Guide to Gunsmith Programs

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gunsmith programs

Chances are you are came to this page to find out more information about gunsmith programs. Luckily, we have the experience and knowledge to help provide you the critical information. By gaining this information, you will have a better chance to make the right decisions when it comes to your future and your interest in gunsmith training.

In our opinion, learning to become a gunsmith is more than just learning the proper way to tinker with your firearms. We consider the training that you can receive from one of the gunsmith programs to be a public service for your community. As a responsible and legitimate gunsmith, you help keep your community safe from crime and other terrors by being able to provide a much needed service.

In this guide, we will be looking at some of the main questions that people who are considering attending one of the gunsmith programs are thinking about. We will look at why we believe that formal training is more advantageous than apprenticeships. Other topics will include:

  • Cost of training
  • What you can learn
  • Where to find gunsmith programs
  • What to expect
And more!

If you are aspiring to become a gunsmith or want to learn the skills for your own recreation, please take the time to read the information we presented. We want you to be fully informed so you can make the right decision. If you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to email us.

What Are The Benefits?Where is it Taught?What Types of Programs?Any Requirements?The Cost?How Long is Training?What's Taught?

Are There Benefits to Gunsmith Programs?

Even though there isn’t a legal requirement to go through formal training to become a gunsmith, we believe there ought to be. The reason for our stance on this topic is pretty straightforward – safety. We would rather have someone with the proper training and knowledge working on our firearms than someone who doesn’t have it. Plain and simple.

A gunsmith is both a craftsman and a technician, so we believe that proper training is a must. By going through one of the accredited gunsmith programs, you will be able to learn the both the proper techniques and the finer points on this skill craft. You will receive training from master gunsmiths who have spent years honing their craft.

If you are career-minded, formal gunsmith programs can serve an important function for your personal goals. Some of the benefits for helping boost your career goals include:

  • Can be an advantage when applying for a job
  • Growing number of employers are looking for formally trained candidates
  • Potentially higher pay
  • Can lead to faster and higher promotions
  • Provides proof that you have the knowledge and skills
  • Can be seen as more trustworthy with customers
  • You will learn the latest techniques
  • Safety is the number one topic of training
  • Formal training can replace experience for most employers
  • A certificate or an Associate’s Degree can make you stand out from other gunsmiths
As you can see, there are several valid reasons on why attending one of the accredited gunsmith programs can be important for you and your career. While you can get some incredible training outside of a school, we just like the reliability of formal training. Plus, gaining some education is not a bad thing for any job or career.

Where is Gunsmith Training Taught?

For the most part, there are four types of locations or institutions that offer gunsmith programs. Depending on where you live or want to study, you may have to combine one or more of these to get a complete training experience. The locations for training are:

Community Colleges

Gunsmith programs are not offered at every community college, so you may have to look a little. Typically those attending a community college are going for their associate degree.

Technical and Vocational Schools

There are both private and public technical and vocational schools out there. Sometimes they might be listed under career centers or vocational training centers.

Privately Run Training Programs

These programs are run by firearms companies or groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA). Sometimes bigger gun shops will run classes you can attend.
You just have to choose the right school or program that best fits your specific needs. You will want to make sure that any gunsmith programs you sign up for will help you get the training necessary to be successful. This is done through research and comparing the gunsmith schools you are interested in.

Online Colleges

Online schools are a viable option for some but remember that you will not have a live instructor while getting the hands-on training. This can be improved by working with a local gunsmith to help you and look over your work.

What Are the Different Types of Gunsmith Programs?

Basically there are three levels of awards or degrees you can attain depending on which of the gunsmith programs you decide to attend. Each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Let’s take a quick look at them so you can better decide.

Types of Gunsmith Programs
Certificate Diploma Associate Degree


Very Quick

Relatively Inexpensive

Hyper Focused

Deeper Insights

Specialization Focus

Somewhat Short Training Period


Great For Those Wanting To Start A Shop

Training Can Replace Experience


Not Comprehensive

Can Be Costly

Not For Beginners

Tweener on Training

Can Be Expensive in Comparison

Still Will Need Training

Can Be Costly

Takes 2 Years to Complete

Non-Gunsmithing Classes Will Be Taken

What Are The Requirements for Enrollment?

Gunsmith programs typically have a series of requirements that must be met in order to enroll in them. This is done for various reasons such as safety, school regulations and or state or federal law. Most of these requirements are cake, as long as you have been a good boy or girl.

Some of the common enrollment requirements are:

  • Must have a high school diploma or have passed the GED
  • Must be at least 18 years old (some states or schools require you to be 21)
  • Must be able to pass a criminal background check*
  • Must be able to pass a drug test
  • Must not have a history of mental incompetent or mental health issues
  • May have to pass a metal fitting test
Most of these requirements are in line with the requirements to apply for a Federal Firearms License (FFL). So it makes a lot of sense on why these requirements exist. Most people should be able to pass them just fine. You should contact the admissions office of any of the gunsmith programs you are interested in to get a complete list of specific requirements you may need to meet.

*Felony convictions along with domestic violence convictions and restraining order will disqualify students from attending any of the gunsmith programs

How Much Does it Cost?

The cost of gunsmith training is hard to pinpoint since it can vary greatly depending on a number of different factors such as location or training program type. Some of these factors include:

  • Type of program (certificate, diploma or associate degree)
  • Type of school (private or public)
  • Type of training (specific or comprehensive)
  • Location (urban or rural)
  • Length of training
  • In-state or out-of-state tuition
  • Online or campus based training
If you wanted to ballpark it, you could expect to pay about $9,000 to $11,000 (on average) at associate degree level gunsmith programs. This price is an average meaning that it is possible to find training in the $4,000 to $5,000 range as well as the $18,000 to $22,000 range.

Certificate programs are a bit different since these are typically short-term classes that last a few days to a week. Some of these classes held by the National Rifle Association (NRA) can be enrolled in for $100 or so while other might be as high as $600. This depends on the subject taught and the location of the training.

Keep in mind, unlike a lot of other professions, gunsmith programs are for the most part the only training you may need. While these prices may sound high, they are on par with other vocational and technical training programs. If the tuition part scares you a bit, check in to scholarships and financial aid to help pay the way.

But remember, higher cost does not necessarily mean better quality. Make sure you do some research and check the quality of the training before you apply. Sometimes you might just find that the cheaper training can give you the right skills without putting yourself in to debt.

How Long is Gunsmith Training?

A big question for many people is how long will it take. Don’t worry, you won’t have to spend 4 years in college. Believe it or not, you can be in and out of one of the associate degree gunsmith programs in 2 years and ready to start your career. That is pretty darned fast when it comes a possible lifelong career.

If an associate degree takes too long for your taste, you may consider a diploma program. Depending on which of the diploma level gunsmith programs you enroll in, it can be super quick. Some of the programs can be finished in 6 weeks while others may take to 6 months to 9 months. Not too bad, eh?

Then there are certificate classes. These are set up to be short-term classes that will help you better understand a specific subject or niche. Some of the certificate classes last a day or so while other may take upwards of a week or two. Like we said, these are short-term classes.

What Will I Learn?

Even though you would think every training program would be exactly the same, but they are not. Some gunsmith programs specialize or focus on certain topics more than others while other programs push for more hands-on type of training. Let’s take a look at some of the topics you will cover while enrolled in most of the gunsmith programs.

  • Firearms and shop safety
  • Drill press operation
  • Proper use of hand tools
  • Bluing processes
  • Stockmaking and refinishing
  • Recoil pad fillting
  • Basic math and algebra
  • Reading blue prints
  • Sanding, grinding and polishing
  • Tool bit grinding
  • Welding
  • Milling
  • Gun sights
  • Checkering
  • Function and design
  • Ballistics
  • Trigger assemblies
  • Business
  • Short and long gunsmithing
  • Metal prep
  • Assembly and disassembly

Now What?

So there you have it. A basic rundown of what you can expect when it comes to gunsmith programs. Now the question comes, what do you do with it?

  • You can continue reading our other articles to give you a deeper understanding
  • You can start researching gunsmith programs to find one best for you
  • You can read our article on how to find the best gunsmith training in your area
We feel that becoming a gunsmith is one of the more important and under-rated jobs out there today. By getting the proper training through one of the gunsmith programs, you can start an amazing career or bolster your firearms hobby. No matter what you are planning to do, you know you can trust us to help provide you the best information about gunsmith programs.