Locksmith License – All You Need to Know Before you hire a Locksmith For Home, Car or Business

Need a locksmith? Not sure if a license is required in your state? Get the answers you need here.

Before we start, remember that laws change all the time. We will try to do our best to update the information here as things change but please make sure to double check in your area before you hire a locksmith.

When you hire a locksmith, you may not think immediately about licensing. Perhaps you’re locked out of your home, and you just need someone to arrive as soon as possible!

But the reality is, it’s important to know that the person showing up at your door is properly trained and licensed to get the job done right. And depending on where you live in the country, the requirements could be different. Some states, for instance, have very strict licensing criteria that ensure that every locksmith you call is certified and experienced. Other states have more relaxed licensing practices, meaning that you might want to spend more time looking for a reputable locksmith.

In this article, we’re going to talk about what licensing means to you depending on where you live in the country. By the end, you’ll have all the facts you need to find a trustworthy, experienced locksmith in your area!

Why is it so important that you find a licensed locksmith?

The idea of learning about your state or city’s licensing laws for locksmiths may seem like a hassle when you’re just trying to get the job done quickly and cheaply. But here are a few reasons why it’s essential to be aware of your locksmith’s qualifications:

  • An inexperienced locksmith can further damage your locks. In order for a locksmith to be professionally certified in most states, they must pass some kind of exam or course to ensure that they know what they’re doing. If you end up with a locksmith who learned everything they know from YouTube videos, your security system could be at risk.
  • A certified locksmith will be the most efficient. Not only is a professional locksmith going to be less likely to damage your locks, but they’ll also be more efficient. With specialized, hands-on training, a licensed locksmith can fix your locks faster than someone who is learning on the job.
  • You don’t want to invite just anyone into your home. Although we tend to take it for granted, we put a lot of trust into a locksmith. This person will have insider knowledge of our security system and is tasked with handling our keys, access codes, and security software. It’s for this reason that the states with licensing criteria often require a criminal background check. This can give you peace of mind as you allow a locksmith access to your home.
  • A licensed locksmith can be held accountable. If you have a bad experience with a certified locksmith, there are likely multiple avenues (their locksmith association, your local business bureau, etc.) by which you can hold them accountable. But, relying on a locksmith working outside of these official channels can put you at risk. It’s also far less likely that a locksmith working unofficially will have any form of insurance to cover damages.

Which states require locksmith licensing?

 

Locksmith licensing laws sometimes change, so it’s important to look into your specific state regulations for the latest information. But, at the time of this article, here are the states that require locksmiths to be licensed:

Alabama

Locksmiths in Alabama are licensed by a body called the Alabama Electronic Security Board of Licensure, or the AESBL. The process to get licensed in Alabama includes showing proof of training certification, liability insurance, and a criminal background check. The AESBL also requires locksmiths to pass a licensing exam.

 

Alaska

Locksmiths in Alaska aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam. They do need to have a registered business but nothing more than that. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Arizona

Locksmiths in Arizona aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Arkansas

Locksmiths in Arkansas aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

California

Interestingly, locksmith services in California fall under two categories: projects with a value of under $500 and projects with a value of over $500.

For locksmith jobs that fall in the first category, a locksmith is only required to have a locksmith business license and pass background check. But, jobs that exceed the $500 value mark are considered to be contract jobs, requiring a separate contractor license.  For anyone looking to hire a locksmith, it’s important to note that while a locksmith business license doesn’t require an exam, a contractors license does. That means that a locksmith holding a contractor license may have a deeper understanding of California building codes, fire safety, locksmith practices, and more.

These two licenses are issued by separate entities. You can verify a locksmith license on the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services website. Contractor licenses can be verified by the Contractors State License Board website.

 

Colorado

Locksmiths in Colorado aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Connecticut

Getting licensed in the state of Connecticut is fairly straightforward and simple, requiring only a few fees and a criminal background check.

Furthermore, there is no exam or training certification required, although schooling or apprenticeships are strongly encouraged.

Because training is not a requirement of getting licensed in Connecticut, it’s a good idea to look into a locksmith’s experience and reviews before hiring them.

You can also verify a locksmith’s license by checking the Department of Consumer Protection website.

 

Delaware

Locksmiths in Delaware aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Florida

Locksmiths in Florida aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. There is however, an exception as some counties started to require license such as Miami Dade and Hillsborough counties.

Hopefully, more counties will follow and require some type of licensing for locksmiths.

Finally, it may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Georgia

Locksmiths in Georgia aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Hawaii

Locksmiths in Hawaii aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Idaho

Locksmiths in Idaho aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Illinois

Illinois requires a criminal background check, proof of liability insurance, completion of a locksmith training program and a licensing exam in order to be fully licensed as a locksmith.

You can verify your locksmith’s license through the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Because the licensing process is quite thorough, consumers in Illinois can be pretty much confident when they hire a licensed locksmith.

 

Indiana

Locksmiths in Indiana aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

Iowa

Locksmiths in Iowa aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Kansas 

Locksmiths in Kansas aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Kentucky

Locksmiths in Kentucky aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Louisiana

Next on the list is Louisiana, which issues locksmith licenses through the Louisiana Office of the State Fire Marshal. Anyone interested in becoming a licensed locksmith must complete a training program, pass a licensing exam, and submit a criminal background check as well as proof of liability insurance.

You can contact the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal for more information on verifying a locksmith’s license.

 

Maine

Locksmiths in Maine aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Maryland

Maryland’s regulations for locksmith licensing differ slightly in that only businesses are required to have one. Individuals working as locksmiths do not. What that means for you as a consumer is that it’s wise to opt for a trusted locksmith company. That’s because locksmith companies must provide criminal background checks for all employees as well as proof of liability insurance in order to be licensed.

Licenses for locksmiths in Maryland are issued by the Board of Locksmiths Licensing Program under the Department of Labor. Their website offers an option to search licenses by business, location, or name.

 

Massachusetts

Locksmiths in Massachusetts aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Michigan

Locksmiths in Michigan aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Minnesota

Locksmiths in Minnesota aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Mississippi

Locksmiths in Mississippi aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Missouri

Locksmiths in Missouri aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Montana

Locksmiths in Montana aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Nebraska

Locksmiths in Nebraska aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Nevada

While Nevada does require a locksmith license to operate legally, the process to obtain one is less thorough than other states on this list that require license.

Locksmiths must be able to submit a criminal background check as well as proof of current child support payment, if applicable. But, there is no requirement for special training or liability insurance. For this reason, it’s a good idea to do a little bit more research into the experience of a locksmith in Nevada to ensure that you find someone knowledgeable. Locksmith licenses in Nevada are issued by the local county’s sheriff’s office.

 

New Hampshire

Locksmiths in New Hampshire aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

New Jersey

Compared to other states, New Jersey requires a good deal of hands-on training in order to become a licensed locksmith. In addition to at least 3 years of on-the-job training or a 2 year locksmith apprenticeship, applicants must pass a locksmith exam and provide a criminal background check.

The entity responsible for issuing locksmith licenses in the state of New Jersey is the Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm and Locksmith Advisory Committee, under the umbrella of the Division of Consumer Affairs. You can check a business or individual person for locksmith license verification on their website.

 

New Mexico

Locksmiths in New Mexico aren’t required to be licensed, or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

New York

Locksmiths in New York aren’t required to be licensed (Except NYC area – see below) or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

North Carolina

In this state, locksmith licenses are issued by the North Carolina Locksmith Licensing Board. Applicants must submit a criminal background check and pass a licensing exam.

The Board’s website offers the option to verify licenses and file complaints about locksmiths in their system.

 

North Dakota

Locksmiths in North Dakota aren’t required to be licensed or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Ohio

Locksmiths in Ohio aren’t required to be licensed or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Oklahoma

Oklahoma locksmith licenses are managed by the Oklahoma Department of Labor (ODOL.) Applicants are asked to pass a licensing exam and submit a criminal background check as well as fingerprints to keep on file.

Oklahoma requires all locksmith companies to also file for a locksmith license, and they offer special licenses for apprentices or trainees.

It’s a good idea to verify whether your locksmith is fully licensed or has a temporary training license. You can check this information on the Alarm, Locksmith and Fire Sprinkler Licensing page of the ODOL website.

 

Oregon

In Oregon, the law states that if you’re doing any kind of locksmith service other than key duplication, you must apply for a license. The certification process is overseen by the Oregon Construction Contractors Board, and requires applicants to pass a licensing exam and submit a criminal background check. In order to activate their certification, they must also associate with an appropriate contractor license. These licenses are issued by the same entity and require a training module, exam, and proof of liability insurance.

As you can see, this additional contractor license sets Oregon apart in terms of how thorough their licensing process is. You can verify that a locksmith has gone through all of the appropriate steps by searching Oregon locksmith license

 

Pennsylvania

Locksmiths in Pennsylvania aren’t required to be licensed or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Rhode Island

Locksmiths in Rhode Island aren’t required to be licensed or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

South Carolina

Locksmiths in South Carolina aren’t required to be licensed or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

South Dakota

Locksmiths in South Dakota aren’t required to be licensed or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Tennessee

Locksmiths in Tennessee aren’t required to be licensed or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Texas

Texas has a more robust application process for locksmith licensing than some other states on the list, which, as we’ve mentioned, is a good thing for you as a customer. It means that anyone who calls themself a licensed locksmith in Texas has completed a dedicated locksmith course or worked as a trainee for over 2 years. They’ve also passed an exam, provided a criminal background check, and submitted proof of liability insurance for their locksmith business.

Texas has a dedicated Locksmiths Association that can help you find a locksmith in your area. You can also verify a locksmith’s license through the Texas Online Private Security website.

To read more, visit Texas department of public safety

 

Utah

Locksmiths in Utah aren’t required to be licensed or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Vermont

Locksmiths in Vermont aren’t required to be licensed or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Virginia

Virginia issues locksmith licenses through the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. Applicants in this state must undergo dedicated locksmith training and pass an exam. They must also pass a criminal background check.

You can look up a locksmith business’s license through the Virginia government website.

 

Washington

Locksmiths in Washington state aren’t required to be licensed or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

West Virginia

Locksmiths in West Virginia aren’t required to be licensed or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Wisconsin

Locksmiths in Wisconsin aren’t required to be licensed or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Wyoming

Locksmiths in Wyoming aren’t required to be licensed or pass any exam, meaning anyone can become a locksmith. It may be a good idea to double check and look for good reviews and associations before you hire a locksmith.

 

Which cities require locksmith licensing?

You might live in a state that doesn’t require locksmith licensing. But don’t worry, your city or town might have their own requirements for locksmith operations. Here are two examples of cities that require locksmith licenses even though their states do not:

New York City

Locksmiths in NYC are in high demand, and the good news for consumers is that the licensing process is quite thorough. Applicants must submit one of the following: two recommendations from licensed locksmiths stating that the applicant is knowledgeable and experienced, a letter from the locksmith union, certification from the ALOA (more on them in a moment), or proof of completion of a certified locksmith course. The applicant must also submit a criminal background check.

For prospective locksmiths who are starting an apprenticeship, they may get their training license after taking a written exam.

Checking a license status for NYC locksmiths is easy on the Consumer and Worker Protection website.

 

Miami-Dade

Like New York City, Miami-Dade is a city that requires a locksmith license even when the state does not. The county issues such licenses as long as the applicant is able to provide proof of apprenticeship experience, liability insurance, and a driver’s license. A criminal background check and fingerprints are also required.

What this means for consumers in Florida is that you should practice caution when hiring a locksmith. If you want to make sure that they’re properly licensed, contract a locksmith that operates within Miami-Dade county. If you want to verify a locksmith license, you’ll have to contact the Consumer Mediation Center directly.

 

Is proof of criminal history automatically disqualifying?

You probably noticed that the states that issue locksmith licenses typically require a criminal background check. But, does this necessarily mean that a criminal history will disqualify applicants?

The answer is no. After all, not all criminal histories are equal. In some cases, a licensing board will allow an applicant to explain why their criminal history shouldn’t be considered a deterrent to their ability to become a locksmith. Traffic violations, for instance, aren’t likely to erode a customer’s trust in their locksmith. That said, cases of felony conviction and misdemeanors in which violence was involved are often automatic disqualifications for applicants.

 

How can you check whether a locksmith is licensed or certified?

As you might have noticed, it’s fairly easy to verify a locksmith’s license status in the states that require them. In most cases, the entity that issues the locksmith license allows you to search their directory to see whether an individual has a license and whether that license is current.

But, what about for states that don’t require licensing? How can you be sure that you’re hiring a trusted and experienced locksmith? Luckily, you have a couple of options:

  • Look into ALOA membership. It’s very common for locksmiths to boost their recognition and reputation by joining the ALOA, or the Associated Locksmiths of America.
  • Search for your state’s locksmith association. Certain states may have their own locksmith organization separate from the ALOA. Contacting your local Better Business Bureau is another trusted avenue for finding the right professional locksmith.
  • Ask about certification and experience. Even in areas that don’t require licensing or have an official association, you’ll likely be able to find someone who has some kind of specialized training, certification, or apprenticeship experience. It will just take a little bit of calling around and asking for specifics.

 

Locksmith red flags and what to do about them

Knowing more about your region’s specific qualifications for locksmiths is a great start for finding the best service provider in your area. But, to make sure that you’re really protected against subpar locksmith practices, keep these following red flags in mind and consider finding a different locksmith if:

  • Their quoted prices are very low compared to other competitors
  • They use unmarked cars
  • They don’t display their license or certification in their storefront
  • They don’t show up in license registries

As a customer, you make the final decision on which locksmith to hire for your needs. If you notice any of these red flags, or a certain locksmith gives you a bad feeling, it’s okay to end the working relationship and find someone else.

And, in the case that you have been or you suspect that you have been the victim of a fraudulent locksmith, you can contact your state’s Attorney General for further help.

Hire a locksmith you can trust

In this article, we’ve discussed the importance of hiring a trusted, experienced locksmith. For those who live in a state with licensing requirements, it may be easier to find a knowledgeable locksmith. Regardless of where you live, you should do some research into the qualifications and experience of any locksmith you work with. We hope that this information has helped you make a more informed decision!