How to Become a Locksmith in Ohio

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How to Become a Locksmith in Ohio

As a locksmith, your primary duties involve assisting businesses and individuals with securing valuable items and remaining safe from theft, fire, vandalism, and other types of losses.

To become a locksmith in Ohio, you need to understand the inner hardware of safes and locks, and learn how to design, open, and repair several types of locking mechanisms.

Like with other states that require locksmith licensure, Ohio has a documented process that must be followed and approved by the locksmith licensing board.

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

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Steps to Become a Locksmith in Ohio

The specific steps to become a locksmith in Ohio are as follows:

Step One: Education

The minimum education requirement to become a locksmith is a high school diploma or equivalent.

This basic education acts as a foundation for success in earning the required qualifications for locksmith training programs and entry-level employment.

Although advanced locksmith training is not required in Ohio, many of those new to the field are opting for this option to improve their skills and help with job placement.

Step Two: Experience

Working as an apprentice with a professional locksmith will gain you the necessary experience to work for a larger company or branch out on your own.

This experience coupled with a formal locksmith training program will help you more easily find a job and sharpen your skills.

Step Three: Pass the Certification Exam

Ohio requires all locksmiths to pass a certification exam before they can become state-recognized official locksmiths.

Certification provides you with a core competency among competitors, shows your commitment and experience in the field as an expert, and establishes reliability among customers.

Those who pass the exam are qualified as registered locksmiths.

Step Four: Apply for Licensure

After you have completed the certification exam, the next step is to apply for a vendor’s license, which is a state requirement.

Also, you can apply for a locksmith license through the licensing board.

Step Five: Find a Job

Since you have completed all requirements, the last step is to find a job as a locksmith.

Some choose to start a locksmithing business and promote the company via the internet, phone directories, ads in the Yellow Pages, and word-of-mouth advertising.

Others opt to work for large and well-established locksmith companies that can offer a variety of benefits.

Licensing Requirements to Become a Locksmith

Although the above process recommends getting licensed through the State of Ohio to build your authority and reputation, it is not required at this time.

There have been reports of instances where unlicensed locksmiths have used their skills to gain unlawful entry into buildings or automobiles, which has prompted government review.

Also, Ohio law cites that you can legally own lockpicks and related tools unless the intended use is an illegal entrance into private property or use on a lock-in for which you did not gain permission.

If you plan to become a locksmith business owner then you must acquire a vendor’s license, like with any role in the service industry.

It is also recommended to obtain business insurance and bonding in case there is a future issue with your work.

This is also not required by the state.

Locksmith Programs

If you are looking to advance your skills in the locksmithing field, consider the following programs:

Ashworth College

Ashworth College offers a four-month locksmithing program where students learn the inner workings of manual and electric lock systems for homes, vehicles, and businesses.

This program, including all materials, costs $749.

Associated Locksmiths of America (AOLA)

AOLA is the gold standard in advanced locksmith education.

They offer three certification levels: Certified Registered Locksmith (CRL), which is the first certification level, Certified Professional Locksmith (CPL), which is the intermediate certification level, and Certified Master Locksmith (CML), which is the highest certification level.

These can be completed online so the completion timing varies around your schedule.

The CRL program costs $150 and increases based on the level of certification.

Penn Foster

As one of the few online locksmith schools, Penn Foster offers an extensive training and diploma program that can be completed in under one year.

The cost of the entire program including materials is $749.


The median locksmith income in Columbus, Ohio is slightly under the U.S. median income at $53, 414 with a salary range of $39,897 to $66,411.

Comparatively, the U.S. median income is $54,145 and it ranges from $40,443 to $67,320.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Columbus $53,414
Cleveland $53,592
Cincinnati $52,948
Toledo $52,407
Akron $51,984
Dayton $52,634
Albany $48,319
Youngstown $51,427
Canton $51,912
Lorain $52,721

Regional Salary in Ohio

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN100$49,380$23.74$64,440$31,330
Cleveland-Elyria, OH80$54,340$26.13$72,020$35,140
Columbus, OH80$55,560$26.71$74,550$35,530
* 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

What skills are needed to become a locksmith in Ohio?

Locksmiths need to learn how to work with the latest technology including keyless entry systems, security cameras, biometric scanners, and many other advanced equipment types.

Therefore, working knowledge of key-cutting machines, key types, and lock types are critical learning points for new locksmiths.

Are there any qualifications required to become a locksmith in Ohio?

Although advanced training and apprenticeship are only recommended, the only Ohio requirement is a high school diploma or GED.

Can you provide more information about locksmith licensure in Ohio?

Although licensure is not required at the state level, localities have the power to make their licensing system.

Many locksmiths have argued that it is another expense and barrier of entry into the industry and does not prevent scamming or help consumers.

However, it does build your reputation and skill set.

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