How to Become a Locksmith in Pennsylvania

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How to Become a Locksmith in Pennsylvania

It is hard to sometimes figure out what you want to do with your life.

Think about your long-term career aspirations if you have any or consider how trapped you might feel in your dead-end job.

If you think you would like to work in the security field, learn how to become a locksmith in Pennsylvania.

Steps to Become a Locksmith in Pennsylvania

  1. Find out what training you need. Remember, every state has different licensing requirements.
  2. Complete the six-day fundamental training. The Association Locksmiths of America provides this course. You can either take it online or watch out for in-person offerings near you.
  3. Explore recommended classes. You might even find some available for free in your location. Check the ALOA website for more information.
  4. Navigate through apprenticeship information. Local hardware stores and emergency roadside assistance providers could tell you about requirements for future employment. This on-the-job experience will also prepare you for your first official hire, and it will give you the experience you need if you ever decide to become self-employed.
  5. Watch out for job leads. Opportunities might arise in ways you least expect. You never know, but you can also seek out classifies at the ALOA and SAVTA (Safe and Vault Technicians Association) websites or ask your instructors. A paid training position could become permanent too, and perhaps you can seek out temporary positions.

Licensing Requirements to Become a Locksmith

Make sure you have proof of age and identity available when you apply.

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However, it is for home improvement contractor registration, not a locksmithing license.

You will not see Pennsylvania listed as one that requires a locksmith license, but your customers will trust you and employers will respect you if you decide to obtain all the proof of proficiency you can.

The home improvement contractor registration may cost you at least $50.

However, the state might not make you pay that fee if you apply by mail instead of online.

Browse ALOA for more information.

Locksmith Programs

Locksmith certification works differently in states that do not require a license.

However, you will probably succeed more in this profession if you take the training tracks recommended by ALOA.

You also can seek more information about how to certify via the Greater Philadelphia Locksmith Association.

Preliminary Training

Becoming a locksmith in Pennsylvania may start out with completing the ALOA Fundamental Locksmith preliminary training.

This does not have to take long.

You can finish it within six days and take a proficient test to receive AFL status.

Then, you would move on to securing official one of these official certifications:

  • CRL – You will achieve the Certified Registered Locksmith (CRL) certification if you complete your preparatory work and pass in 10 mandatory categories. An additional two electives also apply to obtaining the CRL, which you would test for at the same time as when receiving the mandatory proficiency testing. Some entry-level jobs might open up to you at this level.
  • CPL – In addition to the skills you acquired as a CRL you could have become proficient in 12 additional categories if you pass the parts of your exam that pertain to achieving a Certified Professional Locksmith certification. This intermediate level is what many locksmiths start at when they decide to take on their first “real” assignments after completing their apprenticeship.
  • CML – Achieving the Certified Master Locksmith (CML) makes you qualified to handle a multitude of electronic and wireless security system malfunctions. You could even specialize in providing these services and have more than enough work do to without taking on another mechanical key job at all if you stay diligent.
  • CPS – Safe and vault locksmiths usually begin solving more complex security problems after they complete the Certified Professional Safe (CPS) certification. You will probably enter more privileged places with strict security protocols at this level, and it requires as clean of a criminal record as possible.
  • CMST – As a Certified Master Safe Technician (CMST), you will become one of the best in your field in the safe, vault, and standard security protocol. You might even become qualified to enter federal buildings or provide services for local police and detectives. A CMST certificate also shows the highest level of trust that you can offer to clients or employers.

Recommended Schools

ALOA, SAVTA (Safe and Vault Technicians Association) and local Pennsylvania locksmithing association chapters can provide you with the best course of training.

If you want a formal education, trade schools or universities near you may teach technology and security courses.

Maintenance certificate tracks also might help you achieve your career goals, and you can take business courses.

Salary

A Pennsylvania locksmith can earn as much as $54,036.

Check for listings in Philadelphia, Pittsburg Abington or Easton, and more.

Keep continuing your education even after achieving the highest certification level, too.

This will help you earn the most.

Annual Salary Range:
$46K
$54K
$60K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Philadelphia $58,000
Pittsburgh $53,332
Allentown $54,567
Erie $50,013
Upper Darby $58,000
Reading $53,861
Scranton $49,975
Bethlehem $54,567
Lower Merion $58,000
Bensalem $58,479

Regional Salary in Pennsylvania

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ30$53,510$25.73$75,520$29,270
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA40$56,690$27.26$73,880$34,460
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD250$57,310$27.55$77,770$29,920
Pittsburgh, PA70$54,370$26.14$73,860$32,510
* 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 I need a locksmith business license?

Check the Pennsylvania website to verify if you do.

You at least may need a general business license, and it would help to register as a contractor in this state.

You do not usually need it if you are working for another company as a direct hire though.

Do I need insurance to be a Pennsylvania locksmith?

Unless you can pay for any theft, damage, or loss with your own money, yes.

You never know when you might break a lock pick or have someone steal your master keys and break into cars or homes.

If you have legal trouble, your insurance could resolve issues like this before you end up in court.

How long does locksmith training usually take?

The basic course only takes about six days.

Formal certificate programs could take at least a few months.

Self-paced online classes could reduce the time it takes to learn appropriate locksmithing skills.

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