How to Become a Barber

Often when we think of a barber we think of someone that cuts men’s hair. The reality is that there is so much more to becoming a barber and acquiring their skills than simply picking up a pair of scissors. In fact there are particular schools and programs that can help you learn the ins and outs of this profession. Barbering can seem like an old fashion fad of the past but in recent years they have made a comeback and getting into the field can be rewarding on multiple levels if it is an area you have a passion for.

Locate Barber Schools Near You!


Barber Schooling Options – Two Types:

When you start looking into barbering you will notice that there are generally two types of school available. You can select from a barber school or from a barbering program within a cosmetology school. It is important to know that cosmetology and barbering are not the same thing even though they do appear similar at a glance.

The program length and general curriculum for cosmetology and barbering have similarities but the two provide difference licenses. At a barber school this will focus on the teaching of men’s hair instead of box sexes. You will learn how to cut men’s hair in a variety of short structures and styles, many of which have remained popular throughout the years and have stood the test of time. Cosmetology will cover a broader variety of hair types, hair styles, and various skills.

Additionally, a barber will have almost solely a male customer base where cosmetologists will work with mostly women. While the two sexes can choose to go to a cosmetologists most men feel more comfortable visiting a barber.

The last significant difference between the two is the type of services that each is legally able to perform. Barbers, in addition to hair cutting, will be trained in facial shaving which will include the use of straight razors and safety razors. Their license allows them to do this while cosmetologists cannot provide this service. Cosmetology, however, will include more salon-type options that include nails and make up whereas barbers never offer this service.

What Do You Learn at Barber School?

At a barbering school you will be taught by an instructor that is experienced in the field. They will teach you the essentials that are necessary to completing a full hair and skin service for males. While many of these courses are taught at cosmetology and other beauty oriented schools you may want to look into an independent barber college that is solely focused on teaching barbering. The art of barbering is a tradition and you want to be taught by those that respect its long history.

At the school you will learn how to provide steam facials, facial massages, foam shaves, razor styling, regular hair cutting, color, waving, and blow drying. Working through the program will allow you to train for your barber license which you will receive through the barber board once you pass.

One of the best tools you’ll learn during your time at school is how to properly care for and manage the various hair types. Part of your curriculum will teach you about the hair types and scalp conditions that can affect how you would cut and style an individual’s hair. As a barber part of your job will be achieving the look your client wants while working with their hair type and ensuring that their hair is healthy. If you notice any hair or scalp issues your customers expect you to mention them and discuss ideas on how to properly handle whatever the issue may be.

You’ll find that as you go through the program many of your classmates plan to open their own personal barbershops. Due to the fact that self-employment is so popular you will most likely be offered courses on barbershop ownership and even business management to help you get on your feet. Part of your practice at the school will be on mannequins until your skill level has increased enough then you can move on to individuals from the community that will help you further develop your technique and manner. When you start classes you will purchase a barber student kit which will have many of the tools you will use to learn the trade.

Tuition Costs and Information

When you start school you’ll be able to select a learning pace that works best for your current life situation. You can either go full time or part time, or in some instances you can also work an internship. The cost of the school will vary depending on whether it is a smaller teaching shop or a larger chain, how many hours you will need to attend to become licensed, and what all is included with the cost.

The actual cost of the tuition will also vary depending on the courses that are offered, state and city costs will cause some variation, and again the hours that are required for the license itself. The good news is that just like with regular colleges and universities you can request information. They should send you a packet that will indicate their particular costs and fees.

In general, a barber college will run somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000. Keep in mind that while one school may seem more expensive than another, their costs may include necessary items such as your student kit, mannequins to practice on, frocks, additional supplies, and important textbooks. The cheaper schools may not provide these items which can add quite a bit financially to what may initially seem like the inexpensive option. When you begin to narrow down your selections be sure to inquire about what is included in the tuition costs.

Admission Requirements for Barber School

In most cases all you will need to enroll is a high school diploma or GED. If you happen to have a felony record you will need to do some research into the requirements of where you live as some areas may accept you while others may not. This will also probably depend on the type of crime you were convicted of. The main key is not to lie on your application. Most places will allow you to get a barber license but it will depend on the conviction.

Job Options after Graduation:

For many the first step after graduation is acquiring a job within a barbershop. Once you’ve worked at the shop for a while and have honed your skills and gained valuable work experience you may want to branch out into opening your own barbershop. It is also common to start working within a regular salon where you can specialize in men’s hairstyles and cuts and offer your shaving services. Others at the shop may not have the correct license to be able to offer these services so you are beneficial to the salon.

Outside of the traditional hair cutting industry you can also work at live-in facilities such as retirement homes and adult care centers. Here you can assists the elderly by helping them with the upkeep of their hair. If you want something with a bit more prestige you can look for work in television. There are many options available so you shouldn’t feel like you are stuck with only one option. As you can see from this short list there are a wide variety of professional areas to choose from and depending on your particularly needs they can all be fulfilling and interesting.

Typical Annual Salary for Barbers:

Once you receive your barbering license you can except to make somewhere between $17,000 and $43,000 a year. This general hourly wage is around $13.00 or slightly more which comes in at $25,000 before you count in any tips you may receive while working. Many customers will tip fairly well so your wages could be quite a bit more after your tips are counted. Statistically not a lot of barbers account for their tips so the initial number would actually probably skew a bit higher.

How much you earn overall will depend on multiple factors. You will need to consider where you end up working, such as a salon or barbershop vs. self-employment. If you own your own business you will have to factor in the costs of operating the business and any other barbers or staff you may employ. The upside is that you will get to keep more of the wages you receive from your customers. You could also choose to rent a space within another person’s shop. This is a lucrative way to be self-employed without having to bother with your very own storefront which can become very expensive.

Other factors that will affect your wages is where you live. If you live where the cost of living is expenses will also be higher. In the end you’ll need to weigh the options and decide which is the best for you.

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