Any gearhead will tell you that they considered being a gunsmith at some point. The hard part about that is that there aren’t a lot of schools that actually have that program. It’s definitely not a dying art, but it is a very specialized one. Most people learn from the previous generation as knowledge is passed on from mouth to mouth or from hands-on training, but sometimes, you just want the formal training to go with the passion. Have no fear, there are plenty of schools that still offer accredited programs through formal training. It’s all a matter of location really.
Best Gunsmithing Schools
- Colorado School of Trades
- Montgomery Community College
- Sonoran Desert Institute
- Lenoir Community College
- Yavapai College
- Eastern Wyoming College
- Piedmont Technical College
- Fayetteville Technical Community College
1) Colorado School of Trades
An awesome bit of information about the Colorado School of Trades is that gunsmithing is the ONLY option it provides for a learning program. It was founded in 1947 in Lakewood, Colorado, and the only program available there is an associates of science degree in gunsmithing. The average cost for tuition here will run you around 18,000 with aid, but on average, about 39% of it’s students use the assistance of the Pell Grant.
There are many options for student life there. Housing is available for those that would require it, and there is an option for weekend and evening courses. Considering the fact that it is a small for profit campus, it has quite a few options for its students. For those that finish the program, they do offer employment assistance for those that don’t already have employment lined up elsewhere.
With an acceptance rate of 86.11%, your chances of getting admitted are generally favorable. All they require to apply is your high school transcript and the online application.
2) Montgomery Community College
This next one is a full fledged community college that is based on 153 acres in Troy, North Carolina. Unlike the Colorado School of Trades, it offers a multitude of options for programs to study, but there is only one gunsmithing option. Those that choose gunsmithing here have the option for studying towards a degree, diploma, or certificate. All courses can be studied in the daytime, evening, or weekend, so there is flexibility for those that have other obligations.
More than two-thirds of the students’ time is spent in the shop applying what they learn in the classroom and textbooks. The program also has a direct connection to the NRA so many students are able to take advantage of short term courses that are taught by nationally-known experts in the field. Time is spent between the woodworking shop and the welding shop, and there is a very extensive tool list that you are responsible for paying for yourself.
There is a significant difference with in-state tuition and out-of-state tuition. In-state, you’ll pay around 12,000 for the entire program, but that doesn’t include the tools that will be necessary. Out-of-state, you’ll be looking at closer to 26,000 for the entire program. Again, that doesn’t include the tools necessary either. They do accept financial assistance, but without that, you’ll be paying a good chunk of change.
3) Sonoran Desert Institute
Sonoran Desert Institute is an interesting addition to the list. As its name suggests, it is based out of Tempe, Arizona, but it’s curriculum is purely based online. They are DEAC accredited, and they even go into details about how to run a firearms business and much more than simple gunsmithing. They offer an associates in science degree and a certificate depending on what you’re looking for.
Tuition for Sonoran is around 22,000 dollars, but once again, there is financial aid available to those that apply for it. One nice thing about this institute is that they send you all the books, supplies, and tools that you’ll need to get through the program, and you get to keep all of it when you’re finished. The faculty and staff here all have first hand experience with gunsmithing in their own way. So it’s not like you’ll just be getting a general teacher without any actual knowledge about the art.
Besides having a computer that can run the programs for labs and lectures, there really aren’t any crazy prerequisites for applying here.
4) Lenoir Community College
Lenoir Community College is based in Kinston, North Carolina, and here you can obtain a degree or a certificate depending on what you’re looking for. Lenoir offers a multitude of options for financial assistance including scholarships and loans. They even have an early college program for high school juniors and seniors, and everything they learn counts towards college credit. Essentially, a high school student could graduate college even earlier than usual.
This program is very hands-on, and some of the things you’ll learn in the course include stock making, barrel work, basic repairs, and restoration of firearms. Tuition is surprisingly cheap. For in-state, it is about 2,500 dollars per year, and for out-of-state tuition, it is about 8,000 per year. Only about 30% of their students attend full-time, but the option is always available for those that have the ability to do so. With a number of other programs available to learn simultaneously, Lenoir Community College is a solid choice.
5) Yavapai College
Yavapai College is based in Prescott, Arizona, and this is one of the few schools that also offers sports as an extracurricular. For those that want even more of the college life included in their experience, this campus has more of a college lifestyle attached to it. Yavapai also has a number of notable alumni that includes athletes.
Average cost in-state after aid is applied puts the tuition at around 2,600. That doesn’t include books and housing. For out-of-state, the average tuition is around 9,500, and once again, that is without books and housing. Yavapai does have a GPA requirement, and it is the only one that is on this list. A GPA of 3.5 or higher is required to be accepted at Yavapai, or a 650 on a high school equivalency diploma.
6) Eastern Wyoming College
At Eastern Wyoming College, you have the option of getting your AS or certificate in gunsmithing. Be sure to check the application requirements here. There are two separate applications you should fill out. One for the school and one for the actual program. You also have to proceed in getting a background check done before acceptance. High school transcripts, an essay, and references are also needed. There is also an ample amount of financial aid and scholarships to benefit from here.
In-state tuition here is approximately 4,200, and that does not include books and housing. Out-of-state tuition will run you about 10,100 for tuition alone. This is another school where only about 35% of their students are full time, so they are accommodating for those that have a busy lifestyle outside of school.
7) Piedmont Technical College
Piedmont Technical College is based out of Greenwood, South Carolina. Here you can obtain an AS or certificate, and this is another school that puts a good amount of focus on teaching how to run a firearms business. To attend for a year at the in-state tuition level, it will cost around 10,500, but the interesting thing about Piedmont is that it offers a no cost option for all students that meet the requirements.
When you apply for FAFSA, this school gives you the chance to obtain a tuition free degree. So if you really need the assistance, you can obtain your degree at no cost. The school has seven different campuses that it runs through. The Lex Walters campus is the main one, and the gunsmith program is completely available at that one in Greenwood. This is obviously the cheapest option considering you qualify for the no cost program, but even though it is one of the cheapest on the list, that does not mean it is lacking in academics. You’ll learn everything you need to know and more.
8) Fayetteville Technical Community College
The Fayetteville Technical Community College is located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, obviously. Here, you can once again get an AS or a certificate depending on what you’re looking for. The only two prerequisites you must meet are to have your high school diploma, and you must have a placement test equivalent. While this school doesn’t offer a no cost program, it does provide financial assistance for childcare if you’re in need of assistance to attend school.
In-state tuition is around 2,600 for tuition alone, and out-of-state tuition will run you approximately 8,700 for tuition alone. Fayetteville is even the third largest community college in the state, and it almost has its own version of a college life even though it is a community college. The school is actually adjacent to Fort Bragg, and they work closely with the fort to provide an exhilarating education for the soldiers stationed there. The school also has a men’s and women’s basketball team, as well as a golf team.
Gunsmithing is an admirable career to pursue, and accreditation can only help you in the long run. As you can tell, most of the schools that offer some of the finest gunsmith programs are located in the Carolinas and Arizona. While there are some online schools that offer this program, you need to be careful which online schools you trust to give you a good education and accreditation. You always want to make sure whatever school you attend is accredited, otherwise, whatever degree or certificate you obtain will be almost useless.
While accreditation is an important factor to consider, there are other things you’ll want to take into consideration. Cost is definitely a factor for most. Not just tuition and books, but there is always the housing issue to consider. If you aren’t already living in a somewhat close proximity, housing is something that you’ll have to consider since most of these places don’t have on-campus housing.
While gunsmithing might be the most well-paying job, it is an honorable career, and perfect for those that have a passion for firearms. While I might have given you basic details for each school, go ahead and ask them for more information if you’re interested. They’d love to hear from you!