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On the job, you need all types of locksmith tools, locksmith supplies, rekeying kits and related products, but there is another tool you may want to add to your business: locksmith associations. You can go online and find many that are listed on a state-to-state basis, but there are also national associations that provide more comprehensive services and benefits to members. A major reason for joining a national group is the availability of extended courses and the opportunity to earn continuing education credits (CEUs). You can discuss issues on forums, find out about upcoming conferences and tradeshows, read new product reviews and much more.
A National Association Committed to High Standards
The Society of Professional Locksmiths, or SOPL, has several objectives:
The SOPL is a peer-driven organization that offers locksmith training in several formats: seminars, live webinars, home study and e-books. You do not have to be a member of the association to take courses, although members can take advantage of better values.
Core Knowledge and Advanced Training
The basic Locksmith Training Program (LTP) is composed of 12 chapters of core knowledge, considered to be mandatory information for all locksmiths. When successfully completed, participants will receive a total of 67.5 CEUs for state occupational licensing requirements. Advanced classes are also available with CEUs and can be accessed online on a 24/7 basis.
Other SOPL Benefits
Members of the Society of Professional Locksmiths can attend webinars, seminars and tradeshows, and participate in social networking. If you’ve received an award or want to tout your latest accomplishments, you can take advantage of a customized press release service. If you are a business owner, you can also use the association’s free testing application as a means of screening potential employees.
An Association for Specialty Locksmiths
Locksmiths who work in institutional environments may find themselves faced with unique situations that call for specialized skills. The Institutional Locksmiths Association (ILA) was founded to serve professionals who work in hospitals, universities, government facilities and various kinds of institutions. Their work may involve maintenance or installation, specifying or recommending types of hardware geared toward mechanical or electronic lifesaving and security. The ILA provides a forum where issues unique to this particular sector can be brought forward, discussed and resolved, including the following:
How the ILA Benefits Members
In becoming ILA members, institutional locksmiths can take advantage of educational opportunities and certification plus a collegial environment where industry professionals can share information and help one another. In addition to locksmiths, members include manufacturer’s representatives and those who distribute locksmith and security supplies. The association also provides product updates, the latest product reviews and certain kinds of free or low-cost training.
A Look at ILA Certification
The ILA offers three levels of certification, beginning with the Certified Institutional Locksmith or CIL designation. At this level, applicants must pass an exam containing about 250 questions designed to measure general locksmith knowledge. Subjects include lock by-pass methods, lockset functions, life safety codes and basic master keying. The other two levels are Certified Journeyman Institutional Locksmith (Level 2) and Certified Master Institutional Locksmith (Level 3).
Consider National Membership
You can take advantage of certain benefits offered by a national association for locksmiths without becoming a member. However, if you wish to excel in your profession and reap bigger rewards overall, keep in mind that membership may open the door to perks you can’t otherwise obtain.