How to Become a Locksmith in Wisconsin

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How to Become a Locksmith in Wisconsin

Circumstances sometimes change, and it causes you to think about your future.

Perhaps learning the steps to become a locksmith in Wisconsin will help you decide if a security career is right for you.

Steps to Become a Locksmith in Wisconsin

  1. Research the training requirements. Find out what courses will certify you to perform the duties required by your customers or an employer. The Associated Locksmiths of America offers guidance concerning this.
  2. Sign up for approved classes. Certain classes offer you the skill set that will help you perform relevant functions on the job. Make sure you take the classes that offer the most current techniques used by locksmiths.
  3. Acquire on-the-job training. Also known as an apprenticeship, your on-the-job training experience allows you to earn at least a bit of money while you prepare for permanent full-time employment.
  4. Start looking for jobs. It does not matter what your certification level is. Start looking for permanent employment as soon as you know you can. Talk to local hardware stores or emergency assistance providers, for instance. Some large-chain department stores also provide key-making services.
  5. Continue to hone your craft. No matter how long you have worked as a locksmith, you may always have to take an occasional new class to update your skills. This will keep you current as technology continues to evolve.

Licensing Requirements to Become a Locksmith

As of 2022, you will not see Wisconsin on the list of states that ALOA says requires a locksmithing license.

However, this location does have some 2015-2016 legislation that does indicate a licensing requirement.

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The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection does also have standards for choosing quality security professionals.

Therefore, you know the state has concerns about protocol concerning the handling of lock, key, and security system issues.

Because of that, you will probably need to pass an FBI background check and show proof of age and identity before securing employment in this field.

Locksmith Programs

To earn a reputation of trust in this state, you will want to work toward certifications recommended by ALOA.

This includes six different levels of training that result in up to five certifications.

The Preliminary Training (AFL)

When preparing to become a locksmith, take the first step.

This involves a five-day training period and an additional testing day, which makes up the ALOA Six-Day Basic Locksmithing course.

At the ALOA Fundamental Locksmith (AFL) level, you will have completed a five-day course and taken your exam on the sixth day.

This does not give you an official certification, but it prepares you for on-the-job training and the pursuance of upper-level certificates.

Upper-Level Certificates

You can decide how far you want to advance in your locksmithing career.

Consider one or more of these levels if you want to earn a substantial living.

The Certified Registered Locksmith Certificate (CRL)

You need to pass at least 10 mandatory training categories to earn your CRL.

Additionally, you will have to show proficiency in two specialized electives.

You would learn quite a bit about what you need to know at this level to operate as a professional.

The Certified Professional Locksmith (CPL) Certificate

At the CPL stage, you will have completed 12 elective training categories in addition to those earned as a CRL.

This provides you with what ALOA calls “advanced knowledge of general locksmithing.”

You might find positions at the CRL level, but you may earn more at the CPL level because this certificate broadens your skillset.

Certified Master Locksmith (CML) Certificate

When you earn your CML, you will have achieved the highest ALOA certified ranking.

At this stage, you must show that you can competently perform at least 90 percent of what you learned so far.

This includes several aspects of electronic (or wireless) security maintenance matters.

The Certified Professional Safe (CPS) Certificate

ALOA has another organization they run called the Safe and Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA).

Following this course track could certify you as a Certified Professional Safe technician.

At this level, you will have become proficient in 17 vault and safe training categories.

The Certified Master Safe Technician (CMST)

This takes you one step further than when you decided to become a CPS.

As a CMST, you will provide the utmost confirmation that you can carry out all locksmithing duties required by your Wisconsin employer or your business customers.

It includes techniques for handling highly privileged information and calls for as spotless of a criminal background check as possible.


Wisconsin locksmiths can make an average of $53,332 per year as of January 2022.

You may make as much as $60,125 in some locations.

Bay City, Beldenville, or Ellsworth seems to have quite a few openings that may require both locksmithing and security access capabilities.

You also might want to try highly populated cities, such as Milwaukee, Green Bay, or Wausau.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Milwaukee $53,586
Madison $53,053
Green Bay $51,941
Kenosha $53,191
Racine $53,191
Appleton $51,952
Waukesha $53,384
Oshkosh $51,616
Eau Claire $50,482
Albany $52,782

Regional Salary in Wisconsin

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Madison, WI30$44,890$21.58$59,040$28,490
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI70$48,270$23.21$66,910$31,350
* 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 do I know if I need a business license?

Locksmithing in Wisconsin may not require a license specific to that profession.

However, you may want to research business licensing requirements mandated by the state, which the Wisconsin Department of Revenue provides.

Do I need locksmithing insurance?

It depends on whether you will work for another company or for yourself.

It is highly recommended that you at least acquire coverage for your tools, equipment and liability to another person or entity.

How long does locksmith training take?

You can finish your initial training within less than a week if you want.

However, you may need time to develop skills beyond what you would need for working at the apprenticeship level.

Some locksmiths attend formal schooling for three years or more or take continuing education courses while employed full time.

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