do you have to become an NC licensed locksmith before being an apprentice?

No, but becoming an apprentice may improve your skills and prepare you for the examination.

Will past criminal records prohibit me from obtaining a license?

When reviewing background checks, many factors are considered when judging past crimes including the age at the time of the crime, the date, and the seriousness.

Each applicant is managed on a case-by-case basis.

Does having an ALOA certification exempt me from taking the locksmith exam?

No, while this was historically true, all candidates who want to obtain a license must pass the exam.

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