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School of Firearms Technology


Currently, Sonoran Desert Institute offers an Associate of Science in Firearms Technology degree program, an Advanced Gunsmithing Certificate, a Gunsmithing Certificate and an AR-15 Advanced Certified Armorer Course.

SDI's 31 semester-credit hour certificate course in Gunsmithing and 60 credit hour Associate of Science in Firearms Technology degree work hand-in-hand, and are the most complete training programs of their kind. No other school gives you the quantity and quality of professional Gunsmithing information and tools!  These programs are perfect for students interested in a career in the firearms industry or for those who are interested in owning their own gunsmithing business.  Our programs are delivered via distance learning, which allows our students to maintain full time jobs, families, military service and more while working towards their degree or certificate.

Additionally, we offer a comprehensive, non-credit Gunsmithing Certificate, perfect for the hobbyist or student interested in a supplemental gunsmithing trade.  This program takes the major topics of our Advanced Gunsmithing Certificate, offered in a quick, manageable and afordable format.  Learn techniques you'll use on your own firearms or develop your hobby into a side business, all at your own pace.

Plus, SDI continues to place its students at the forefront of technology by offering a unique AR-15 Advanced Certified Armorer Course.

You can learn Gunsmithing at home without interrupting your current work schedule. Everything you need is included from step-by-step lesson instruction to top-quality Gunsmithing tools (see sidebar).


The Associate of Science in Firearms Technology degree, as our most advanced firearms program, provides the student with a thorough understanding of concepts and applications in the maintenance and care of firearms. This program has a strong focus on gunsmithing supported by basic general education courses. This is a four-semester program consisting of 60 semester credit hours of college-level study. There are 15 general education credits and 45 discipline credits.

This degree program provides a predominant focus on the core courses in Firearms Technology and is vocationally focused. The program is oriented towards preparing the student who wishes to directly enter the firearms workforce upon completion of the program. 

For more info on the A.S. in Firearms Technology degree program, click HERE.



Our new 31 credit Advanced Gunsmithing Certificate  provides the student with a thorough understanding of concepts and applications in the maintenance and care of firearms.   It prepares the student to repair, customize, and renovate guns for employment as well as for personal development. The student will learn analyzing, constructing, modifying, and assessing custom firearms, rifles, handguns, and shotguns; metal refinishing; ballistics; metal work; and engraving. The student will also gain insight on business principles that relate to gunsmithing.

For more info on the Advanced Gunsmithing Certificate program, click HERE.


The Gunsmithing Certificate provides the student with a thorough understanding of concepts and applications in the maintenance and care of firearms. This is a non-credit course, offering students who do not wish to continue on to complete an Associate of Science in Firearms Technology degree an affordable way to reap the benefits of many of the same topics covered in our Advanced Gunsmithing Certificate program.  This program is not approved for use of military benefits.

For more info on the Gunsmithing Certificate, click HERE.



This 5-credit course presents a comprehensive overview of AR-15-style firearms, including history, development, and practical applications of AR-15-style firearms. Lessons include parts and functions, ammunition, trouble shooting, maintenance and repair. Also presented are sight options, considerations for building or buying your AR-15-style firearm, customizing the AR-15 with coatings and accessories, and a step-by-step lab for completing a complete AR-15 build.  This program is not approved for use of military benefits.

For more information on the AR-15 Advanced Certified Armorer course, click HERE.

Veterans’ Benefit Forms:

Eligible veterans may obtain the appropriate forms here. If you have questions, please contact the SDI admissions Office, or download the SDI Veterans’ Bulletin.

*As determined by the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education.




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  School of Firearms Technology

        Associate of Science in Firearms                 Technology Degree
        Advanced Gunsmithing Certificate
              Gunsmithing Certificate

        AR-15 Advanced Certified Armorer Course


In addition to lessons, training manuals, and other learning aids, your courses* will include many of the following:

  • Fully-stocked gun cleaning kit
  • Screwdriver set
  • Brass Gunsmithing hammer
  • Drift punches
  • Rifle stock blank
  • Pull and drop gauge
  • checkering tools and template
  • Trigger pull gauge
  • Needle files and honing stone
  • Sling swivel installation jig
  • Bore sighter
  • Electric Moto-Tool®, and
  • Wholesale Gunsmithing catalogs

...everything you need to get your training off to a smooth, fast start.  Exact tools and kits shipped varies by program and availability.  Speak to an admissions advisor for more details.

*AR-15 Advanced Certified Armorer Course indludes a different set of tools and resources.  Please visit the AR-15 Advanced Certified Armorer Course page for more information.




































Why SDI?

The Sonoran Desert Institute mission is – “adding value to our students’ lives by providing innovative, relevant and
applicable workplace-driven education through distance-delivered instruction.”

We are committed to your success – whether you are actively seeking employment, or simply honing your personal, technical skills.


Since 2004, the Sonoran Desert Institute has been accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council. The Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency.


Certain SDI programs are approved for U.S. Military Tuition Assistance Reimbursement. For active duty military, we are also approved to participate in the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Education Services Active duty military service persons should contact their base Education Services Officer (ESO) to apply for tuition assistance.

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    8767 E. Via de Ventura Suite 126 Scottsdale, AZ 85258