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Colorado School of Trades is an accredited institution offering an Associate of Occupational Studies degree specializing in Gunsmithing. Colorado School of Trades is accredited through the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Founded in 1947, Colorado School of Trades has offered our Gunsmithing Training Program since the very beginning.

Are you interested in a career in Gunsmithing? Here are a few things to consider. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation there are an estimated 423 Million Firearms in the United States, and less than 10,000 legitimate Gunsmiths available to work on them. This equates to over 42,000 firearms per Gunsmith. That shows favorable job security in a marketable career like few others!

Colorado School of Trades has developed a unique hands-on system utilizing project oriented and customer provided training that has been honed for the past 75 years. The school prides itself on a personal approach that allows students to acquire job skills that will prepare them to enter the work-force as an entry level Gunsmith and begin a lifelong career in the field.

In our 20,000 square foot industry simulated facility, Colorado School of Trades can accommodate up to 160 students with new classes beginning on the second Monday each month. This allows for individual class sizes to remain small, putting more focus on student and instructor interaction. All instruction is project and customer based. Using “Real Customer Projects” allows for students to experience many real world work situations under instructor supervision.

Students are offered additional courses throughout the duration of the course. Armorer’s Courses consist of representative from various companies visiting Colorado School of Trades to pass along information regarding certain platforms. These Armorer’s Courses usually carry additional costs that are determined by those putting on the course. Presenting companies may include but are not limited to; Beretta, Glock, Sig Sauer, and Smith & Wesson. Cerakote has also provided a free course for students at the school; supplying them with the knowledge and application of their product.

Total cost to attend Colorado School of Trades is approximately $32,150. Tuition cost for our program is $27,000. There are additional costs including approximately $5,000 of tools and materials necessary to complete the program, including all aspects of the bolt action project rifle, as well as a $150 supplemental accident insurance policy.

Colorado School of Trades Program length
Admissions Procedures:
  1. Gunsmithing Application for Enrollment

  2. Copy of High School Diploma or GED (In lieu of these prospective students can provide High School Transcripts, a DD214 indicating high school completion, a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher)

  3. One Page Essay “Becoming a Gunsmith”

  4. $300 Tool Deposit (100% Refundable)

Admissions Requirements:

Be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident Alien

Be at least 18 Years of Age

Possess either a High School Diploma or General Education Development Certificated (GED)

Be able to pass a Criminal Background Check/Provide your own Project Rifle Action

Be Physically and Mentally Capable of Performing Projects and Classwork Required for Graduation


Colorado School of Trades has developed a unique hands-on system utilizing project oriented and customer provided training that has been honed for over 75 years. Explore each of the four courses within the program overview below:

Theory included in the Basic Course is as follows:

    • Orientation
    • Analytical Thinking
    • Machine Shop
    • Heat Treating and Welding
    • Cycles of Operations

The Basic Course is designed to teach the use of hand tools, measuring devices, safety, and shop math.  Students become familiar with the concepts of stock refinishing and the bluing process. Students will attend Analytical Thinking Theory which is the preparatory class for the Written Cycle of Operations Theory. During Written Cycle of Operations students will receive instruction on the eight major types of firearms for the purpose of diagnostics and troubleshooting. The Basic Course also introduces the students to TIG welding and heat treating commonly encountered by a Gunsmith. Students will become acquainted with Colorado School of Trade’s online learning system in which they will complete homework throughout every course in the Program.

During this course students will attend the following theory classes:

  • Design & Function 1
  • Sights
  • History and Use of Firearms
  • Stockmaking
  • Painting
  • Triggers

Students will become familiar with both engine lathe and milling machine operations. Machine shop culminates with the student threading and chambering their project rifle in an approved caliber of their choice.  Students will then move into the CNC (Computer Numerical Control) Lab.  This will cover the basics of CNC machining practices on common industry-type CNC machines.  The objective of this lab is to acquaint students with CNC practices they will be exposed to in the firearms industry.

Theory students attend during this course are:

  • Business
  • Ballistics and Handloading
  • Design & Function 2

Students are then introduced to synthetic stocks and will fit and finish their own synthetic stock for their project rifle.  Student’s stockmaking skills are further refined in this course beginning with the wood stock. Students will inlet, bed, shape, and finish a wood stock for their project rifle. Once completed students move to the Repairs 1 Lab which teaches the concepts, techniques and skills which will enable the student to diagnose and repair customer provided firearms.

Students apply the knowledge and skills obtained in past course work to complete customer firearm repairs in the Repairs 2 Lab. Design & Function 2 is the crux of the program. If a student so chooses, they may work on some of their own firearms as approved by the instructional staff. The final portion of Design & Function 2 allows for the student to specialize in a certain aspect of the industry. Students are required to complete a specialization lab project. This is an opportunity for students to specialize in their particular area of interest. The student can choose their project as long as it is gun related, legal, safe, and school approved.

Financial Aid

Colorado School of Trades participates in PELL Grant and Direct Lending Programs. In each of these Programs, an Award is given based upon the financial and family situation of the prospective student. There is no charge or commitment for the evaluation procedure. All prospective students are encouraged to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Financial Aid is available to those who qualify. Click here for FAFSA forms. Make sure you use our school code #013513 when submitting your FAFSA. The Director of Financial Aid will contact you once we receive your online submission, and advise you of your financial aid award. If you have questions regarding Financial Assistance, contact the Financial Aid Office at 720-376-6666.

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Military Benefits

The Colorado School of Trades is approved for Veterans’ Assistance Programs including the Post-9/11 Veterans’ Educational Assistance Act of 2008. For more information regarding your specific benefits you can contact the VA Education Department at 888-442-4551.

Veteran’s Benefits do not cover the cost of tools with the exception of Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) benefit from the VA that may cover the full amount of the tool cost (ask your VR&E counselor to verify).

Veterans Application Procedures:

For those using Veteran’s Benefits to fund school the VA requires you submit your Certificate of Eligibility, Joint Service Transcripts/Community College of the Air Force, and all prior post secondary transcripts if applicable.


The majority of our students come from outside of the state of Colorado for training. Housing contacts within proximity can be provided by our Admissions staff. Many students share accommodations to reduce their expenditures. If you are interested in finding a roommate, CST has a system to help put prospective students in touch with one another.

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