How to Become a Locksmith in South Carolina

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Locksmiths must learn to pick varieties of locks to gain maximum proficiency.
Locksmiths must learn to pick varieties of locks to gain maximum proficiency. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Nobody ever thinks about a locksmith until they need one, but locksmiths can be a lifesaver when you have accidentally locked your keys and children in the car or have been locked out of your home. While some states require locksmiths to first get licensed, this is not the case in South Carolina. Locksmiths must have the knowledge and training to complete their jobs efficiently. Such locksmiths can expect average hourly earnings as high as $20.15, according to PayScale, Inc.

Complete a locksmith training course. You can complete much of your locksmith training simply taking a DVD course from home. For instance, the course by Pick a Lock will introduce you to the various aspects of locksmithing that will provide you with a broad or generalized knowledge of the field. The lack of licensing requirements in South Carolina limits the number of available educational opportunities. It is possible, however, to receive local training through the South Carolina Locksmith Association. The association offers specialized classes in areas like safe manipulation and automotive key generation.

Seek an apprenticeship with a South Carolina locksmith. Though no formal apprenticeship programs are available, you can receive additional hands-on training by finding a certified locksmith to take you under his wing and allow you to learn on the job. One of the easier ways to start working for another locksmith in this capacity is to simply contact locksmiths to see if any are willing to provide you with additional training. If you have already completed a basic locksmithing or more advanced courses, they will be more willing to hire you until you are ready to go out on your own. Potential locksmith employers include Jantzen Lock & Safe Company and Charleston Locksmith, both in Charleston, Eckert's Locksmithing Service in Goose Creek and Best Locksmith in Sumter.

Obtain certification. You can do so after taking a test through the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA). This organization has certified nearly 4,000 locksmiths nationwide and provides ongoing training in addition to testing services. ALOA offers five different types of certification for locksmiths, indicating they have met the highest standard in the industry. This is especially important in a state like South Carolina, where licensing is not required. You can gain certification as a Certified Automotive Locksmith, Registered Locksmith, Certified Registered Locksmith, Certified Professional Locksmith and Certified Master Locksmith. Each certification is progressively more difficult and requires additional testing in more areas.

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