How to Become a Locksmith in Washington

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How to Become a Locksmith in Washington

Locksmithing can be a lucrative and exciting career for those who are looking to go down this path.

In Washington, you can make a good salary without any training or requirements and help citizens enter their homes and automobiles during the most desperate times.

However, before you run off and purchase your locksmith toolkit, read the following information on how to become a locksmith in Washington, licensure requirements, available training programs, salary, and commonly asked questions.

Steps to Become a Locksmith in Washington

Locksmiths are experts that install, replace, repair, and inspect the home, business, and automobile locking systems and different lock types.

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Locksmiths can duplicate and cut new keys for a variety of locks, assist with opening doors when the owner is locked out, and understand the latest locking technologies, like maintaining and repairing digital locks.

Many locksmiths are also well-versed in the installation, repair, and maintenance of home security systems.

If these activities sound appealing to you, below are the basic steps to becoming a locksmith in Washington.

Step One: Earn a High School Diploma

Like in all states, the first step is to earn a high school diploma or equivalent.

Since neither training nor certification requirements exist in Washington, if you plan to open a locksmithing business, a high school diploma is not required.

However, if you wish to work for a locksmith company, you must meet this minimum requirement to be hired as an employee.

Step Two: Complete Educational Opportunities

Although the State of Washington or employers do not require the completion of locksmith training, it can help advance your skills and assist with job placement.

If two entry-level candidates are applying for the same job, the employer will almost always take the candidate with training over the candidate without.

The most basic training programs from trade schools or community colleges instruct students about the workings of electronic and manual lock types, key duplication and cutting, evaluating lock security, repairing various systems, and picking commercial and residential locks.

Although core courses must be completed, most programs offer electives related to new advances in lock technology, how to run a locksmithing business, and automotive locks.

Step Three: Sign Up for an Apprenticeship

In addition, or as an alternative to formal training, you can gain in-person experience by becoming the apprentice of a professional locksmith.

During your apprenticeship, you will learn and be engaged in lockpicking, running a business, different lock types, and improving your customer service.

Being a locksmith is not just about picking locks, you must deal with easy and difficult customers.

Although there are techniques to manage frustrated clients, collaborating with a professional can help you understand how to manage different situations.

Washington is not a state that requires an apprenticeship to become a locksmith.

Step Four: Find a Professional Locksmithing Organization

While becoming a member of a professional locksmithing organization is not a requirement, it helps build your credibility with employers or clients if you are opening a business.

The best place to start is at the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA), which will give you access to legal representation, find insurance, take training classes, learn about lock technologies, and network with other locksmiths and locksmith companies.

ALOA was established to help locksmiths expand their customer base, connect, and improve overall business operations.

Step Five: Become Insured

For those looking to open a locksmithing business, if you are taking out a loan, you will need to be insured to protect your assets or the bank will not grant this loan.

Even if you do not require a bank loan, it is critical to find a good insurance plan in case of a lawsuit, mistake, accident, or some other type of error.

Licensing Requirements to Become a Locksmith in Washington

The State of Washington does not require a locksmithing license or certification.

This is good for those trying to quickly set up shop in the industry and start earning a salary.

However, this also means that any random individual can become a locksmith, which increases competition and gives scammers an easy entrance into clients’ homes and businesses.

The result is a poor reputation for locksmiths, so prove the naysayers wrong!

Locksmith Programs

There are not any locksmithing schools or programs in Washington because no state requirements exist for this profession.

However, there are several online schools where new locksmiths trying to build their portfolio or veteran locksmiths who want to improve their skills can sign up for programs.

Ashworth College and Penn Foster are the two leading online locksmith programs in the United States.

Both can be taken from anywhere with an internet connection, thus giving you the flexibility to be mobile and complete the courses at your own pace.

Both programs cost $749 and Ashworth College locksmith training can be completed in four months.

The Penn Foster program is more comprehensive with completion in a little under one year.


As Washington’s largest city, Seattle is home to the greatest number of locksmiths.

Due to the cost of living, the median salary is higher than elsewhere in the state at just over $59,000 with a range of $44,000 to $73,000.

The median pay is $5,000 higher than the national median of $54,000.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Seattle $59,202
Spokane $52,195
Tacoma $57,416
Vancouver $56,068
Bellevue $59,202
Everett $57,935
Federal Way $57,416
Kent $57,300
Yakima $53,591
Bellingham $55,282

Regional Salary in Washington

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA170$54,150$26.04$80,300$34,650
* 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

Why is signing up for an online training program beneficial if Washington does not require it?

Any type of advanced education to improve your craft can help sharpen your locksmithing skills and be a more effective and efficient locksmith.

For those looking to open a locksmith company, these training programs also help with the business aspect of the venture.

For those looking to work for a company, extra training sets you apart from the other candidates.

Can I become a locksmith in Washington with a criminal record?

The State of Washington does not require registration or certification, so your criminal past is irrelevant to your future craft.

However, locksmithing companies might have different background check requirements for all employees.

How can I find the best locksmithing program?

Since there are not any schools in Washington, you must take the courses online.

Therefore, the primary considerations are cost, comprehensiveness of the content, length of time you can commit, and reputation of the school.

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