Aside from being a professional lock picker, locksmiths repair locks, create duplicate keys and even install alarm systems. A locksmith is, in essence, an entry specialist. In some states, like Alabama, locksmiths must be certified and licensed to legally work in the profession. Locksmiths earned an average hourly wage of $12.42 to $20.15, as of December 2010, according to PayScale, Inc.
Complete a professional locksmith course. Courses are available through a variety of mediums. For instance, Pick a Lock offers a DVD course you can complete in the comfort of your home. In Alabama, you can also take courses through the Alabama Locksmith Association in Pell City. The association offers both basic and advanced courses. For instance, its Fundamentals of Locksmithing is a 16-hour course taken over a two-day span that you can complete to gain initial exposure to the locksmithing industry and learn if it is right for you.
Obtain your license to work as a locksmith in Alabama. In Alabama, locksmith licensing is obtained through the Electronic Security Board of Licensure in Montgomery. This agency regulates the practice because locksmithing can directly impact public safety just as security systems installers. Therefore, both the business and employees must obtain licensure. This means passing a state-approved competency exam. You must then carry a state-issued identification card as you work.
Obtain a position as a locksmith apprentice. If you are fully licensed, a locksmithing professional may be willing to take you on as an apprentice. During an apprenticeship, you will "earn while you learn." You can shadow another locksmith for as long as it takes to become fully competent in the profession. For locksmiths, there is no set time period required for apprenticeships. Licensed companies in Alabama include A Absolute Security Tech in Sheffield, AAA Locksmith Service in Mobile and Blair and Sons, Inc., in Huntsville, among others.
Obtain national certification. You can obtain additional training and certification through the Associated Locksmiths of America, which offers four different levels of training certification. Each of the four certification courses require that you pass a final exam to obtain certification.