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What Is A Certified Locksmith? How Do You Obtain A Locksmith Certification?

Locksmith Certification: What It Is And Why You Should Care

Consumers are constantly overwhelmed by the amount of choices they’re presented for any given good or service – and they aren’t all of equal quality. Locksmithing isn’t any different. If a potential customer is doing a Google search for a locksmith nearby, they are likely hit with a slew of results between Google My Business, Google Local Services, Google Ads and organic search results. Add to that the fact that they’re likely stressed if they’re in a lockout situation – how do they know who to choose for help?

There are many factors for customers to consider when looking for  a locksmith. Finding a credible locksmith should always be at the top of this list, as scammers posing as legitimate locksmiths are commonly found in online results. A great way to filter through search results  is to look for certifications, or a membership with the Associated Locksmiths of America (AOLA). Gaining specific certifications and backing from the AOLA helps professionals build credibility, and helps customers to know  that a business is legitimate.

Different Kinds of Locksmith Certifications

*Disclaimer: Certifications and licensing are NOT required for locksmiths in every state. So before you spend a lot of time trying to find a licensed locksmith in your area, first do a quick search to check if you live in a licensing state or not.

If you’re not in a licensing state, you can still look for signs of legitimacy on a locksmith’s websites. These would include things like branded trucks and uniforms, association with ALOA, a company name said when you call for service, and more.

If you state does require locksmiths to be licensed, here’s some things to know:

There are a variety of different locksmith certifications. Each one indicates a specific level of training and expertise, ensuring that customers have a trusted professional working with them. Below is a list of basic certifications a locksmith can acquire, along with what the certification entails:

  • Registered Locksmith (RL): The certification of RL indicates an individual is an active locksmith that has completed  12 classes (eight hours each) with the ALOA Continuing Education (ACE) program. Registered locksmiths can also gain certification through attending a ALOA Five or Six-Day Basic Locksmithing course, then passing the exam at the end of the course.


  • Certified Registered Locksmith (CRL): Certified Registered Locksmiths have completed the training to become an RL, but have also passed  the ten mandatory categories listed by AOLA. Additionally, CRLs have completed training in two specialized AOLA electives of their choice.
  • Certified Professional Locksmith (CPL): Certified Professional Locksmiths have gained the status of CRL, but have completed training in an additional twelve elective categories. These locksmiths have advanced knowledge of specialized areas in the field.
  • Certified Master Locksmith (CML): Certified Master Locksmiths hold the highest certification in the field. CML status indicates the individual has earned all previous certifications, and has demonstrated proficiency in 90% of the available categories of the Proficiency Registration Program created by the ALOA. These locksmiths have advanced knowledge of almost every area of locksmithing and of electronic security.


When a locksmith gains any – or all – of these certifications, their credibility is boosted. Certifications indicate the locksmith has taken the time to educate themselves on a wide range of locksmithing tactics, and will be able to find the best solution for your specific situation.

Certified Pop-A-Lock Locksmith

Find a Certified Locksmith Through Pop-A-Lock

Pop-A-Lock is proud to support professional development throughout the Pop-A-Lock organization by providing the highest quality training in conjunction with the Associated Locksmiths of America. All of our locksmiths are encouraged and supported to participate in the internationally recognized certification program produced by ALOA.

As outlined above, the certification process requires the applicant to undergo a series of difficult testing covering the range of Automotive, Commercial, Residential and Industrial locksmith and safe categories. There is a strong emphasis on Life Safety throughout the Certification process in addition to ongoing updates for relevance to the industry.

Pop-A-Lock also provides support to the industry at-large by providing instructors for various ALOA education classes conducted throughout the year as well as providing an instructor for the ALOA ACE certified instructor course.

If your local Pop-A-Lock is located in a state that doesn’t require licensing, you can still trust Pop-A-Lock! We pride ourselves on providing only the best service to our customers. Even in states without legal requirements, Pop-A-Lock locksmiths go through appropriate training to ensure they can provide you with the best, safest and most efficient services.

Contact Pop-A-Lock Today!

By contacting Pop-A-Lock, you can rest easy knowing you will receive help from a highly trained technician. Pop-A-Lock is proud to retain one of the largest collections of ALOA certified professionals in the world, as evidenced by the results of over 2 decades of training and testing across North America!

Our locksmithing professionals are friendly, knowledgeable, and ready to help find a solution for your unique needs. Contact us today by calling  (800) POP-A-LOCK or visit our site for a quote today!

I Think I Was The Victim Of A Locksmith Scam, What Do I Do Now?

Unfortunately, locksmith scams are an all-too-common occurrence throughout the United States. After being locked out of their home or car, an unsuspecting person will search for local locksmiths online, hoping to get back in quickly and cheaply. However, most do not realize that locksmith scammers hide in online results for companies that don’t exist. They make their websites look legitimate, providing a phone number and fake address. The “locksmith” often arrives late, and will bill you hundreds of dollars more than they estimated after breaking the lock on your door.

If this circumstance has happened to you, do not feel ashamed! These scammers are prevalent throughout the industry, and this unfortunate occurrence happens to hundreds of people every year.  Below we have listed some tell-tale signs that your “locksmith” is a scammer, along with what action to take if you find yourself a victim of a locksmith scam.

Signs Of A Locksmith Scam

  • Estimated cost is too low: Scammers will often advertise a very low price, in order to lure you away from legitimate locksmiths. They may claim online or over the phone that the job will cost between $15-35, only to bombard you with questionable service fees after they finish the job.  Do not be fooled by low prices, as any credible locksmith will charge around $100 for a lockout.
  • No full estimate upfront: Be sure to ask for a written estimate before the work is completed, with all additional fees included. Scammers often bill hundreds of dollars in additional charges, claiming the added fees are because you called during “emergency hours” or there are “mileage charges, minimums, service fees” etc. If they refuse to give you a written estimate, or if the estimate is way too high, they may be attempting to scam you.
  • No marked vehicle or uniform: Legitimate locksmiths will usually arrive in a company marked vehicle and uniform, in a timely manner. Be wary of any “locksmith” who arrives late and/or without a uniform or marked vehicle. Ask for the locksmith’s identification upon arrival, as scammers will usually refuse to show you any form of ID and become hostile when you ask for credentials. Scammers also may have an answering service that only refers to the company as “locksmith service” or “locksmith company,” so be sure to ask for a specific name when you call.
  • Accepts only cash: If the locksmith tells you they only accept cash or debit, they may be a scammer. Credit cards are avoided by scammers because they are easier to trace. Any reputable locksmith will be able to take credit, debit or cash payment from customers.
  • “Have” to drill your lock: A HUGE sign that a locksmith is a scammer is that they claim they “have to” drill your lock.  They may claim it’s a high security lock, when it’s not,  or that your lock is too new. There are a variety of other “explanations” they may use to justify drilling the lock. However, as a general rule of thumb, do NOT let anyone drill your lock. Certified, reputable locksmiths have the tools and expertise to pick almost any lock. Scammers will leave you with a broken lock, and a bill for hundreds of dollars.
  • No receipt after you pay: Always ask for a receipt after you pay a locksmith. Reputable locksmiths should have no problem giving you an itemized receipt after the work is complete. The receipt will likely  have the company letterhead, logo, or contact information, along with a list of each of the charges. A good locksmith will explain each of the charges ahead of time, and will provide information for you to contact the company after the job.


What To Do If You’ve Been Scammed

Unfortunately, these scammers are good at what they do, and odds are, if you’ve already provided payment you will not be able to get your money back. However, if you feel that you’ve been the victim of a scam, there are some steps you can take:


  • Call the state’s attorney general’s office: Report the locksmith to your state’s Attorney General’s office immediately. They will investigate the “locksmith” company and take action if they feel appropriate.


  • Call a reputable locksmith: If a scammer has tampered with your locks, you may need to have them rekeyed for your safety. Reputable locksmiths, such as Pop-A-Lock, will also be able to fix the damage done by the scammer, and replace the broken lock.

Trusted Locksmiths at Pop-A-Lock

When you call a locksmith, make sure they are qualified by being a member of the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA). This organization vets locksmiths, and ensures you can trust the expertise and knowledge of the technician dispatched to you. Established organizations such as Pop-A-Lock have technicians that are certified, qualified and ready to help you with your locksmithing needs. Pop-A-Lock employees will always arrive in a marked vehicle and uniform, and will be ready to discuss all charges transparently with you upfront. We have the tools to pick almost any lock without damage, and are always ready to help our valued customers.

Contact Pop-A-Lock Today!

Locked out of your home or car? Contact Pop-A-Lock today! We provide a 24/7 emergency lockout services, and provide free service to caregivers who have accidentally locked their child inside their car through our PAL Saves Kids program.

Founded in Lafayette, Louisiana, Pop-A-Lock has quickly become the largest professional locksmithing franchise in the United States. All of our technicians are certified, experienced, and ready to help you find the best solution for your individual needs.  You can call (800) POP-A-LOCK or contact us online for a quote today!

Does Picking A Lock Damage The Lock?

Being locked out of your home or car is a stressful experience, even on the best of days. And it always seems to happen at the most inconvenient time – when you’re in a rush, or have groceries in the car that need to get to a fridge ASAP, etc.

The best way to get back in quickly and safely is to call a locksmith professional. However, many people are wary of this as they’re afraid the locksmith will damage their lock in the picking process, costing them more money in the end. And, unfortunately, if you aren’t using a reputable locksmith, this can happen.

However, any professional, trustworthy locksmith will know how to pick your lock and get you back into your home or car without damaging the lock. You may wonder, how do credible locksmiths pick locks safely and efficiently to help you gain access to your home?

locksmith technician picking a door lock

How Do Locksmiths Pick Locks?

First and foremost, it’s important to know that when it comes to picking a lock, any credible, professional locksmiths will only use drills as a last resort. Locksmiths at established organizations, such as Pop-A-Lock, have the training and expertise to help you get back into your home or car quickly and efficiently, without drilling your lock. They carry tools specifically designed to work on almost any lock without causing damage. Upon arrival to your home, a credible locksmith will evaluate all locks on external doors to determine which lock will be the easiest to “pick,” and choose this location to work on. After using their tools, a qualified locksmith should be able to get you back inside without damage. Be wary of any locksmith who immediately pulls out the drill, especially without evaluating all of the options to get back inside.

The Importance Of Choosing A Reputable Locksmith

Although you may be tempted, stay away from any “DIY” lock picking methods online that claim to save you money and time. These methods will cause damage to the lock, or destroy the lock entirely. Taking the DIY route will lead to spending more money and time in the end, as you have to hire a professional to install new locks. Common DIY lock picking methods include:

  • Pushing items into the keyhole such as hair pins, bobby pins or paper clips
  • Using Credit Cards or items with a hard plastic corner
  • Creating a “lock picking” set from household items
  • Using a drill on the lock or doorknob structure
  • Using sharp items such as knives
  • Using soda cans or plastic bottles

How To Find A Credible Locksmith

Only professional technicians can truly pick locks without causing damage. When searching online for locksmiths, be wary of scams and local listings with prices that seem too low. A credible locksmith will have an established website, phone number, and will charge around $100 for a lockout. They should arrive in a marked vehicle and uniform, and will be happy to explain all charges upfront after evaluating your personal circumstances.

In addition to Google/Bing, you can use one of the  three of the most vetted associations/membership groups for locksmiths in North America to find a professional:

  • Findalocksmith.com
  • Keypro.com
  • popalock.com

How Pop-A-Lock Can Help

When it comes to home or car lockouts, the professionals at Pop-A-Lock can help you get back in quickly and efficiently. We offer a 24/7 lockout service (at participating locations), and will always be transparent with our clients. We will discuss all options with you, and provide a solution that will best suit your needs. Our technicians have the tools and expertise to get you back inside, with little to no damage caused to your locks.

Contact Pop-A-Lock Today!

Created in 1991 by law enforcement agents in Lafayette, Louisiana, Pop-A-Lock has grown to become the largest professional locksmithing franchise in the country! We provide extensive training to all of our technicians, ensuring you receive the highest quality service possible every time.  You can call (800) POP-A-LOCK or contact us online to receive a quote today!