Key to job satisfaction is how often you help someone in distress. Locksmithing scores near the top. One of life's most vulnerable feelings is returning home to find your home broken into; a locksmith can make you safer. One of life's more frustrating experiences is being locked out of your car; a locksmith lets you in.
And today's locksmiths go well beyond locks and keys. Your car door may no longer have an entry key but a transponder. In your home or business, security techs install electronic and biometric (thumbprint or iris) entry and fire alarm systems, complete with closed-circuit TV networked to a central monitoring facility.
And despite the field's growing complexity, training is quick. You do, however, need a knack for working with gadgets and electronics. Basic carpentry, electrical, and welding skills help, too. Perhaps most important, you must be able to resist temptation—after all, you do know how to pick locks. If you have those attributes, locksmithing is a worthy career choice. Along with police officers and FBI agents, yours is the noble goal of foiling the baddie—but with much less risk to life and limb.
National: $44,000. More pay data by metropolitan area
(Data provided by PayScale.com)
Most locksmiths learn on the job, supervised by a master locksmith. That's supplemented by short online or in-person courses offered by locksmith associations or manufacturers.