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Which Associations Should an Automotive Locksmith in the US Join?

By May 5, 2023 No Comments

Do you currently operate as an automotive locksmith in the US or are you considering becoming a locksmith and pursuing an exciting new career path? So long as Americans continue to buy and drive cars, there will remain a strong demand for qualified auto locksmiths. Despite modern innovations in vehicle security and their highly digital and electronic design, the demand for locksmiths has not declined but rather increased, so long as locksmiths continue to stay on the ball or ahead of the curve with education and training.

Not all locksmiths in the United States need to be licensed or even trained to perform their duties, which has some obvious advantages and disadvantages. For starters, it lowers the barrier to entry into the profession and lets novice locksmiths open up for business with minimal friction. On the other hand, states and jurisdictions with no locksmithing licensing requirements open up the possibility for disingenuous and downright criminal scamming activities.

What sets locksmiths apart from the competition most of the time is not necessarily price, but instead their reputation and experience. Both reputation and experience take time to grow, but one way to show customers a seal of approval and trust is to become a member of a reputable locksmithing organization in the United States.

Man thinking

What are locksmith organizations?

Locksmiths around the world today are often members of professional locksmith organizations or security associations, sometimes generalized for all disciplines of locksmithing and sometimes for specific branches of the trade. Most of these organizations are voluntary trade associations that establish codes of ethics, industry best practices, advocacy for policymakers as well as many other benefits which will be explained below in greater detail.

Locksmith organizations have been around for a long time. In the middle ages, locksmiths were typically trained as apprentices in guilds under a master blacksmith. Later at some undefined point in time, the trade likely branched out to just locks and keys.

Do automotive locksmiths need to join an association?

Auto locksmiths in the United States do not need to join any association or organization in order to operate as a locksmith. It is perfectly legal and feasible to operate as a legitimate and honest locksmith without having any professional affiliation, and indeed many experienced locksmiths simply get by on their excellent reputation. Having said that, there are no significant downsides to joining locksmithing associations and many upsides.

Benefits of locksmith association membership

Locksmiths across the United States stand to benefit from joining one or more professional trade associations for locksmiths. Some of the key benefits of becoming a registered member of a locksmithing association include:

  • Demonstrated knowledge and expertise in one or more fields of the locksmithing industry;
  • More credibility with customers and recognition from other locksmiths;
  • Potential for career advancement and earnings increase as an employee;
  • Potential to command higher prices as an independent locksmith;
  • Ability to keep up or stand out amongst competitor locksmith businesses;
  • Networking and employment opportunities with other honest and like-minded locksmiths;
  • Recognition by state or county/region authorities if locksmith licensing is required;
  • Future-proof your reputation if locksmith qualifications become a legal requirement in your jurisdiction.

Locksmith organizations and associations in the United States

Which organizations and associations exist for locksmiths in the United States? There are many in existence, but we will break them into two broad categories: national and state/regional associations.

National locksmith associations

Any automotive locksmith operating in the United States can apply to become a member of the various locksmithing associations that exist. The first and perhaps most prominent and important association to mention is the ALOA Security Professionals Association (ALOA), formerly and still often called the Associated Locksmiths of America or simply ALOA.

Founded in 1955, ALOA is widely recognized as the gold seal standard of locksmith associations in the United States with thousands of active members, yearly conventions, continuing education programs, on-site training (in Dallas, TX), as well as its own publication Keynotes and podcast Locksmith Talk with ALOA.

ALOA is an association that includes all types of locksmiths, and in addition to the national body there are many state chapters as well. In late 2021, several members were granted approval to create a new association, the International Association of Automotive Locksmiths (IAAL), which is a specific association for automotive locksmiths. In the Locksmith Talk with ALOA podcast episode Introducing the IAAL, first president Ed Woods discusses all of the exciting details regarding this association.

IAAL differs from ALOA in that it endeavors to provide automotive locksmiths with specific industry skills and knowledge via training and yearly expositions to keep up with the rapid changes to vehicle security in recent years and for the foreseeable future, as well as to address issues such as rampant vehicle theft in the United States. ALOA members are pre-approved for IAAL membership and can progress to Certified Automotive Locksmith (CAL) and Certified Master Automotive Locksmith (CMAL) certifications.

Is it worth joining a national locksmithing organization?

It is absolutely worth it for any honest, genuine locksmith operating in the United States to be part of ALOA or one of its many offshoot associations such as IAAL. Attending yearly conferences and expositions is not necessary, but it can be an excellent way to network with like-minded business owners and professional locksmiths as well as to gain valuable insight into the industry and where it is headed.

Moreover, being part of ALOA (or IAAL) gives locksmiths credibility and a sense of ethical and moral behavior in how they operate, something that is much needed to combat the negative stigma that rogue locksmiths and scammers bring to the trade.

It is particularly worth considering membership with the IAAL as well, since this newly-founded association plans to provide training and educational resources specifically for automotive locksmiths. Becoming an early member of IAAL can give competitive-minded independent locksmiths a big leg up against the competition.

Real vs fake ALOA membership

One benefit of being a registered member of ALOA is the ability to show off your membership with a badge on your website, vehicle or any other digital or print materials. It helps your business stand out and considering the time and effort it takes to become accredited with ALOA’s certification and testing programs, why wouldn’t you want to showcase it to your customers?

Well, it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the bunch as they say. It has come to our attention that many scammers also love to showcase the ALOA badge on their website or advertisements, leading many customers to foolishly believing that they are legitimate members.

Combating fake ALOA membership can be a headache, but as a legitimate and honest locksmith you should not fear. One way to reassure your customers that you are indeed a certified and qualified ALOA member locksmith is to provide referrals and testimonials from real customers. Moreover, having an honest and transparent approach to customer service can also reassure customers. The reason for this is because most locksmith scammers tend to be impatient on the phone, constantly trying to push their low call-out fees and generally discouraging any questions about their business.

State & regional locksmith associations

Most states (but not all) have their own independent locksmith associations and organizations, and there are many states with their own regional or city locksmith associations and some associations operate across multiple jurisdictions.

Below is a list of state and regional locksmith associations in the United States:

State Association
Alabama North Alabama Locksmiths’ Association
Alabama Locksmith Association
Arizona Professional Associated Locksmiths’ of Arizona Inc
Southern Arizona Locksmiths’ Association
Arkansas Arkansas-Louisiana-Texas Locksmiths’ Association
California California Locksmiths Association
Security Locksmiths Association
Colorado Central & Southern Colorado Locksmith Association
Colorado Locksmiths’ Association
Rocky Mountain Locksmiths Association
Western Slope Locksmiths’ Association
Connecticut Locksmith Association of Connecticut, Inc.
Delaware Diamond State Locksmith Association (DSLA)
Florida Central Florida Locksmith Association
Florida-Alabama Locksmith Association
Northwest Florida Locksmith Association
South Florida Locksmiths’ Association (SOFLA)
Florida West Coast Locksmith Association
State of Florida Board of Locksmiths Inc.
Georgia Dixie Locksmith Association Inc.
Illinois Greater Chicago Locksmiths’ Association
Illinois-Indiana Locksmith Association
Illinois Locksmith Association
Northern Illinois Locksmiths’ Association
Indiana Associated Locksmiths of Indiana
Iowa Iowa Locksmith Association
Louisiana Arkansas-Louisiana-Texas Locksmiths’ Association
Maine Pine Tree State Locksmiths Association, Inc.
Maryland Maryland Locksmith Association
Massachusetts Massachusetts Locksmiths Association Inc.
Massachusetts Locksmiths Association Inc. Central
Michigan Locksmith Security Association of Michigan (LSA)
West Michigan Locksmith Association
Missouri Missouri Kansas Locksmith Association
Mississippi Louisiana-Mississippi Locksmith Association Inc.
New Jersey Master Locksmiths’ Association of New Jersey Inc.
New Jersey Locksmiths’ Association
North Jersey Master Locksmiths Association
South Jersey Locksmiths Association
New Mexico Associated Locksmiths of New Mexico
New York New York Central Locksmiths Association
The New York Master Locksmiths’ Association
Adirondack Hudson Master Locksmith Association
Nassau-Suffolk Master Locksmith Association Inc.
New York Association of In-House Locksmiths, Inc.
North Carolina North Carolina Locksmiths’ Association Inc.
North Dakota Northern Prairie Locksmith Association
Ohio Penn-Ohio Locksmiths’ Association Inc.
Oklahoma Oklahoma Master Locksmith Association
Oregon Pacific Locksmith Association
Pennsylvania Penn-Ohio Locksmiths’ Association Inc.
Central Pennsylvania Locksmith Association
Western Pennsylvania Locksmith Association
Institutional Locksmiths’ Association (ILA)
The Greater Philadelphia Locksmith Association
Rhode Island Locksmith Association of Rhode Island
South Carolina South Carolina Locksmith Association
Southern States Institutional Locksmith Assoc.
Tennessee East Tennessee Locksmiths’ Association
Middle Tennessee Locksmith Association
Tennessee Organization of Locksmiths
Texas Associated Locksmiths of North Texas (ALNT)
Greater Dallas Locksmith Association
Greater Houston Locksmiths’ Association
Locksmith Association of San Antonio
Metroplex Locksmith Association
The Texas Locksmiths’ Association
Utah Beehive State Locksmith Association
Vermont Green Mountain Locksmiths Association Inc.
Virginia Virginia Locksmiths’ Association Inc.
Tidewater Locksmiths’ Association Inc.
Washington Pacific Locksmith Association
Northwest Locksmith Association
Wyoming Wyoming Locksmith Association

Most of these associations have no website and contact details are often scant, so you will need to do your own research on how to contact and join these associations if you do intend to join.

Is it worth joining a state or regional locksmithing organization?

For many automotive locksmiths, joining a state or regional locksmith association can be an ideal way to engage in face-to-face networking (this is typically only possible once a year with ALOA’s expositions) and to gain relevant industry insight from others in your state or jurisdiction.

Since automotive locksmithing can vary significantly from state to state in matters such as licensing, legalities, and even economic and social dynamics (i.e. vehicle theft in San Francisco vs in rural Wisconsin), having access to an association with like-minded business owners can be incredibly helpful.

How does the Auto Locksmiths network differ from locksmith associations?

The Auto Locksmiths platform is not a professional industry association, but rather we operate a platform that connects customers directly with genuine, independent automotive locksmiths in the United States.

In brief, we differ greatly from these organizations in just about all things except for one notable similarity. Just as these organizations exist to uphold and support genuine and honest locksmiths, we likewise only work with genuine and honest automotive locksmiths and do not work with any bad actors or scam artists. For this reason, there is some overlap in that an honest locksmith engaged in good business practices should be welcome with a locksmith organization just as they are welcome to apply to become an Auto Locksmiths member.