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Career profile Locksmith

Also known as Certified Master Locksmith (CML), Certified Master Safe Cracker, Certified Master Safecracker (CMS), Forensic Locksmith, Lock Technician, Locksmith, Registered Safe Technician (RST), Road Service Locksmith, Safe Technician, Vault Technician


Also known as Certified Master Locksmith (CML), Certified Master Safe Cracker, Certified Master Safecracker (CMS)

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$27,080 - $69,170 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Repairing
  • Time Management
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Mechanical
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Public Safety and Security
Core tasks
  • Cut new or duplicate keys, using key cutting machines.
  • Disassemble mechanical or electrical locking devices, and repair or replace worn tumblers, springs, and other parts, using hand tools.
  • Cut new or duplicate keys, using impressions or code key machines.
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What does a Locksmith do?

Locksmiths repair and open locks, make keys, change locks and safe combinations, and install and repair safes.

What kind of tasks does a Locksmith perform regularly?

Locksmiths are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Cut new or duplicate keys, using key cutting machines.
  • Disassemble mechanical or electrical locking devices, and repair or replace worn tumblers, springs, and other parts, using hand tools.
  • Cut new or duplicate keys, using impressions or code key machines.
  • Open safe locks by drilling.
  • Install door hardware, such as locks and closers.
  • Insert new or repaired tumblers into locks to change combinations.
  • Set up and maintain master key systems.
  • Keep records of company locks and keys.
  • Move picklocks in cylinders to open door locks without keys.
  • Repair and adjust safes, vault doors, and vault components, using hand tools, lathes, drill presses, and welding and acetylene cutting apparatus.
  • Install safes, vault doors, and deposit boxes according to blueprints, using equipment such as power drills, taps, dies, truck cranes, and dollies.

The above responsibilities are specific to Locksmiths. More generally, Locksmiths are involved in several broader types of activities:

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Scheduling Work and Activities
Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

What is a Locksmith salary?

The median salary for a Locksmith is $43,690, and the average salary is $46,240. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Locksmith salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Locksmiths earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Locksmiths earn less than $27,080 per year, 25% earn less than $33,690, 75% earn less than $57,850, and 90% earn less than $69,170.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Locksmiths is expected to change by -2.1%, and there should be roughly 1,800 open positions for Locksmiths every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$27,080 - $69,170
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Locksmiths?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Locksmith are usually higher in their Realistic interests.

Locksmiths typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Locksmith tend to value Independence, Working Conditions, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Locksmiths moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Locksmiths moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Locksmiths moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Locksmiths must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, dependability, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Locksmiths, ranked by importance:

Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do Locksmiths need?

Working as a Locksmith usually requires a high school diploma.

Locksmiths need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Locksmiths

  • 5.5% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 43.1% completed high school or secondary school
  • 29.2% completed some college coursework
  • 9.2% earned a Associate's degree
  • 11.7% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 1.1% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Locksmiths

Locksmiths may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mechanical, customer and personal service, or public safety and security knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Locksmiths might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Sales and Marketing
Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Important Abilities needed by Locksmiths

Locksmiths must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Locksmiths need abilities such as finger dexterity, control precision, and arm-hand steadiness in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Locksmiths, ranked by their relative importance.

Finger Dexterity
The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Locksmiths

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Locksmiths frequently use skills like repairing, time management, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Locksmiths, ranked by their relative importance.

Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Time Management
Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.