By Eric Hammer

Before you start calling the FBI, let us assure you that we're not talking about the kind of safecracker who will break into a bank vault in the middle of the night to help someone like Danny Ocean to walk away with millions of dollars. Instead, when we suggest that you may want to become a safecracker, we mean that you may wish to consider working in this very interesting field helping people to open safes they happen to own.

This is actually a very common situation as people die and forget to leave behind the safe combination or leave it inside the safe (yes, that really does happen). Other times, people simply forget the combination they set up years ago and there is no written record of it anywhere. Then of course you'll also have the situations where you are called upon to use your safecracking skills to break into a safe which is broken.

That last by the way is becoming an increasingly common issue since most people simply don't understand what it takes to buy a quality safe. Therefore, they end up buying them from big box stores which sell them at razor thin margins. In order to sell such safes, they often end up purchasing safes which have been poorly built and which break rather easily. This means more business for you as a safecracker, but headaches for the owners of these cheap safes.

How Much Can You Make?

While no formal information exists on the salaries that most safecrackers command, the going rates for safe cracking services give some indication of the kind of money that can be made. Typically, a safecracker gets several hundred dollars per hour and often is paid on a per job basis as much as $500-$1,000 for the job. Bottom line, becoming a safecracker does mean making some good money at the job.

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Keep in mind that as a safecracker, you will inevitably get phone calls from people who are goofing around and asking you to help them break into the local bank. You may also occasionally get serious calls from criminal elements asking for the same thing. In all cases, you should have a firm policy that all calls are recorded and anyone asking for a safecracker for a job which is obviously illegal will be reported. This guarantees that you'll never end up being accused of doing something illegal.

Beyond that, consider working as well as a general locksmith in order to make more money. While locksmiths don't make as much money as safecrackers, they do have more work and by being able to do both, you improve your chances of getting a job.

Qualifications / Requirements

You'll need to check with your state licensing board as some states do require safecrackers to register and get licensed. Others will simply require you to be licensed as a general locksmith and still others will not have any requirements at all.

In all cases however, you may want to consider certification from the National Safemans Organization, which provides two kinds of certification for safecrackers. One kind is Certified Journeyman Safecracker and the other, which is more advanced, is Certified Master Safecracker.

First Steps

Start by learning general locksmithing methods as many of the same methods will be used in your work as a safecracker. Then, be sure to check on licensing requirements and certification. Consider working for someone else before you strike out on your own as this is the kind of work where people often hear about you through word of mouth.


Check out these helpful resources to find out more about how to become a safecracker:

Safecracker at Large - While it's not much to look at, this is a good blog from a professional safecracker where you can learn quite a bit about the business and the challenges you may face in your new career.

EHow: Safecracker Definition -This is a good basic introduction to what it takes to become a safecracker, though no specific details are offered here.

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