Laws in several states require locksmiths and locksmith apprentices to obtain a license before working professionally. Because their activities affect the security of the public, working as a locksmith in these states without a license is prohibited. To help ensure the public's safety, these states require fingerprints to be checked for criminal activity. To get started in the locksmith business, you must be trained in repairing and changing locks from a qualified source.
Determine your state's laws regarding locksmith work. For instance, California has clearly defined laws and steps to take when seeking a locksmith license. Other states, like Florida, do not require a license. To find out the law in your state, check with locksmiths listed in the Yellow Pages or go to your state's consumer affairs department website.
Provide credentials showing your locksmith training obtained from a college or from a private teacher with a locksmith license. You must submit course-completion verification, such as an official transcript, and it may be necessary to pass an exam before licensing consideration. To find out more specifics, go to your state's website. California and New York have similar qualifications, so use their websites as a guide for what you might expect in your area (see Resources).
Apply for a state license. Obtain the application online and submit it to the appropriate place with all supporting documentation, such as fingerprints. Pay the stipulated fee on the state website and provide a current passport-size photo for the license.
Find guidance on locating the state license application by using the Associated Locksmiths of America's website (see Resources). This organization provides education and information about the industry. Join the ALOA to find out more about operating as a licensed locksmith.
Local governments may require a business permit to operate a locksmith business.
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