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How to Prepare for a Career as a Gunsmith

Interested in pursuing a career as a gunsmith? We've put together these five steps to help you prepare. These tips are summarized from the article How To Become A Gunsmith which you can read for more detail.

High school students interested in becoming a gunsmith may prepare with courses like: physical education, business communications, accounting, English, mathematics, and psychology. Students who may legally own or operate a gun who participate in gun safety courses and enjoy hunting may increase opportunities for acceptance in future training programs.

One year certificate programs offered through trade, vocational, online, or community colleges with courses in: ammunition and ballistics, gunsmith tools, identifying and evaluating firearms, and metalwork expand education necessary to advance to higher degree programs, licensing examinations, or entry level jobs as apprentice gunsmiths.

Apprenticeship programs require 8,000 training hours designed to allow students to learn skills needed for a career as a gunsmith in a hands on environment. Classroom training accompanied with hands on training offered under the supervision of a gunsmith allows students to master basic skills necessary to advance to more difficult tasks. Apprenticeship and licensing programs are offered through the Association of Gunsmiths and Related Trades (TAOGART). Students must be at least 16 years old, possess a high school diploma or GED and be legally able to handle firearms. Students may gain employment as entry level gunsmiths or advance to associate degree programs.

Associate degree programs consisting of courses like: introduction to firearms industry, basic gunsights, gun stocks course, gun polishing, refinishing, and engraving, machinery operation, advanced gun repair technology, creating custom ammunition, restoring valuable antique firearms, gun shop management, and business. Students culminate training with a clinical experience to gain hands on experience under the supervision of a qualified gunsmith before qualifying for employment as a gunsmith. Advanced degrees at bachelor, master, or doctoral level do not exist in the discipline of gunsmithing. Students who wish to advance to higher college degree programs must enter a gunsmithing related field.

Voluntary certification is available through the Associaton of Gunsmiths and Related Trades (TAOGART). TAOGART allows students access to apprenticeship programs, educational opportunities, continuing education courses, and gunsmith specialty training in barrel and/or stock making and engraving. TAOGART also facilitates consultation between professional gunsmiths, stock and barrel makers, and engravers throughout the United States and internationally.

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