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Career Information: Locksmith / Locksmithing

Specialty Locksmithing

Official Resource Institutional Locksmiths' Association --

Short Definition
Locksmithing is the science and art of making and defeating locks. A lock is a mechanism that secures buildings, rooms, cabinets, or other storage facilities from theft by burglars.

Expanded Information
Locksmithing includes jobs involved in repairing, overhauling, modifying, testing, and installing a variety of locking devices typically found on doors, desks, compartments, mobile equipment, safes, vaults, and other secured locations. The work includes the manufacture and duplication of keys and the keying and combination of locking mechanisms.

The work requires a knowledge of the construction, operation, and functional characteristics of locking devices, and skill in manufacturing replacement parts, devising or changing combinations, establishing master keying systems, neutralizing lockouts, and a variety of installation and repair processes such as filing, drilling, chiseling, and grinding.

Work Activities
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.

  • Take apart jammed or broken locks. Repair or replace worn wheels, springs, and other parts.
  • Insert new or repaired wheels into safes to change combinations.
  • Move lockpick in cylinder to open door locks without keys.
  • Make sure that people requesting emergency locksmith services have the authority to do so.
  • Cut new or duplicate keys, using key cutting machine.
  • Repair and adjust safes, vault doors, and vault components.
  • Remove interior and exterior finishes on safes and vaults. Apply new finishes.
  • Install and repair electronic alarm and surveillance systems.

People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.

  • Repair and maintain mechanical equipment.
  • Handle and move objects.
  • Inspect equipment, structures, or materials.
  • Get information needed to do the job.
  • Perform activities that use the whole body.
  • Control machines and processes.
  • Identify objects, actions, and events.