A locksmith works with locks and keys, including installing and repairing locks, cutting and copying keys, installing safes, and opening locks due to accidental loss of keys or safe combinations. According to Payscale, in the US, locksmiths earn a median annual salary of $39,498. Locksmith salaries increase somewhat with experience as entry level locksmiths can expect a starting yearly salary of about $22,400, increasing to about $30,000 within the first five years. Locksmith salaries steadily rise throughout one’s career and peaks for those with 20 years’ or more experience at roughly $56,000 annually. Locksmith hourly wages range between $10.20 and $25.06 per hour.
Overtime rates for time worked in excess of 40 hours per week or for time worked in the evenings, weekends, or holidays can increase locksmith hourly wages with pay ranging from $15.91 to $40.61 per hour. Overall earnings can be further increased through annual bonus pay ranging from $350 to more than $3,500. Some locksmiths earn commission payments based on product sales with these earnings ranging from nearly $400 to more than $8,100.
Geographic region within the United States can affect income. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the states offering the highest pay for locksmiths include the District of Columbia where the average annual income is $57,840, followed by Massachusetts at $51,880 and New Hampshire at $50,880. Meanwhile, states with the most positions for locksmiths include California, which ranks fifth among the top paying states with an average annual salary of $50,330. Other states that employ a large number of locksmiths include Florida, Texas, and New York; however, earnings in these regions fall on the lower end of the pay range.
The locksmith field in the US is a male dominated career. Despite often working on-call hours and responding to emergency lockouts during off-hours, most locksmiths have high levels of job satisfaction and a positive work-life balance. While about 40% of locksmiths indicate they do not receive any type of healthcare coverage, about 58% receive medical coverage and dental and vision coverage is received by 34% and 30%, respectively.
To enter a career as a locksmith, training is required to develop the skills necessary to perform job functions. While vocational schools and technical colleges offer courses to train individuals, many locksmiths work as apprentices and learn from those already experienced in the field and professionally certified.
With experience, some locksmiths choose to open their own business, which can result in significantly higher incomes. As a self-employed business owner, the cost of benefits such as healthcare coverage will likely become the responsibility of the individual locksmith; however, the higher earning potential often outweighs these additional costs. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for locksmiths is positive with 10% growth expected through 2018.