Some community colleges offer on-campus certificate and associate degree programs in gunsmithing, but such programs are rarely available online. Many for-profit schools offer online career diploma programs in gunsmithing, however. Enrolled students access online lessons about repairing and maintaining firearms but must practice on their own guns. Additionally, many online gunsmithing programs also include a course on operating a gunsmithing business. The length of time required to complete these programs typically ranges from several months to one year.
Career Diploma in Gunsmithing
Students learning gunsmithing online are trained on how to troubleshoot, use and repair firearms. They gain the basic skills needed to find entry-level employment at a gun shop or sporting goods store. Online gunsmithing programs provide education in the types of firearms used and offer training on basic tool usage. Most online work is through written study materials and training manuals with some hands-on experience using the student's personal firearm. Online gunsmithing programs are usually available at for-profit schools; most public schools require on-campus work.
Program Information and Requirements
Online gunsmithing programs have no requirements for on-campus activity. Prior to starting the program, students are sent materials needed for the coursework. This could include study guides, training manuals, tool kits and catalogs. Students can speak to instructors via phone or email. Some online schools focus on written materials, assignments and tests, while other schools also provide hands-on training for gunsmithing tools. Completion time for gunsmithing programs varies; some programs take five months, while others can take up to a year.
Coursework in online gunsmithing programs provides basic principles and education on common types of firearms. The coursework is self-paced allowing students to start the program at any time during the year.
Students learn to use common tools needed to repair, rebuild and customize guns. Grinding tools, sanders, polishing tools, chisels and lathes are examined in this course. Through diagrams and study guides, students get practical experience in tool usage and maintenance.
This online course covers the basics needed to repair and modify gun stocks, chambers and barrels. Students learn how to cut barrel threads, replace triggers and fix broken grips. The repair course includes instruction on routine maintenance, safety precautions and proper cleaning techniques.
An online firearms course introduces students to the types of firearms available. Students learn the characteristics of each type of firearm and understand how to diagnose common problems associated with specific firearms. Firearms covered in the course include shotguns, pistols, rifles and revolvers.
An online gunsmith business course focuses on methods for creating and operating a new gunsmith business. The class covers legal issues including licensing and taxes, in addition to bookkeeping. Students learn to appraise firearms, set prices and advertise gunsmithing services.
According to October 2016 data at Payscale.com, gunsmiths can earn a median annual salary of $32,000 at the entry level. More experienced professionals can earn as much as $52,000 annually. Salaries vary for gunsmiths who operate their own business. Gunsmiths can find career opportunities at firearms manufacturers, gun shops and rifle clubs. Sporting goods stores also hire gunsmiths. Related careers for gunsmithing professionals include metal refinishers, toolmakers and machinists.
Continuing Education Information
While no online programs exist past the diploma level, students can attend classes at public schools offering certificate programs and associate's degrees in gunsmithing. Students taking the on-campus degree programs learn to read and follow blueprints and utilize labs for practical training. Advanced education provides training in machinery operation, advanced gun repair technology and custom rebuilding.
Online gunsmithing programs consist almost entirely of independent study, allowing students to complete coursework and assignments at their own pace and to learn about gun maintenance by following training guides.