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How to Become a Locksmith in New York

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New York locksmiths may work in hardware shops, in locksmith shops or performing house calls. Locksmiths repair, change and install locks, create key copies and troubleshoot broken locks. According to, locksmiths in New York average $45,000 to $57,000 per year. While some people learn the trade through on-the-job training, a locksmith education program can get you a jump start on your new career.

Locate a training program. The Associated Locksmiths of America recommends the Charles Stuart School, which has a location in Brooklyn, NY in addition to the main Jersey City, NJ site (see Resources). Contact the New York Association of In-House Locksmiths for additional guidance in locating programs (see Resources).

Enroll in a school of your choice. Depending on the program, you might fill out an application form and take a short aptitude test.

You'll learn key identification, auto locksmithing, residential locksmithing and types of locks. Complete your training program, which can take 10 to 13 months. The Charles Stuart School costs $11,000; some students can obtain financial aid.

Apply for a locksmith apprenticeship to learn the trade directly from a locksmith. Apprenticeships last no more than 36 months and provide all the training you need to become a locksmith.

To apply, fill out the apprentice form and submit a current color photograph and an application fee (see Resources).

Wait for an apprenticeship placement. When you've been notified of a match, begin your training.

Sign up for the Associated Locksmiths of America certification exam when you finish your locksmith apprenticeship or training class. Choose a test location from the list online, then download an application form for your test site (see Resources).

Take and pass the locksmith exam. Its 10 mandatory topics are "key blank identification, key duplication, professional lock opening techniques, codes and code equipment, key impressioning, cylinder service, lockset functions, lockset servicing, basics of master keying, and cabinet, furniture and mailbox locks," according to the Associated Locksmiths of America.

Exam applicants take one-half the test at one time and, upon receiving a passing score, take the rest of the exam at another date. Applicants will receive 250 questions in all and must receive a 70 percent or above to pass.

Finish the exam. When you pass, you'll receive a letter and the designation of certified locksmith.


Applicants who don't pass the exam can apply to re-take it at another date. There is no limit on the number of times you can re-take the exam.

  • Applicants who don't pass the exam can apply to re-take it at another date. There is no limit on the number of times you can re-take the exam.

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