The best magazine
A Gunsmith's Pay Scale
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not keep wage and salary data specific to gunsmiths. That information is instead included under the occupational heading of general maintenance and repair workers. As of May 2010, federal statistics reported that the average salary for these types of workers was $36,630 per year, or $17.61 per hour. The lowest 10 percent of wage-earning general repair workers earned a maximum of $20,800 per year, while the top 10 percent earned at least $56,090 per year.
- Public data available for salaried government employees indicates that a gunsmith can increase his salary by about $10,000 per year with experience. A 2011 wage determination schedule released by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment Standards Administration indicated that entry-level positions for gunsmiths pay $17.62 per hour, or about $36,649 per year. Public employees who have attained a rank of gunsmith II earn a salary of $20.49 per hour, or about $42,619 per year. At the gunsmith III rank, employees earn $22.91 per hour, or about $47,652 per year.
- Degree programs in gunsmithing are usually available through trade and technical schools. These programs typically last two years and cover coursework in algebra, metallurgy, technical report writing, machine tool processes and practical shop work. A survey published by the Association of Gunsmiths & Related Trades reported that of 321 professional gunsmith respondents, 197 gunsmiths were self-taught, 81 entered the profession through an apprenticeship and 39 learned their trade in school.
- Advancement prospects are best for self-employed gunsmiths who can find their own clients, but they have to work harder to improve their prospects. Salaried positions for gunsmiths are available primarily through gun manufacturers and sporting goods stores. Advancement opportunities are limited at these locations, although gunsmiths at gun manufacturers may have better opportunities at attaining supervisory positions. Survey data from the Association of Gunsmiths & Related Trades indicated that most private gunsmiths rely heavily on word-of-mouth advertising, while other common advertising channels included the yellow pages and television ads. Gunsmiths may benefit professionally from joining professional organizations such as the American Gunsmithing Institute or the National Rifle Association of America.