There are no official qualifications for being a blacksmith. Anyone can hang a sign over the door, but your customer base will dwindle if you don’t know what you are doing. To gain exposure to the craft, you can take some classes at local art schools, community colleges and historic centers. The Artist-Blacksmith’s Association of North America lists a number of educational institutions on their website. Typically, classes are offered at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Once you have some projects under your belt, you can take classes in making specific decorative items. Your mother is really going to love that picture frame.
After taking some classes, blacksmiths may apprentice under a professional artist. It may take a couple of years to pick up additional blacksmith skills, as well as the business side of things. It’s better to save money on the side during these years, because opening up your own studio isn’t cheap. And iron is the only thing you want to get in the habit of forging.