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Begin A Locksmithing Career Without Taking On Student Loans

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With the mounting cost of a college education, careers that do not require a four-year degree are becoming more and more attractive. Many trades promise a long, stable career with a decent salary. Most importantly, you do not need to amass thousands of dollars in student loans to begin working in these trades. One such trade is the locksmith industry.

Becoming a Licensed Locksmith

In the United States, locksmiths are overseen by state governments. The exact requirements for becoming a licensed locksmith will vary from area to area, but in many states you simply need to register yourself as a locksmith with your local city or county office. There is usually no exam, but the office may run a background check and require a small payment.

Licensure lets you work as a locksmith. In many states, it is illegal to repair or open locks without a license.

Becoming a Certified Locksmith

Certifications prove that you are a skilled locksmith, not just someone who can legally work in the industry. They show that you have specific knowledge, as ascertained through an exam.

The main professional agency for locksmiths in the U.S. is the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA). They offer many certifications, the first of which is the Certified Registered Locksmith (CRL). It is difficult to pass the exam given for this certification without taking a course, but preparatory courses are much less involved than a four-year degree—and much less expensive.

Working in the Field

Once you are licensed and have the ALOA's CRL certification, you are ready to start applying for jobs with companies like A Aable Locksmith. There is a lot more to learn, but you can gain this knowledge on the job. You are all set to begin a career, and you only needed to take one course.

As a locksmith, you probably will not make as much money as a doctor or lawyer, but you can enjoy a comfortable salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of all locksmiths made between $13.99 and $23.59 per hour in 2013.

A Lack of Loans

While the hourly wage of a locksmith is well below that of some white-collar professionals, you will also have much less debt than many of your peers. A Wall Street Journal article reported that the average college graduate had $33,000 in 2014. The Association of American Medical Colleges' graduates had much more. The typical doctor graduated in 2014 with $180,000 worth of loans from medical school alone.

You do not need to assume tens of thousands of dollars in debt to begin a career. Become a locksmith, and you can earn a comfortable living without taking out even one student loan.