Where To Learn Safecracking

This is a response to one of the questions in the readers' comments regarding where to learn to do the type of work I do. I'll just outline the path I took.

You could call safe and vault work a locksmith specialty, though many safe and vault companies and their employees don't do any locksmith work per se. I began as a general commercial locksmith, which is a common path to becoming a safe and vault specialist.

After a couple of entry-level jobs I went to a (now-defunct) school devoted to the locksmith trade. It was The New York School of Locksmithing, and it used to be in Hempstead, on Long Island.

One apprentice job and one geographic move after the school I was lucky enough to get hired by a locksmith who specialized in safes. Safe techs most often learn their work by doing. If they're lucky it's under the tutelage of one or more experienced competent technicians.

The man who first taught me was very knowledgeable. Though I didn't realize then, he used the optimal teaching progression: He taught me about safe locks first, then taught me the basics of damage-free opening (manipulation). Only after he was satisfied I had a good understanding of that aspect of safe work did he progress to teaching me more about how to open safes by more forcible means, which translated to drilling.

After a little over a year I left him, moved to another state, and got another job as a general locksmith. My new employer was happy that I knew something about safes, and assigned all that work to me.

There wasn't enough safe work to keep me happy. I became increasingly impatient with regular locksmith work. I finally went looking and found a job with a safe company, no locksmith work. I never looked back.

The more safe work I did, the more I learned, and the more I liked it.

During my early learning curve I also relied on learning as much as I could from every person I met who had something to do with safes and vaults. One man who worked for the now-defunct Mosler Safe Company used to stop and visit sometimes at the locksmith shop where I worked. I and a couple of fellow employees at that shop with an interest in safes would hang on every word he uttered, to the point of taking notes on what he said, and even photographing some of his more specialized tools.

That kind of learning went on for years. It wasn't an ideal mode of learning, but I kept at it, trying to find, buy, or borrow any and everything I could find about safes and vaults whenever an opportunity presented itself. It paid off for me, and I found myself feeling sorry for people who watch the workday clock creep slowly toward quitting time, counting days until vacations or retirement.

There are private teaching organizations that offer classes in the basics of safe and vault work. Their classes are most often attended by people in the locksmith industry wanting to become more knowledgeable about safe work.

National and state locksmith associations also offer training classes and seminars at their various scheduled events. Though most such programs are of comparatively short duration, there are also at least a couple of resident training programs for safe-related work. One is Lockmasters in Nicholasville, Kentucky, and the other is MBA USA, Lexington, Kentucky. There are probably more, but none specialize and focus on the topic like the just-named two.

There's also an association for safe and vault technicians. Safe and Vault Technicians' Association (SAVTA) is based in Dallas, Texas, and has members around the world. SAVTA puts on an annual training and product-exhibition gathering.

You don't necessarily have to be a locksmith first to enter the safe and vault industry, but it's the most usual path.

Except for high population areas, most regions don't have enough safe and vault work to support a safe and vault specialist. A well-run locksmith company can usually operate successfully in a few adjacent cities, but companies specializing in safe and vault work are forced to cover a wider range.

My work day is most typically in and around San Francisco, but by "around" I mean something like a 60-mile radius. I travel all over the (mostly) northern half of California, occasionally considerably further.

Safe companies with service staffs (generally) prefer experienced applicants. This makes it harder for a beginner, but if you ask around and are willing to go where the work is, there's a chance. The down side is that a beginner's pay might not be enough to support your needs.

Safecracker

Comments

Locksmith is a good service for anyone who is looking for protection and security of her or his home,
automotive, or any other properties. No need to say about how difficult for you to create or improve security system on your home or automotive.

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