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Locksmithing is an old and noble trade. Locksmiths are the masters of the lock-and-key, fixing bolts and safes and making keys with expert precision. In Michigan, although locksmithing is not a licensed trade, many professional locksmiths benefit from special training to set themselves apart from their competition.
Michigan does not license or certify locksmiths. According to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a state business-development agency, the only license a locksmith needs is a sales-tax license if he sells merchandise.
The two primary trade organizations for locksmiths, the Associated Locksmiths of America and the Safe and Vault Technicians Association, maintain a tiered certification program. Although optional for locksmiths, those programs convey professionalism to potential customers and require considerable vocational education to earn. Both organizations offer beginner-, intermediate-, and master-level certifications.
Locksmiths are involved in all aspects of lock design and repair. From large bank vaults to back-door deadbolts, a trained locksmith can install, remove, repair, or modify any lock or locking device. That includes cutting new keys and resetting combinations. A skilled locksmith can also crack safes, with the permission of the safe owner or at the request of law-enforcement officials.
In addition, today's locksmiths often branch into electronic locks and security systems.
Although Michigan does not require them to be licensed, many locksmiths post surety bonds to demonstrate the integrity of their businesses. Because a bonding agency will not post a bond for a person of disreputable character, obtaining a bond is a sign that a locksmith wants to give his or her customers confidence that the locksmith is of good moral character. Michigan does not require locksmiths to be bonded.
The Associated Locksmiths of America is the primary trade organization for professional locksmiths. Although membership is not obligatory, maintaining membership in a trade organization will provide locksmiths with the latest industry news and most up-to-date continuing-education opportunities.
Many locksmiths also maintain membership in the Safe and Vault Technicians Association.