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Locksmith Credentials and What Each Means

June 6, 2019


If you are looking for a locksmith, it is always important to check credentials. While certifications are strictly voluntary, and many highly skilled locksmiths have chosen not to obtain them, different certification levels do mean that the locksmith has demonstrated different types of proficiency. Here is a guide to the various credentials that locksmiths might hold and what they mean.

Certified locksmith


Many states, including Texas, require locksmiths to obtain a license. A license is your assurance that the locksmith is trained and qualified, and that he or she has passed a background check. Never hire an unlicensed locksmith.

ALOA Fundamental Locksmith (AFL)

The Associated Locksmiths of America, or ALOA, governs optional certifications for locksmiths in the United States. The AFL designation indicates that the locksmith completed a six day basic course and passed an exam. This indicates apprentice-level locksmithing knowledge.

Certified Registered Locksmith (CRL)

This the first official level of locksmith certification. The ALOA has 10 mandatory categories of knowledge for certified locksmiths, along with 26 specialized electives. To receive the CRL designation, a locksmith must pass exams in all 10 mandatory categories and 2 electives. This indicates a strong working knowledge of general locksmithing.

Certified Professional Locksmith (CPL)

To obtain a CPL certification, a locksmith must hold a CRL designation and then pass exams in 12 additional electives. This indicates advanced knowledge in general locksmithing as well as numerous specializations.

Certified Master Locksmith (CML)

A CML designation is the highest available level of certification. The locksmith must pass exams in 90% of all available electives.

Certified Professional Safe Technician (CPS)

The ALOA recognizes safe technicians separately from locksmiths, although many people do both. There are 17 safe and vault-related categories in which a technician must pass examinations to earn the CPS certification.

Certified Master Safe Technician (CMST)

To obtain a CMST designation, the tech must demonstrate advanced proficiency in an additional 25 safe and vault-related categories.

When choosing a locksmith, always make sure that he or she holds a current license. Certifications are not required, but they provide an extra level of assurance that you are working with a skilled professional locksmith. Consider them alongside other criteria such as customer reviews or referrals from people you trust when deciding which locksmith is right for you.

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