There are resources available for recently-released felons as many employers have found that felons make good employees. However, they may have to learn new skills or start a different career. This blog post will address the issue of whether or not a felon can become a locksmith.
- What Is a Locksmith?
- What Education/Training Does a Locksmith Need?
- How Much Does a Locksmith Earn?
- An Opportunity for Felons?
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What Is a Locksmith?
A locksmith is trained to work with locks and provide services such as helping a customer select and install locks for their home or business. A locksmith also helps customers who are locked out of their homes, businesses, and vehicles.
A locksmith performs a variety of duties, such as:
- Copying keys
- Installing and removing locks
- Maintaining lock systems
- Installing electronic alarms
- Traveling to customers who need on-site assistance
- Replacing defective parts in lock systems
- Keeping records of master key systems
A locksmith must also know how to use a number of tools, how to open and repair safes, and how to install and remove locks. A locksmith can work in a variety of settings, depending on whether they work for a locksmith company or a security company.
In order to be successful as a locksmith, a number of essential skills are necessary, including:
- Attention to detail
- Good hand-eye coordination
- Manual dexterity
- Communication skills to understand a customer’s needs
- Problem-solving ability
- Organizational skills
- Knowledge of different types of locks
What Education/Training Does a Locksmith Need?
In order for a candidate to become a locksmith must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. He or she must complete training or an apprenticeship.
Training to become a locksmith involves both classroom learning and hands-on experience. There are many locksmith schools and training programs located across the country that offer courses which are certified through the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA).
Students in a locksmith training program take courses in topics such as:
- Key identification
- Key making
- Lock installation
- Lock picking
- Residential locks
- Commercial locks
- Automotive locks
- Electronic access locks
- Home and business security systems
- Master-key systems
- Safe and vault locks
- High-security locks
Many locksmiths complete an apprenticeship or work as a trainee with an experienced locksmith. An apprentice gains daily practice with an experienced locksmith.
Many states require locksmiths to obtain a license, and certification can show that a locksmith has met the standards for training and experience. Because locksmiths have access to people’s homes and to sensitive security information and high-security areas, trust is an essential component for a locksmith.
In addition to a license, locksmiths can pursue voluntary certification. Associated Locksmiths of America offers certifications for a locksmith at different levels of competence. Someone typically starts by obtaining a Certified Registered Locksmith designation. With additional training and experience, a locksmith can become a Certified Professional Locksmith and a Certified Master Locksmith.
To become a Certified Registered Locksmith, one must pass an exam that measures knowledge in ten categories, which include:
- Codes and code equipment
- Cylinder servicing
- Key-blank identification
- Key duplication
- Key impressions
- Professional lock-opening techniques
- Lockset functions
- Lockset servicing
- Basic master keying
- Cabinet, furniture, and mailbox locks
It can take several months to complete a locksmith training course. On-the-job training can take additional months or several years to complete. An apprenticeship typically lasts two to three years.
The following states currently require locksmith licensing:
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
How Much Does a Locksmith Earn?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there were approximately 18,640 locksmiths in the U.S. in 2016. The median annual wage for locksmiths was $41,180. The median salary is the salary at which half of the locksmiths earned more than that amount and half earned less.
Their earnings will depend on factors such as certification level, amount of experience, and region of the country. A locksmith working on the East or West coast tends to have a higher income than in other regions of the country.
This occupation is expected to show a 7% growth by 2026.
An Opportunity for Felons?
The requirements to become a locksmith are different according to the state they’re in. Typical standards indicate that a candidate who wants to become a locksmith must:
- Not have been arrested, charged, or indicted for a crime
- Not have been convicted of a felony within the past five years
- Be mentally competent
- Not be alcohol or drug dependent
- Have been Honorably Discharged from any military service
While the requirements for felons to become a locksmith differ depending on the state, there are important regulations.
These criteria will be considered as to whether a crime relates the occupation of a locksmith:
- Nature and seriousness of the crime
- Relationship of the crime to the duties of a locksmith
- Extent to which a locksmith certification might offer for further criminal activity
- Amount of time since last criminal conviction
- Amount of time since release from incarceration
- Work history before and after the conviction
- Evidence of rehabilitation
It is important to be honest when applying for a job as a locksmith. If a felony isn’t disclosed but is found on a background check, this constitutes fraud and is punishable. It is a crime to falsify an application which could result in being sent back to prison.
In order to be successful as a locksmith it is essential for felons to be honest about their background. They are already viewed with negative perceptions of being dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.
Having their record expunged can give them the chance needed to begin with a clean record and succeed in becoming a locksmith. Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that he or she has not been convicted of a crime.
It is a significant challenge, but it might be worth it for a felon that wants to become a locksmith. Having his or her record expunged and also documenting any training programs, rehabilitation, or additional education could make the essential difference in a felon succeeding as a locksmith.
Having support from family, friends, or previous employers can make a huge difference. A felon doesn’t have to be defined by his or her crime. We are not defined by our mistakes but by how we recover from them. He or she can begin again and live an honest life no matter how difficult it might seem.
What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become a locksmith with a felony? What was that like for him or her, and how did he or she achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.