Understanding Locksmith Qualifications
Learn about the designations & certifications given by the Associated Locksmiths of America
When looking for a locksmith, it’s important to make sure you’re choosing a professional that you can trust with your home or business security. You don’t want to risk working with someone who will quote you one price and charge another, automatically try to drill every lock, or otherwise provide substandard services.
One helpful resource for finding a quality locksmith is findalocksmith.com. This website is maintained by the Associated Locksmiths of America. Here you can find a list of locksmiths in your local area who are members of ALOA in good standing and see what ALOA certifications they may have.
The ALOA awards the following designations and certifications based on a locksmith’s demonstration of relevant technical skills and knowledge on comprehensive tests.
Registered Locksmith (RL): A registered locksmith is a professional who was grandfathered into the certification program at its inception in 1986. These locksmiths are highly experienced individuals who have already demonstrated superior skills in their careers and were therefore exempt from testing. RBM Lock & Key has been doing business since 1973 and our head locksmith has the RL designation.
Certified Registered Locksmith (CRL): For locksmiths with less prior experience, tests on various locksmithing topics may be taken to achieve certifications. A CRL has passed tests to demonstrate a good working knowledge of all 10 mandatory categories plus 2 electives. The 10 mandatory categories are: codes & code equipment, cylinder servicing, key blank identification, key duplication, key impressioning, professional lock opening techniques, lockset functions, lockset servicing, basic master keying, and cabinet, furniture & mailbox locks.
Certified Professional Locksmith (CPL): Locksmiths who complete 10 additional electives and demonstrate an advanced knowledge of locksmithing can be upgraded to CPL status.
Certified Master Locksmith (CML): This is the highest possible certification for a locksmith and indicates that the locksmith has completed 90 percent of the available elective categories, giving them mastery of their field.
Certified Automotive Locksmith (CAL): This special designation is available to locksmiths who have chosen to focus on automotive locksmith services and have passed an ALOA exam covering car door, truck, glove box, and ignition locks.
Certified Professional Safe Technician (CPST): For locksmiths specializing in safes, this certification indicates a core competence in 17 safe and vault related categories, including installation, drilling, door adjustments, and combination changes.
Certified Master Safe Technician (CMST): To become a Master Safe Technician, a locksmith must demonstrate an advanced understanding of many additional categories, which enables them to work with high-tech safe locking mechanisms.