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Institutional Locksmiths' Association
P.O. Box 84
Butler, WI - 53007


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Institutional Locksmith Certification Program

Co-Chair - Don OShall, CMIL, CMKS
Co-Chair - Tom Ripp, CJIL

Contact us
Or if necessary, Phone/Text (352)-201-4787

ILCP Frequently Asked Questions

(Question 1):
What is the ILCP?
The ILCP consists of three levels of certification:

Level 1: Certified Institutional Locksmith (CIL)
Level 2: Certified Journeyman Institutional Locksmith (CJIL)
Level 3: Certified Master Institutional Locksmith (CMIL)

To earn the Certified Institutional Locksmith (CIL) designation the participant must pass a mandatory exam of approximately 250 questions that will measure a participant's knowledge of general locksmithing. Some of the subject areas include lockset functions and finishes, lock by-pass methods, life safety codes, basic master keying, ADA, warning signage,key ID and key codes. There are not any manufacturer "brand-specific" questions on the CIL exam.

The CJIL and the CMIL are advanced levels, and will also require the participant to have a specific amount of "years of experience" as an institutional locksmith or related field.

To earn the Certified Journeyman Institutional Locksmith (CJIL) designation the participant must pass an "advanced" mandatory exam and elective exams that cover in-depth, manufacturer specific (e.g. Schlage, Corbin Russwin, Yale) subjects and institutional environment (e.g. university, hospital, detention)issues. These exams reflect the security products and occupational circumstances that institutional locksmiths encounter on a regular daily basis.

To earn the Certified Master Institutional Locksmith (CMIL) designation the participant will have to pass additional elective exams not taken to earn the CJIL. The CJIL and the CMIL are advanced levels, and will also require the participant to have a specific amount of "years of experience" as an Institutional locksmith.

(Question 2):
What does it cost to take the exam?
The price for the standard ILCP test will be $50.00 for ILA members and $100.00 for Non-members

The price for the On-Line ILCP test will be $75.00 for ILA members and $175.00 for Non-members

NOTE: If the test location charges a fee for space rental the fees may be increased accordingly.

(Question 3):
When and where is the exam offered?
Testing dates are listed on:
However, the basic dates rarely change much. We always offer it at our national education conference annually, and usually offer it at the YANKEE Security Convention in the Fall of each year, on the Friday of the show. We offer it at other shows when invited to do so.

But it is ALWAYS available online. Details can be found at:

(Question 4):
What do I need to purchase to prepare for the exam?
NOTHING. If you are qualified and know your exam topic you should do fine. Study guides version 2 and 3 are available, but for the CIL level, terminology is the exam focus and the LIST Council locksmith dictionary, avalable free at :
(This is an offsite link-not provided by ILA)

The CJIL and CMIL levels (other than the mandatory portion of CJIL) are manufacturer specific and there is no study guide for them, although study guide version 3 makes recommendations of items that may help.

(Question 5):
Which guide version is better?
The exam for CIL has essentially not changed since 2006, because the basics remain the basics and terminology does not change very much. So either guide is roughly equal for that. Some prefer the organizational style of version 3. For CJIL or above, the version 3 is recommended because the links to information have been updated since version 2.

(Question 6):
Is it better to take the exam online or in person?
They are close to identical. Questions are exactly the same. The online has built-in safeguards to prevent and detect cheating, and in-person uses a proctor to do the same. Results have been almost exactly identical.

(Question 7):
What other certifications do you offer?
We offer Master Keying Certification with CMKA for Assistants, for consultants, CMKJ for Journeyman level, and CMKS for specialists with extensive knowledge. Details can be found at:

A certification program for Institutional Fire Door Inspectors is under development, as well, but with no specific roll-out date set.

Any questions or comments
ILA National Webmaster - updated 1/20/2016