Besides the traditional correspondence school courses, there is video training available to aspiring locksmiths. In a way, it makes sense. Correspondence courses date from when the postal service was the only way to do remote training, and that was limited to shipping paper and parts. For a few decades now video has been available and probably more training will be moving to that format in the future.
There are several outfits offering paid video training, and there are too many to go over here. Besides the videos that one can buy, there are also a great number of videos for free on YouTube; an example of this would be Kokomo’s Intro to Locksmithing videos. Nevertheless, this article will focus on two outfits that seem to have been around for at least a little while.
Locksmith Video School is an outfit that sells videos as a unit as part of a course for a diploma. Like anything else, what you get out is mostly about what you put in, but, for what it is worth, some states that license locksmithing do recognize their diploma. There are two main options: a course with tools and a course without tools. There is also an option to buy individual courses. The diploma course is a combination of videos (sent via a thumb drive) and a three-ring binder. After reviewing the material the student can ask for a written exam. Upon passing, a diploma is sent.
The main topics are lock picking (and drilling), rekeying common locksets, code cutting and duplication (using a 1200 Blitz and by using space and depth keys—which are also sold on the site), impressioning (disc tumblers only), the business of locksmithing (especially in regards to setting up a mobile operation), master keying, automotive opening, lock installation, safe combination changing, and commercial work (access control, panic bars, door closers, installing cam locks, etc.)
The student needs to buy a Kwikset lock for the course and, if not buying the option with tools, will need to have basic lock tools (plug follower, “Kwikset rekey tool”, etc.) and a Kwikset pinning kit to do the exercises. The course comes with some cut Kwikset keys for the master keying exercise and the student should practice pinning up the Kwikset lock to work with them. A key machine is not needed to complete the course.
The binder follows along the videos somewhat and does include some reference material, the most useful of which is the suggested inventory items for a new locksmith starting a mobile operation.
There is only one instructor and you can listen to him and see his style on the website. Overall, he is engaging and keeps things interesting.
Some strengths include the marketing segment of the business video. He has good ideas of how to find accounts and some interesting ideas in regards to marketing. Also, the instructor is available via phone if someone has questions.
Some weaknesses are in regards to car opening—it is a quick intro about what a person could find on YouTube. Also, while he has some good ideas regarding marketing, it does not really get into internet advertising.
Bottom line, this program is a course to take an absolute beginner and impart the basic skills. It sticks to the basics, which is probably appropriate for this sort of course. A person who watches the videos needs to be motivated to acquire locks and tools and do for themselves what they are seeing in the videos, be it rekeying door knobs or impressioning disc tumbler locks.
LocksmithDVD.com does not give out diplomas but sells individual videos on DVD. There are 21 videos for residential/commercial locksmithing and 5 videos for automotive. The residential/commercial videos are split into basic and advanced.
This outfit has one instructor and you can listen to him on the website. He is knowledgeable but a little dry at times. Part of that dryness might be that he is very thorough and it is video only. There is no printed matter, so at times he is basically reading off data that would be better off as a handout (for example, listing off the various hardware finishes in the second commercial video).
The videos tend to be long and the instructor goes into a lot of detail, certainly more detail than one would find on YouTube.
I have not seen all the videos but a couple of standout courses include the two hour long “Locks you should know” which covers locks like the Kwikset Smartkey, Kwikset Titan, how to use the Weiser shim with Weiser locks, Ilco peanut cylinders, etc. For someone who knows the basics of locksmithing but has not been exposed to a broad array of locks and would like to avoid surprises in the field, this is a good video. The video on Schlage locks is good too, covering the high security options as well as the basic Schlage locks.
The video on starting a mobile locksmith business is sort of mixed. He does an in depth job of working up what prices should be to support the desired income—which might be a reality check for some people dreaming of self-employment. He almost goes into too much detail; this is another area where a student might be better off checking out a book on how to run a small business from the library. He is apparently operating in a densely populated and highly competitive area in Southern California and he goes over territory and planning the day within that territory, which could be of benefit to people in large urban areas. On the marketing side, well, he seems to mainly depend on the Yellow Pages, which I suppose a few people still use, but most locksmiths do not put much stock in Yellow Page listings these days. He does make the point, often missed by others, that to grow income you may have to take on a side line (like appliance repair) or do some of the more difficult locksmithing like automotive keying.
Overall, I would not necessarily suggest that a person buys every video sold by the site but if a person needs to pick up knowledge in a given area the videos from this program are worth looking at.