If you want to start a locksmithing business, you should know the laws that govern this business in your state.
Not all states require a special license for locksmiths but if you live in one of the states below, you will need to get some form of registration or license before being allowed to practice.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Requirements for Locksmiths in Alabama
- 2 Requirements for Locksmiths in California
- 3 Requirements for Locksmiths in Connecticut
- 4 Requirements for Locksmiths in Illinois
- 5 Licensing Requirements in Louisiana
- 6 Requirements in Maryland
- 7 Requirements in Nebraska
- 8 Requirements in Nevada
- 9 Requirements in New Jersey
- 10 Requirements in North Carolina
- 11 Requirements in Oklahoma
- 12 Requirements in Oregon
- 13 Requirements in Tennessee
- 14 Requirements in Texas
- 15 Conclusion
Requirements for Locksmiths in Alabama
The institution that regulates locksmithing in Alabama is the Alabama Electronic Security Board (ALESB).
They are the ones who review applications for business licenses for security professionals.
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Even if you work only with conventional locks, in the state of Alabama all locksmiths are “security professionals”.
If you want to practice locksmithing in Alabama, the first step is to fill out an application packet that is found on AESBL’s website.
During the application process, you need to provide evidence of a policy of general liability insurance of at least $250,000.
All new applicants for licensure in the 2021-2022 year, are required to submit two ALEA background forms, two completed fingerprint cards, and pay a $38.25 processing fee for criminal background reports.
If you own a company you will be required to pay an annual administrative fee of $150 and a $150-$200 fee, depending on the type of organization you own.
Individuals have to pay a $25 annual fee.
Automotive, residential, and commercial locksmiths are required to complete the Proficiency Registration Program of the Associated Locksmiths of America or the AESBL Locksmith Test.
If they pass any of the above tests they will be licensed to practice.
Electrical locksmiths also need an NTS Level 1 and/or NTS Level 2 equivalent.
There are also continuing education requirements for Alabama locksmiths.
To keep their license locksmiths need to obtain a minimum of 1.2 Continuing Education Units or 12 class hours of industry-related training.
Requirements for Locksmiths in California
To qualify for a locksmith license in California you must:
- be at least 18 years of age
- pass a criminal history review by the Department of Justice and FBI
- specify who will run the locksmith businesses
Applying for a License
To apply for a license in California you need to submit an application package that includes an application, personal identification, a copy of the Live Scan Form, two recent photographs or IDs, a request for Authorization of Business name, and endorsed articles of incorporation (if you apply for a license as a corporation).
Those who hold a physical office must also obtain a branch office registration.
The application process costs $500, consisting of a $250 application fee and a $250 license fee.
After filling the application form and paying the above fees you also must pay a $32 DOJ fingerprint fee and a $17 FBI fingerprint fee.
If you also open a physical office you will be charged a $35 branch office fee.
If your services will also include work that exceeds the $500 threshold you need a contractor’s license.
Requirements for Locksmiths in Connecticut
Compared to other states, the process of becoming a licensed locksmith in Connecticut is quite simple.
If you want to become a registered locksmith in Connecticut you have to be at least 18 years of age.
You will also need a complete criminal history check from the Connecticut State Police Bureau of Identification and you have to complete the FBI Identification Record Information.
The application can be filled out online.
You will also have to pay a $200 registration fee payable to the Treasurer, State of Connecticut.
Requirements for Locksmiths in Illinois
You have to be at least 21 years of age to become a locksmith in Illinois.
There are also other requirements, including:
- no felonies within the last 10 years
- not being dishonorably discharged from the armed services
- successfully passing the Locksmith Licensure Exam
- if you are a business owner you also need proof of insurance
The first step in the application process is to pay a $167 application fee and complete an online exam.
60 days after submitting the licensure application you have to schedule a fingerprinting appointment and pay a $32 fee.
You may also have to submit a criminal background check which costs about $17.
Apply to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
It can take up to six weeks to obtain the exam results.
If you pass the examination you will be notified about the licensure fee.
Business owners also have to submit proof of insurance at this stage.
Licensing Requirements in Louisiana
In Louisiana, it’s quite simple to become an employee in a locksmith firm but it is harder to own your own business.
Complete an online application and submit a $250 money order to the Office of State Fire Marshal.
Provide proof that the firm is licensed.
You will also need an original certificate of insurance of at least $500,000 in liability coverage.
You also need a copy of a driver’s license and a fingerprint card completed by the local law enforcement agency, which costs about $42-$43.
You also need certification from ALOA.
You also need to complete the following courses:
- Fire Marshal Administrative Rules Course
- Fire Marshal Plan Review Course
- Life Safety Course
This step applies only to employees.
They must submit an employment application and pay a $100 fee.
Employees must also sign up for a fingerprint background check and a copy or certification.
Requirements in Maryland
In Maryland, only employers and independent locksmiths with no employees require a license from the state.
Employees need only work authorization and to obtain an ID card through your employer.
The first step is to fill out an online application.
To qualify for licensure, you have to:
- be at least 18 years of age
- include passport-size photographs of the owner and all employees
- a copy of the driver’s license of the owner and employee
If you want to start a locksmithing business you need:
- a fixed verifiable business address
- proof of general liability insurance of at least $300,000
- two sets of fingerprints
- having no conviction of a felony or misdemeanor relating to locksmithing or security.
Requirements in Nebraska
If you want to become a locksmith in Nebraska you need a valid registration certificate issued by the county clerk.
To qualify for licensure you have to:
- be at least 18 years of age
- name and social security number
- business name
- address of business
- not be convicted of any state laws
- three references that can attest your character and abilities
- pay a $5 certification fee.
Requirements in Nevada
Locksmiths in Nevada need to comply with Chapter 655 of the Nevada Revised Statutes.
All locksmiths need a permit from the Sherriff of the county in which their business is located.
Qualification requirements vary county by county and it’s the sheriff’s responsibility to review each applicant and decide who qualifies.
Usually, locksmiths have to:
- be at least 18 years of age
- not be convicted of any felony
- maintain a current and valid driver’s licensed
- prove that they have a general liability insurance
- if you want to open a business you need insurance between $250,000-$500,000
You will have to renew your license every 5 years.
Requirements in New Jersey
Locksmiths in New Jersey have to register with the Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm, and Locksmith Advisory Committee.
Each prospective locksmith has to submit an application that is reviewed by the Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors.
The Application Process
To be a licensed locksmith in New Jersey you have to:
- be at least 18 years of age (or at least 21 if you want to become an electrical locksmith)
- not be convicted of any felony within the last 10 years
- the Division of Consumer Affairs conducts criminal history background checks.
After applying you will be contacted by the Board to determine where to have your fingerprints electronically recorded, a service that costs $78.
Once approved you are required to:
- display the state-issued identification at all times
- renew your license every 3 years
- maintain a surety bond of at least $10,000
- notify the Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors if you hire any employees
Requirements in North Carolina
If you want to become a locksmith in North Carolina, you will need to follow a few steps.
They have even created a website that is dedicated to those who want to pursue this profession; it is called the North Carolina Locksmith Licensing Board.
There are three different applications available in North Carolina:
- Application for an Apprentice License
- Application for Licensure
- Application for Renewal
After downloading the online application you will also need:
- a copy of your legal resident documents (if you’re not a US citizen)
- a copy of any relevant license that you may have gained in other states
- a copy of your locksmith certification
- a recent photograph
- fingerprint card
- certified criminal history report
- copy of military discharge papers (if applicable)
- a $338 fee
- completed registration form
- notarized authorization for release of records (which is found in the application)
- completed and signed “authority for release of information” (also found in the application)
You will also have to pass a locksmith examination.
The study guide for this exam costs $25.
Requirements in Oklahoma
The Alarm and Locksmith Industry Act is the document that regulated the locksmith profession in the state of Oklahoma.
Before applying for a license you should make sure that you have the following:
- a current criminal history record check
- application from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
- two completed fingerprint cards
To qualify for a license you have to:
- be at least 21 years of age
- not be declared incompetent by any court
- not have been dishonorably discharged from the army.
If you want to install and repair electrical locks or circuits that are over 24 volts you will need an additional license under the Electrical Licensing Act.
Trainees can apply for a temporary license through the Department of Labor.
The license has to be renewed after 1 year.
Requirements in Oregon
In Oregon, the locksmith profession is regulated by the Construction Contractors Board.
Locksmiths need to be certified by CCB and to hold a contractor’s license issued by the same board.
If you want to become a locksmith in Oregon you should meet the following criteria:
- not be convicted of any disqualifying crime
- submit an application and fees to CCB
- pass the CCB testimony
- apply for a construction contractor license (or work for one)
- follow standards of professional conducts
The locksmith test mentioned above includes 80 questions and is an open-book test.
To pass you must answer all the questions correctly.
The testing fee is $60 and you are allowed to use the following references:
- The Complete Book of Locks and Locksmithing (6th Edition)
- The Locksmith Dictionary (2009)
- Register for an account online
- select locksmith certification
- complete the application
- pay the $60 application fee and the $60 test fee
- take the test
- complete the criminal history information section
- pay the $60 fee for a 2-year certification.
- Once you’ve become certified you have to fill out a licensing application and pay a $32 fee.
You also need to provide proof of general liability insurance and your full business name and address.
Requirements in Tennessee
If you want to become a locksmith in Tennessee you need to be licensed by the Tennessee Locksmithing Licensing Program.
To qualify for this license you are required to:
- submit a completed application
- pay a $75 application fee
- provide fingerprints for a background check and pay a $60 fee
- provide criminal history
- provide photos for an identification card
- obtain at least 30 hours of basic training
- take and pass the locksmith examination
- pay the $25 license fee
- pay the $25 identification fee
You are also required to renew your license every 2 years and you must also submit at least 12 hours of Continuing Education Units.
Requirements in Texas
In Texas, the locksmith profession is governed by the Private Security Act and the credentialing institution is the Texas Department of Public Safety Bureau.
Not all locksmiths are required to maintain a license but if you are the manager or the owner of a locksmithing business you are required to obtain a company license.
Employees also have to meet the following requirements:
- be at least 18
- not have been convicted of any felon under the Class A misdemeanor
- be mentally competent
- not be drug or alcohol-dependent
- not have been dishonorably discharged from the US army.
Complete an application for a private security business license and pay the $412 fee.
Compete the Owner/Manager Application and pay the $55 fee
You also have to:
- submit two classifiable sets of fingerprint cards and fees
- three years of experience or a bachelors in criminal justice
- successful completion of the Qualified Manager’s Exam.
Several cities and districts may require extra documentation:
- Hillsborough County in Florida
- Nassau County Long Island
- New York City
- Washington D.C.
Licensing requirements vary by state and even by city or district and before starting a business in the locksmithing field you should first research the regulations that apply in your state and region.