2024 Best Online Gunsmithing Schools

By Leon Aristeguieta
Edited by Briana Sukert
Updated on May 25, 2024
Edited by Briana Sukert
Ready to start your journey?
Discover the best online gunsmithing schools in 2023. Explore accelerated classes and find your ideal program for flexible online degrees in gunsmithing.

If you want to earn specialized training in an interesting craft, you might consider exploring online gunsmithing schools.

Best Online Gunsmithing Schools

Attending a gunsmith school online can be a strategic option for students who want to work with their hands to create both useful and aesthetic guns.

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Classes offered by online trade schools for gunsmithing focus on the many intricate aspects of the trade, including smithing different firearms, machine operations, and gun repair. Some graduates even use their learned technical skills outside of the gunsmithing niche.

Colleges Offering Online Gunsmithing Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Murray State College

Murray State College offers courses designed to teach gunsmithing skills such as rebarreling, metal refinishing, CNC operation, and more. Classes are commonly held during weekdays, and provide hands-on, in-person instruction. Opportunities to attend gun shows and NRA conventions are typically offered. Fulfilling general education requirements in addition to gunsmithing courses may qualify for an AAS in Gunsmithing Technology.

Murray State College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Nationally Accredited Online Programs in Gunsmithing

In addition to the regionally accredited university listed above, the following nationally accredited colleges offer online certificate programs in Gunsmith.

Modern Gun School

Modern Gun School is a trade school that offers a self-paced advanced gunsmithing program that may be completed online. The program requires the completion of 65 lessons, or 765 clock hours, including hands-on projects. Materials needed to complete the program are typically delivered by mail upon enrollment.

Modern Gun School is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

Penn Foster College

Penn Foster College offers a career diploma in gunsmithing program online. Courses tend to use a variety of learning methods, including practical exercises, ebooks, and digital study guides. The program’s 6 courses are typically taught in a self-paced format, and an aim of the program is to help qualify to apply for a Federal Firearms License.

Penn Foster is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

Sonoran Desert Institute

The Sonoran Desert Institute offers a certificate in Firearms Technology in Gunsmithing program online. Potential courses include Shooting Sports Management, Machining and Manufacturing of Firearms, Firearms Inspection and Troubleshooting, and Firearms Finishing and Engraving. The completion of 32 credits of coursework across 2 semesters of 16 weeks each is required.

Sonoran Desert Institute is accredited by the Distance Accrediting Commission.

Online Gunsmithing Schools

Woman attending Online Gunsmithing School

Prospective students looking to commit to a career in gunsmithing have a couple of educational options to consider. Let’s take a look at associate degrees in gunsmithing as well as gunsmithing certificates and career diplomas.

Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

The program that’s best for you will depend on your personal interests and professional goals.

Associates in Gunsmithing Degree

Gunsmith with Associates in Gunsmithing Degree

An associate’s degree in gunsmithing is typically a 2 year degree. It helps students develop the basic skills and gain the basic knowledge needed to work as a gunsmith. Students in these programs develop their skills in all aspects of gunsmithing, including the design and construction of firearms as well as their repair and maintenance.

An associate program will also include general education courses, helping students obtain a well-rounded education. Some of the classes you may take related to gunsmithing include firearms design and repair, metallurgy, tools usage, and other specialized subjects.

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An associates in this field can help you qualify for many different employment opportunities, including working for a firearms manufacturer. Some gunsmiths even start their own businesses.

Gunsmithing Certificate

Gunsmith with a Gunsmithing Certificate

A gunsmithing certificate is an academic non-degree program meant for students who do not want to commit to the study necessary to earn an associate’s in gunsmithing.

As a student in a gunsmithing certificate program, you can learn many of the skills and gain much of the same education as students in associate programs. But, you will likely have fewer or no general education requirements. You may take classes relating to firearms safety, machine shop procedures, and welding.

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Earning this certificate can help qualify you in becoming a gunsmith. You may also find employment working in related repair, maintenance, and blue-collar fields.

Career Diploma in Gunsmithing

Gunsmith working in a gun store

A career diploma in gunsmithing is earned by completing various modules that educate you in basic firearms safety and repair. You may also learn about basic metalworking and tools used in gunsmithing. A career diploma focuses on job-specific courses and can often be earned much sooner than a degree.

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After earning a career diploma in gunsmithing, you may be qualified to pursue gunsmithing licensure. Many gunsmiths work in sporting goods or gun stores. Training in this type of program could also be applied to other general maintenance and repair jobs.

Gunsmithing Careers & Salaries

Gunsmithing Careers & Salaries

Completing training at one of the many gunsmithing online schools could help you develop versatile technical skills that could apply to a range of jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not measure statistics for gunsmiths directly, but they are categorized with metal and plastic machine workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median salaries of careers associated with gunsmithing and related positions.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Machinery Maintenance Workers, and Millwrights $59,380
Tool and Die Makers $57,000
Sheet Metal Workers $53,440
Machinists $47,730
Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers $47,010
General Maintenance and Repair Workers $43,180
Metal and Plastic Machine Workers $38,040
Assemblers and Fabricators $37,170
Woodworkers $36,710
Retail Sales Workers $29,180

Many gunsmiths work for sporting goods stores, gun stores, manufacturers, the military, law enforcement, and gun ranges. Some gunsmiths even start their own business.

Your education may be useful in helping you qualify for similar positions that focus on blue-collar, hands-on work. For instance, some gunsmithing skills may be applicable for working as a woodworker, machinist, metal refinisher, or welder.

Gunsmithing Curriculum & Courses

students attending Gunsmithing Training School

Each gunsmithing school will set its own curriculum for its students, but there will be a lot of overlap in terms of subjects covered in these types of programs.

Some courses that you may take as a student in a gunsmithing program include:

  • Basic Maintenance: This is an introductory course that teaches the basics of firearms safety and maintenance.
  • Firearms History: This class looks at the development of firearms through history, from their origins with early technology until today.
  • Bluing: This class looks at the process of producing a black oxide coating on firearms to protect them from rust.
  • Firearms Repair: This course introduces you to the basics of firearms design, assembly, disassembly, and repair.
  • Advanced Firearms Repair: This course builds on the foundational firearms repair concepts to introduce more advanced techniques.
  • Bench Metal Tools: This class deals with the common bench tools used in gunsmithing and how to operate them.
  • Basic Metallurgy: This class introduces metallurgy to students and how it applies to gunsmithing.
  • Blueprints: This class looks at how to read and visualize industrial drawings and prints encountered in the trade.
  • Stockmaking: This class looks at stockmaking theory and design for various types of firearms.
  • Riflesmithing: This class looks specifically at the design and construction of rifles, including bolt action rifles as well as AR-15-style firearms.

There could be many more classes that your program offers, either as required courses or as electives.

Admissions Requirements

Woman preparing Requirements for Gunsmithing Online degree

Gunsmithing colleges set their own requirements for admissions, but here are some general requirements for online gunsmithing trade schools:

  • High school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Online application and potential application fee
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers, employers, or mentors
  • Cover letter stating your goals and your relevant skills and knowledge

Individual gunsmith colleges may have more requirements for you to meet. Ensuring your application is submitted on time is essential, so it’s beneficial to verify the specific admissions criteria and deadlines for your prospective schools.

Accreditation

University offering Gunsmith Training Online

To assure you that you’ll receive a quality education, schools can choose to undergo the accreditation process by an accrediting agency.

Accrediting organizations review a university’s educational practices and look at the effectiveness of these practices. They’ll also evaluate a school’s faculty, facility, and student services. Employers are more likely to trust a gunsmithing certificate, diploma, or degree that comes from an accredited institution.

To see if the schools you’re considering are accredited by credible organizations, you can visit the US Department of Education’s website.

Gunsmith Licensure and Certifications

Gunsmith with FFL working in his gun shop

Working as a gunsmith requires you to comply with all gunsmithing laws and regulations. This includes obtaining a Federal Firearms License (FFL) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF).

Obtaining an FFL requires you to complete a lengthy application process, pay a fee, do a background check, and be fingerprinted. In addition, an ATF agent will inspect your place of business, and gunsmiths are required to provide transaction records to the ATF.

In addition to federal regulations, you may also be subject to various state and local regulations regarding gunsmithing, which vary depending on your location.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Gunsmithing Financial Aid

There are many sources of student aid available for student who qualify. Federal student aid is one of the most common forms of aid. You can see if you qualify for student loans, work-study programs, and other forms of need-based aid by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. States may have their own aid programs.

Scholarships are another option to explore. There may scholarship opportunities available at your school, or you could research scholarship or grant programs from outside organizations. Some employers also manage educational support programs for their employees.

Are Gunsmiths in Demand?

Gunsmith/shop owner educating a client

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not collect data for gunsmiths directly, so they fall under the category of metal and plastic machine workers.

Employment for metal and plastic machine workers overall is expected to decrease by 5% over the next decade, but this is an average statistic for a wide range of roles included in this job category. Gunsmiths themselves will continue to be needed to restore, repair, sell, design, manufacture, and customize guns.

As long as people keep purchasing and maintaining firearms for self-defense, hunting, hobbies, sports, and law enforcement, gunsmithing professionals will be needed as well.

How Much Money Does a Gunsmith Make?

Gunsmith working on a new rifle design

The salary you may earn as a gunsmith depends on various factors, including your experience level, your specialization, your employer, and your geographic location. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have specific salary data for gunsmiths, but the median salary for metal and plastic machine workers is $38,040. Most earn between $29,050 and $60,110 each year.

Gunsmith’s salaries can vary greatly depending on if they’re working for the government, a manufacturer, their own store, or a sporting goods store. Those with gunsmithing skills may also pursue work as a machinist. This position has a median annual salary of $47,730. Others apply their skills to woodworking. Woodworkers have a median salary of $36,710.

What Can You Do with an Education in Gunsmithing?

Industrial Machinery Mechanics with Associates Gunsmithing Degree

After attending a gunsmithing school, you may be eligible for licensure as a gunsmith. Gunsmiths can be employed by firearms manufacturers, armories, sporting goods stores, gun ranges, and gun stores. They can also work for law enforcement and the military. Some even run their own business.

Gunsmiths may specialize in a range of skills, including repairing, manufacturing, designing, customizing, cleaning, refurbishing, restoring, woodworking, and engraving. Some professionals use their technical skills in related areas of work. They might work as a machinist, woodworker, welder, ammunition specialist, or metal refinisher.

How Long Is Gunsmithing School Online?

Man attending Gunsmithing School Online

The time it takes you to complete gunsmithing school depends on many factors, including the school’s requirements, the type of program, and your schedule availability.

  • Associate’s degree: Earning this degree generally takes 2 years with full-time enrollment.
  • Certificate: Completing a certificate program in gunsmithing may take between 3 months to 2 years, depending on the number of required credit hours.
  • Career diploma: Completing a career diploma in gunsmithing may take between 3 to 7 months, depending on the number of required classes.

Certificate and vocational programs can also vary greatly in the number of classes they require.

Are Gunsmithing Schools Online Worth It?

Female Gunsmith doing Advanced Firearms Repair

Yes, gunsmithing schools online are worth it for many students. For students who want to become a gunsmith and work with firearms, attending gunsmithing school online could be a strategic path to entering the field.

Graduates may go on to pursue an apprenticeship or obtain a Federal Firearms License to work as a gunsmith. A gunsmith training program may also offer the chance to specialize in a specific area of the trade, such as designing, manufacturing, refurbishing, or woodworking.

The technical skills you’d develop may also apply to careers in related sectors, such as positions that deal with manufacturing, woodworking, and metallurgy.

Get Your Gunsmith Training Online

student pursuing Gunsmith Training Online

Getting a gunsmithing education online could be a strategic step toward starting your career in this specialized field.

Gunsmithing courses focus on the fine parts of the craft, which may appeal to students who want to work with their hands and with machines. After completing a gunsmithing training program, you may choose to enter an apprenticeship or pursue licensure to work as a gunsmith. You might specialize in designing, manufacturing, repairing, refurbishing, selling, or maintaining firearms.

You can start researching online gunsmithing programs from accredited schools to find the type of training program, specialization, and schedule that’s right for you.

Ready to start your journey?