How to Become a Barber

Alan Cohen

Has it always been your dream to become a barber? Make that dream a reality by becoming a professional barber.

A Resurgence

The art of barbering is enjoying a resurgence in popularity as an increasing number of men are seeking their own sense of style. Not only can men receive haircuts at a barbershop, they can also get hot towel treatments and a close shave with a straight razor. 

A barber must not only be skilled in male hair design, they must also be knowledgeable in the care of men's facial hair, scalp and facial skin. These cosmetology professionals should enjoy conversing with their clients and be able to stand on their feet throughout the work day and enjoy working with their hands.

Making Your Dream Your Reality

Completing a comprehensive training program or an apprenticeship is the first step to becoming a professional barber. Training courses can run from 9 to 20 months. Some states require an individual to complete both a training course and apprenticeship before applying for a barber license. The minimum age to become a barber is 16 in some states while you must be 18 or 21 years of age in other states.

Once training is complete, you have to apply for a state license and pass a test that will measure your practical skills. A written exam is required in some states.

The Curriculum of Barber School

There is much more for the barber student to learn besides hair styling and using scissors, clippers, and razors. During the course of their studies, the student will learn about the following topics.

  • Hygiene
  • Sanitation
  • Ethics
  • Skin disorders
  • Facial treatments
  • Chemistry 
  • Bacteria

For those students who wish to open their own barbershop, they may study the following general business topics.

  • Consultations
  • Customer service
  • Accounting
  • Business development
  • Management
  • Networking

The American Association of Cosmetology Schools reports that most states require anywhere from 1,000 hours to 2,000 of course study before taking state exams.  

Continuing education is important for your career as a successful barber. You may attend workshop and seminars or take additional courses to learn about the latest techniques and equipment used in the industry.

Earning Potential for a Barber

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median wage for barbers in 2017 was $25,650. The salary range goes from a minimum of $18,610 to a high of $48,480. The BLS projects a 13% increase in the number of jobs for barbers, hair stylists, and cosmetologists by 2026.

Earnings for barbers can vary in different states as well as urban areas and more rural neighborhoods.

Is Barbering for You?

Are you an outgoing person who would genuinely care for your clients? Are you willing to complete the required coursework and licensing requirements to join this profession? If you answered yes to these questions, then barbering may be the career path for you.

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