Online Locksmith Training Programs

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Locksmithing is an ancient profession that is critical in commercial and residential capacities and has progressed throughout the ages with technology to include electronic security systems.

Locksmithing can be a lucrative and highly rewarding career that allows you to work technically and creatively to solve problems while working with your hands.

In an age of the home or office desks, locksmithing gives you the entrepreneurship and freedom to get away from the desk and work toward tangible results that protect people and business assets.

If you enjoy an elevated level of manual dexterity, have excellent attention to detail, and love technology, locksmithing could be the career for you!

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Before you jump into this career path, it is important to understand all aspects of this profession.

Keep reading to learn more!

Article Table of Contents

What Courses are in an Online Locksmith Program?

While the course load varies between online locksmith programs, most have the same course learning materials.

For instance, the most common classes include:

Introduction to Locksmithing

In the introduction class, students will learn a variety of skills including, the various tools used by a locksmith, home security basics, an introduction to locking devices and keys, an introduction to key cutting and master-keying, how to install basic locksets, and the basics of automotive locks.

Also, in the introduction class, they will learn the key features and identification of different lock types and how to start and operate a locksmith business.

Professional Locksmithing Techniques 1

The first volume of locksmithing techniques expands on having a locksmithing business and includes basic lock and key types, pin tumbler locks, high-security cylinders, key blank directories and key blanks, and additional information about locksmithing tools.

Also included in this first volume is an overview of sidebar wafer, disc tumbler, lever tumbler, warded, key-in-knob, deadbolt, and cylinder key mortise locks.

Professional Locksmithing Techniques 2

The second volume goes into further detail by encompassing key coding machines, bumping keys, drilling open safes, safe basics, master keying, and pushbutton combination locks.

This course also covers forced entry, impressioning, and lock picking topics.

Professional Locksmithing Techniques 3

For those who are taking a program that includes home security, the final course is comprised of closed-circuit television systems, access control, system integration, and alarms.

It also goes into more detail about automotive lock servicing and working as a locksmith in a professional setting.

two unlocked locks hanged

Can you Earn a Locksmith Certification Completely Online?

There are only a handful of states that require locksmith licensing and certification.

However, even in those states that do not require it, having a certification on your resume or attached to your locksmithing business builds trust within the community and will be beneficial for finding new clients.

Regardless of state requirements or your decision to pursue certification, a locksmith certificate can be completed online.

Depending on the state, you still may have to submit paperwork and fees to become registered, regardless of the certification.

Also, many states waive the locksmith exam requirements if you have proof of completing a locksmith training course.

How Long Does it Take to Earn a Locksmith Certification Online?

Program lengths vary based on how detailed the courses become.

Programs can range from a few months to around one year.

The longer programs go into much more detail about the technical information of various locks and often include home security basic information about alarms, electronic locking systems, motion sensors, etc.

This is beneficial for those looking to offer an encompassing home security service to customers.

How Much Does an Online Locksmith Certification Cost?

Online locksmith programs come with different certification types which can range from $115 for basic classes and registration at The Institutional Locksmiths’ Association to $6000 at the California Institute of Locksmithing, which provides comprehensive classes about everything related to locksmithing and certification.

keys being made

Types of Locksmith Certifications

Within the locksmith industry, there are distinct categories of certifications as listed below.

Automotive Locksmith Certifications

These two certifications relate to automotive locks and include:

  • CAL Level – entry-level certification.
  • CMAL Level – top-level certification after completing CAL and grants the certificate earner the master auto locksmith designation.

Electronic Locksmithing Certifications

This certification type relates to electronic security systems and access control while working with surveillance systems and includes:

  • CEL Level – entry-level certification.
  • CMEL Level – highest level certification after completing the CEL credential.

Institutional Locksmith Certifications

The Institutional Locksmith Certifications consist of four levels:

  • ICRL Level – an entry-level certification that requires passing a mandatory exam and two elective exams, basic electricity, and life safety code.
  • ICPL Level – the second step in certification which requires passing 12 electives.
  • ICML Level – top level within the general locksmithing category and requires 9 additional electives on top of passing the first two levels.
  • CILM Level – specialized credential for a locksmith manager

Locksmith Certification

Four locksmith certification levels exist:

  • CRL Level – entry-level certification which requires passing a mandatory exam with two elective exams. The earned title is certified, registered locksmith.
  • CPL Level – this second certification level requires CRL and passing 12 electives to earn the certified professional locksmith title.
  • CML Level – top certification level within this category and requires CRL, CPL, and passing an additional nine electives to earn the title certified master locksmith.
  • CLL Level – this is a required locksmith exam for Licensing Certification in Louisiana or Alabama.

Safe and Vault Certifications

The safe and vault certifications have two levels:

  • CPS Level – an entry-level requirement that grants the student a Certified Professional SafeTech (CPS) designation.
  • CMST Level – top-level certification within this category that gives you the Certified Master SafeTech (CMST) designation.

old gold lock looking worn out

Benefits of Online Locksmith Training Programs

Many locksmith training programs have shifted to online work due to advancements in technology and the COVID-19 Pandemic.

This presents numerous benefits to the student including:


One of the best and most obvious advantages of an online locksmith training program is the flexibility since the content is self-paced and engaged from home or anywhere with an internet connection.

Those entering the locksmith field are likely concurrently doing an apprenticeship, so they cannot commit to a full-time program.

Therefore, for those juggling school and work, the flexibility of an online locksmith training program offers the opportunity to gain experience while growing professionally.

Improved Time Management

Juggling school, family, and work is not an easy task.

Since there are no set classroom times with an online locksmith program, students can create schedules that work around their personal and professional life.

It is also up to the student to reach out to faculty with questions, complete assignments, and effectively plan days and weeks.

When a locksmith has numerous calls throughout the day, it is critical to estimate the amount of time to complete different job complexities, so time management is an essential skill to refine.

New Technical Skills

When taking an online locksmith training program, you will be exposed to digital learning materials and other online software that helps build your technical portfolio, which is a positive characteristic for any job seeker, especially those entering a technical field like locksmithing.

Part of your learning will be troubleshooting common technical hurdles, which further supports your critical thinking skills.

Embracing different technology types is a critical aspect of any job, so online training programs help advance those skills.

Refined Critical-Thinking Skills

Online locksmith training programs allow you to think critically about what you are doing daily.

The in-person or digital classroom goal is to challenge you to think differently and find solutions to various issues.

Mastering critical thinking sets you apart from the competition in the real world.

Critical thinking plays a key role in all forms of education and all career paths, especially when attempting to efficiently solve problems as a locksmith.


Taking an online locksmith training program evaluates your ability to remain self-motivated.

Students need to be independent, learn on their own, and engage with the material with little direction.

Since there is no classroom setting, students must be disciplined enough to complete the work in an at-home setting, where there could be other distractions.

An online locksmith program also requires you to tackle multiple tasks, adapt to changing work conditions, and set priorities, all of which are representative of working in the field.

lock with heart print

Drawbacks of Online Locksmith Training Programs

Like with any training program, there are some drawbacks to online learning, including:

Lacks Face-to-Face Communication

The lack of face-to-face communication is a major disadvantage to a locksmith training program because it inhibits student feedback and could cause students to feel a lack of pressure.

This equates to the potential that students abandon their studies more easily.

Regular nudging by instructors could be annoying for many but is an effective method to keep students on track with their coursework.

Less Opportunity for Hands-On Locksmith Work

When taking an online course, students miss out on lab or workshop work.

While many online locksmith courses have home kits as part of the learning materials, it is not as effective as having an instructor walk around the room to immediately answer questions when students need assistance.

With any online program, as students are walking through the intricacies of different lock types and get stuck on a certain component, they must email their professor, describe the challenge, and wait for an answer.

This could add to the frustration, completion time, and the student could develop a lack of motivation.

Must-Have Excellent Time Management Skills

This point is a double-edged sword in the sense that students learn how to develop time management skills if they stick with the online locksmith program.

However, for those that already have poor skills and a lack of motivation, an online program could be detrimental to their success, especially when juggling school, work, and family responsibilities.

Requires Strong Self-Motivation Skills

Like not having excellent time management skills but learning them, an online locksmith course requires strong self-motivation skills.

Lack of self-motivation among students is one of the greatest drawbacks to taking an online locksmith program.

In traditional workshop settings, multiple factors push students toward reaching their learning goals and completing the online locksmith program.

These include face-to-face communication with professors and classmates and following strict schedules to ensure students do not fall behind.

With an online locksmith training program, there are fewer external factors that push students to be successful.

This means students are left to fend for themselves without constant urging from professors and other classmates.

Many students find it difficult to learn and digest locksmith materials in a comfortable home setting with many other distractions.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Locksmith Training Programs – Summary Table

Benefits of Online Locksmith Training Programs Drawbacks of Online Locksmith Training Programs
FlexibilityLacks Face-to-Face Communication
Improved Time ManagementLess Opportunity for Hands-On Locksmith Work
New Technical SkillsMust-Have Excellent Time Management Skills
Refined Critical-Thinking SkillsRequires Strong Self-Motivation Skills

Four Self-Study Tips for Locksmith Online Students

Taking an online locksmith program can present many challenges for those who are not used to taking online classes from home.

Therefore, these self-study tips can help:

One: Create Dedicated Study Blocks

To be successful with any online program, you must create a dedicated time each day, without interruption, to focus on the work.

Always be available for your online schooling regardless of how busy you are.

Since you must remain committed to completing the program, sacrifices will have to be made in your personal life.

Two: Manage Time Carefully

As part of creating dedicated study blocks, you must manage all aspects of your life carefully to create a balance between work, school, and friends and family.

The best way to do accomplish this is to create a weekly plan the day before your new week begins, so you know exactly what needs to be done during the week.

Three: Set a Designated Work Area

Like with working from home, you must have a designated work area, free from distractions, to study and complete the required coursework.

Separating your school and the personal area will allow you to better focus on the tasks at hand.

Four: Treat Studying Like a Job

Always remember, studying and schooling are part of your job.

Completing the online locksmith program will help you learn lifelong skills to boost your career, so put forth the same effort into the training program as you would into solving lock issues in the field.

keys in locked door

Schools Offering Online Locksmith Training Programs

School Name Address
Penn Foster 925 Oak Street Scranton, PA 18515
Ashworth College 5051 Peachtree Corners Circle, Suite 200 Norcross, Georgia 30092
California Institute Of Locksmithing 30423 Canwood St #201 Agoura Hills, CA 91301
Featured Program

Earn your accredited, affordable Locksmith career diploma online with Penn Foster in as little as 2 months!

Request Information


Online locksmith training programs offer a wealth of benefits with only a few drawbacks you need to consider.

Becoming a locksmith is a lucrative and rewarding career path that combines technical rigor with creative thinking and problem-solving.

If you have this drive to enter the field and have these skills, locksmithing may be the best career for you!


Frequently Asked Questions

Which states require a locksmith license?

15 states that require a locksmith license include Virginia, Alabama, Texas, California, Tennessee, Connecticut, Oregon, Illinois, Oklahoma, Louisiana, North Carolina, Maryland, Nevada, Nebraska, and New Jersey.

Miami and New York City have specific licensing laws, despite no state requirement.

Is locksmithing a good career?

With a median income of around $54,000 per year, locksmithing can be a lucrative career path.

Also, you are helping people remain safe in their time of need, which can be incredibly rewarding.

Not sure if locksmithing is for you?

Read through this article about the pros and cons of being a locksmith to help you make the decision.

Why is attending a locksmith school a good idea?

In addition to learning a variety of new skills that can be applied in the field, advanced training can set you apart from the competition when looking for a job or starting a business.

Does a criminal record prevent me from licensure?

It depends on the state.

In those states that do not require licensure, anyone with any background can become a locksmith.

In licensed states, those with a record of theft or burglary may not be able to get a license.

One Comment
  1. Avatar for John Jefferson John Jefferson

    I’m curious about the curriculum and whether it covers both traditional techniques and modern security systems.

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Earn your accredited, affordable Locksmith career diploma online with Penn Foster in as little as 2 months!

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