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


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About the
Master Keying
Certification Program

There are four levels in this certification program and it is a standalone, separate from the ILCP certification or other ILA certifications.

Unlike the ILCP Certification Program, the levels are not all hierarchal. Instead, a person can pick and choose the levels that are appropriate to their skills, knowledge and experience. The exceptions are the CMKJ and CMKS, which require successful achievement of the CMKA and CMKC levels as a pre-requisite.

The first level is CMKA - Certified Master Key Assistant.

Note that the term used was "first level" not "lowest level". While it must be passed to progress to the CMKJ or CMKS level, in reality many institutions have qualified locksmiths performing only these functions. The Certified Master Key Assistant is typically a full locksmith who provides the actual fulfillment portion of the system. They pin the cylinders and test the keys. The system layout and specifications are provided by someone else. The system charts are provided by someone else, And they rarely are called upon to "think outside the box".

The test for this consists of one part terminology relating to cylinders and finishes, one part on lock manufacturer numbering systems in general, and the bulk of the test is pinning calculations.

Some shops average 2,000 such calculations per week or more, so it is perhaps the most important portion of task of master key system fulfilment. For that reason it makes up the largest portion of this test.

The second level is CMKC - Certified Master Key Consultant.

This, like CMKA, is a Stand-alone Certification, You do NOT have to have passed CMKA to achieve CMKC.

The tasks for this position are those involving keying conferences, system specifications, hardware charts, flow charts, organizational charts, floor plans and similar skillsets. The exam reflects this.

This level is intended for those who create system specifications rather than bittings, keys or master keyed cylinders.

The third level is CMKJ - Certified Master Keying Journeyman.

This person MUST have earned both the CMKA and CMKC designations.

This person typically has the skills and responsibilities of both the Assistant and the Consultant and adds the skill of system layout using various types of charts such as the Standard Progression Chart, a grid chart, Matrix charts, etc,, and is skilled in the use of various master keying options commonly used in the trade. The test reflects this.

A person with this level need no longer list the CMKA or CMKC designations because the test pre-requisites reflect their achievement.

The fourth level is CMKS - Certified Master Key Specialist.

This person displays all the skills of the other three levels and
adds higher level skills such as rarely used options, the ability
to deal with "outside the box" needs of the system, and so forth.

This level of exam requires prior successful completion of the
other three levels, and thus supercedes their designations.

The ONLINE test has its own application form, to be filled
out for each person.

The form is available at:

Any questions should be e-mailed to:

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ILA National Webmaster - updated 1/20/2016