Locksmith Kaimahi Raka

Locksmiths install, maintain and replace locks, keys, safes, electronic locking devices and access control systems for buildings and vehicles. They may also install and repair security systems.

Locksmiths may do some or all of the following:

  • install and repair locks and safes
  • cut or make keys to fit locks and reset combination locks
  • open jammed locks and safes
  • advise clients on locks, safes and general security needs
  • develop and design master key systems (keys that only work in particular locks and can't be copied).

Licenced locksmiths working in security may also:

  • install and repair safes, alarm systems and electronic locks
  • develop and design electronic key systems and alarms
  • design and install electronic or access control systems (including swipe cards)
  • design, install and maintain alarm and CCTV systems.

Locksmiths working with vehicles may also:

  • unlock vehicles and make replacement metal keys
  • produce and programme electronic transponder keys (remotes).

Locksmiths who work with safes, alarms or security systems need a licence or certificate of approval as a security technican or security consultant from the Ministry of Justice.

Physical Requirements

Locksmiths need to have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses).

Useful Experience

Useful experience for locksmiths includes:

  • basic engineering and mechanical workshop skills
  • metalwork, woodwork and carpentry
  • work for a key-cutting business
  • work with electronic equipment
  • problem-solving work done using your hands, such as model-making
  • customer service experience.

Personal Qualities

Locksmiths need to be:

  • careful and accurate, with an eye for detail
  • thorough and efficient
  • honest and reliable
  • good at problem solving, and able to think laterally
  • able to work alone and unsupervised.


Locksmiths need to have knowledge of:

  • master keying, key making and key cutting
  • different lock types, safes and locking mechanisms
  • lock repair methods and locksmith workshop equipment
  • security alarm systems
  • electronic security systems.



  • work regular business hours, but may be on call and work at night or during weekends
  • often work from a mobile workshop in a van and travel within their region to do jobs
  • may work in workshops and travel to jobs at businesses, private homes and vehicles.

Subject Recommendations

No specific secondary education is required for this job, but maths, English, digital technologies, and construction and mechanical technologies to at least NCEA Level 2 are useful. 

For Year 11 to 13 learners, trades academies and the STAR and Gateway programmes are good ways to gain relevant experience and skills.

These programmes may help you gain an apprenticeship, but do not reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it.

Locksmiths can earn around $23-$25 per hour.

Pay for locksmiths varies depending on experience, fees and location.

  • Apprentice locksmiths usually start on the training minimum wage or minimum wage.
  • Locksmiths with one to three years' experience usually earn up to $25 an hour.
  • Qualified locksmiths with more than three years' experience can earn between $25 and $29 an hour.

Locksmiths who run their own business may earn more than this, but their income depends on the success of the business.

Locksmiths may also receive a percentage of after-hours call-out fees. Locksmith pay rates in Auckland are generally higher than elsewhere.

Source: Beveridge Locksmiths, 2018.

Locksmiths may progress to set up their own locksmith business, or move into management roles

Locksmiths can specialise in roles such as:

Automotive Locksmith
Automotive locksmiths work with vehicle security systems, computers and keys, including transponder and proximity keys.
Security Consultant
Security consultants advise people on security requirements, and recommend and design security systems.

Years Of Training

3 years of training usually required.

There are no specific requirements to become a locksmith. However, many employers prefer to employ people who have, or are working towards, a locksmith qualification. A driver's licence is also useful.

To become a qualified locksmith you usually need to complete a three-year apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Locksmithing (Trade) (Level 4). [This is replacing the National Certificate in Locksmithing (Level 4)

Competenz, an industry training organisation, oversees locksmith apprenticeships.

If you have five or more years' experience working as a locksmith, you can become qualified by: 

  • applying to Competenz to have your experience assessed towards a qualification, or
  • sitting a practical and written test run by the Master Locksmith's Association of Australasia to become a master locksmith.

Locksmiths must not have any criminal convictions with a term of imprisonment attached.