The primary function of any key technician is the creation, service, and repair of keys and locks. In many markets, key technicians are also called locksmiths. A person in this profession must have an intricate understanding of a variety of different key and lock patterns. Copying keys and making keys to fit particular locks is a big part of the job. Helping property owners regain access to properties when they have been locked out is also a crucial task, as is maintaining and repairing keys and locks that have been damaged.
As the job title implies, working with keys is the main work of most key technicians. The most basic parts of this job often involve simple key copying, but technicians can also make keys from scratch to fit certain locks. This generally involves skills in casting and metallurgy.
More advanced technicians may also be involved in actually creating locks. Technicians often specially design locks for homes and offices, then create unique keys with which to open them. Lock installation is usually a major part of this job. Some of the most important key technician requirements center on a fundamental understanding of both key and lock construction, installation, and maintenance.
Sometimes lock creation and installation is completed on a per-project basis. More often, property owners and technicians will establish on-going relationships. A key technician may be kept on retainer by an office building or apartment complex, for instance, to help keep locks maintained and deal with things like lost or misplaced keys.
Most key technicians are trained in how to open locks without keys. In most cases, this means that a key technician must be willing to make house calls, and travel to wherever a client is. On-site services can be immeasurably helpful when people have locked themselves out of buildings or automobiles. A key technician will usually have a variety of tools and tricks for opening locked doors. If worse comes to worse, he or she is sometimes also able to actually make a new key on-site.
Opening locked doors is often tricky business, for more than just technical reasons. Key technicians will usually require proof of property ownership before they will pick locks or open locked doors. Unless a person with a key-related crisis has a prior relationship with a key technician or unless there is some clear emergency, the technician may not be willing or able to help. This is particularly true with portable property like cars and safes.
Once a key technician has helped a person regain entry to locked property, he or she is often called upon to make and install new locks. When original keys have been lost or misplaced, there is often a fear that whomever finds them will have unfettered access to the property. In circumstances such as this, creating new locks and issuing new keys is one of the more important key technician jobs.