One thing going in the OPs favor is I have never met a Texan who was not certifiable.
There are two ways of becoming a real gunsmith. Both involve hands-on learning. The easy way is to attend a gunsmith program at a accredited gun smith school. The other would be to apprentice for probably around six years with a master gunsmith.
There are plenty of on-line certificates that can be had by adding money, and they may give you enough skills to be a parts-changer, but there are no shortcuts to becoming a master tradesman of any type.
I too have looked into becoming a Smith, and if I did, I would attend a two year vocational program offered at a junior college, or technical school, and come out with a certificate and an AA degree. If there was a good program within driving distance of my home, I would attend such a school. At 60 years old, I no longer have the energy or the time to devote to the process, so it will be one of the things I wished that will be undone when I die.