What Does a Locksmith Do?

In general, Locksmiths (259L) work in locksmith shops where they cut keys, sell new locks to customer and install, repair and replace locks; however, some may work with electronic security systems, traveling to the work site to install locks and security systems. In addition, some may specialize in vehicle locksmithing or installing and servicing safes and vaults used in banks.  

  • cutting and making keys, serving customers
  • repairing, installing and adjusting locks, as well as changing lock combinations
  • using a variety of hand tools including metal saws, files, welding and soldering equipment 
  • advising clients on locking systems for the homes and businesses        
  • responding to emergency situations that could involve police 
  • working on residential, automotive, commercial and institutional locksets
  • installing, programming and repairing electronic locks and working with high security locks
  • using special tools to figure out the combination or to drill into bank safes or vaults if they are damaged or the combination is lost
  • instructing customers on the use of electronic security systems
  • preparing cost estimates and invoices
  • working alone in a position of trust, without much supervision to get the job done

Additional information on training standards for this particular trade in the Industrial sector may be found on the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) website at: http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/trades/training-standards1/industrial

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

To successfully become a Locksmith, you must complete your Grade 12 secondary school education or equivalent,  preferably with credits in Math, English and Science. Extra training in welding, electronics, carpentry and metalworking would be an asset. Many employers require an apprenticeship to be completed although Locksmith is a Voluntary trade. An apprenticeship is comprised of 6,000 hours of on-the-job and in-school training. The in-school component is comprised of 2 eight week blocks of school. To attain success in this trade it is strongly recommended to have extra training in electronics. This is the minimum to be apprenticed in this trade under the Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades.

Apprenticeship Subject Pathways provides additional information for students/parents/educators:


What’s Your Future as a Locksmith?

Locksmiths generally work a 40 hour week, but could be required to work on-call or evenings and weekends. Locksmiths may work in well-lit, pleasant shops in plazas or malls, or in shops or mobile units that are crowded or small. They may be required to work in awkward or confined spaces or work/travel in adverse weather conditions. Self-employed Locksmiths often work long hours because they are responsible for additional tasks such as payroll and accounting. Electronic and computerized locks are becoming more common, which takes considerable study, and home security systems are becoming more high-tech. Keeping up with new technology will be necessary if you are to remain competitive as a Locksmith.

Employers who hire Locksmiths include:  

  • Car dealerships
  • Emergency rescue companies
  • Retail shops and hardware stores
  • Exterior Construction firms
  • Security firms
  • Locksmithing companies
  • Self-employment

You can find more information about career opportunities as a Locksmith at the following websites: www.thenationallocksmith.com, www.canasa.org, and www.plaa.org.

Wage Rate

  • Apprentices generally earn less than Journey people, however as your skill and expertise increase, so does your wage
  • Fully qualified Locksmiths can earn an average of $18 - $22 per hour
  • Self-employed Locksmiths may make more depending on their business


Are you physically fit with good manual dexterity?

Yes      No

Can you stand for long periods, lift, stoop, bend, kneel and work in confined spaces?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy tinkering, using tools, solving puzzles, figuring problems out and fixing them?

Yes      No

Are you an honest person, without a criminal record?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy learning about new technology on an ongoing basis?

Yes      No

Are you self-motivated and able to work well independently to get the job done just right?

Yes      No

Can you communicate effectively with supervisors, co-workers and customers?

Yes      No

If you answered Yes to most of these questions, a career as a Locksmith may be for You!

You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills, such as:

  • Gunsmith
  • Security Guard
  • Machinist
  • Facilities Maintenance Technician
  • Security Systems Technician
  • Saw filer/fitter

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