If you want to become a locksmith, you’re probably wondering if you need any certification or license to practice this profession.
Licensing requirements vary depending on the region where you want to practice and the specialization that you want to pursue.
In some states, certification is mandatory while in others is only optional or applies only to some specializations.
So if you want to start a career in this line of work, it is very important to check what regulations apply in your state or city.
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Are Certification and License the Same Thing?
The short answer is that a certificate is not the same thing as a license.
While licenses are issued by state or local governments a certification is a document issued by a credentialing agency such as the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA).
A license allows you to practice a profession or to start a business while the certification informs the public and potential customers that you have the skills necessary for the job and you are professionally qualified to perform certain tasks.
In some states, certification is required if you want to get a locksmith license.
Do I Need Locksmith Certification?
There are several states where some form of licensing or registration is required for locksmiths.
These states are Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
Although requirements vary, in these states you will usually need to have a certification or to complete an approved apprenticeship to qualify for a license.
Licensing is also required in some cities or districts, such as Hillsborough County in Florida, Nassau County Long Island, New York City, and Washington D.C.
Even if your state or city is not included on the above list, earning a certification will help demonstrate your skills to potential employers or customers and will give you professional credibility.
Certification may also be required if you want to advance to a supervisory position, so if you have the opportunity to apply for certification, you should seriously consider it.
How Many Types of Locksmith Certifications are Out There?
There are different levels of certification you can apply for if you want to become a locksmith.
Certified Registered Locksmith
The basic level is that of Certified Registered Locksmith.
You will earn this certification if you pass 10 required categories at the written exam offered by ALOA as well as two electives.
The mandatory categories are:
- Codes and Code Equipment
- Cylinder Servicing
- Key Blank Identification
- Key Duplication
- Key Impressioning
- Professional Lock Opening Techniques
- Lockset Functions
- Lockset Servicing
- Basic Master Keying
- Cabinet, Furniture, and Mailbox Locksmith
You will pass the exam if you get at least 70 percent of the questions right at each of the above categories plus two electives.
By earning this credential you prove that you have general knowledge in locksmithing.
Certified Professional Locksmith
CPL is the second level of certification for locksmiths.
To become a CPL you must first earn the CRL designation and to complete 12 additional elective categories in the test offered by ALOA.
This credential proves that you have advanced knowledge of general locksmithing and general knowledge of locksmithing specialties.
Certified Master Locksmith
The CML is the highest level of certification a locksmith can get.
To earn this designation you have to prove proficiency in 90% of the categories included in ALOA’s Proficiency Registration Program.
A Certified Master Locksmith is someone who has advanced knowledge of most locksmith specialties as well as electronic security.
If you want to specialize even further you could apply for one of the three additional specialized locksmith certifications currently available.
- Certified Automotive Locksmiths
- Certified Professional Safe Tech
- Certified Master Safe Tech