How to Become a Professional Hair Braider

Hair braiding has been around for a very long time even though it hasn’t been very prominent in North America until fairly recently. Today you will notice many men and women will choose to braid their hair proving that there is a distinct market for this up and coming profession. Before deciding on hair braiding as a career you wish to pursue you’ll probably have a few important questions. Once your questions are answered you’ll hopefully find that this fun and exciting profession is the right one for you.

Hair Braiding Schools Near You!


Hair Braiding Schools

What exactly is a hair braider?

When you hear the term “hair braider” you probably think of the French braids your mother gave you as a child. In reality hair braiding is much more complicated and intricate.

As the beauty world has been rapidly changing and evolving new and exciting specialty professions have begun to sprout up, hair braiding is one of them. Hair braiding is the skill required to twist, pull, shape, and otherwise braid hair. This type of styling is especially sought after by African-Americans but is occasionally desired by others as well. As a hair braider you will need patience and precision as you create tiny braids that cover your client’s entire head. You will need to be good with your hands and capable of focusing for long periods of time.

If you choose to become a hair braider you might be interested in the history. Hair braiding was originally brought to North America through African immigrants that brought the skill from their homelands. These individuals learned hair braiding as it was passed down from their ancestors. Until hair braiding become recognized as a true beauty profession and part of cosmetology it was still passed down through family members. Now hair braiding has reached the main stream and is truly recognized as an important and lucrative skill.

Depending on where you intend to work and your personal schooling and skills you may also be classified as a “loctician”. This is a specialized title that indicates that you know how to create and care for dreadlocks. This is a common additional skill to learn as the clientele tends to overlap. Some of the other hair skills you will learn to go along with your braiding may include color, setting rods, rollers, pipes, and more advanced techniques such as fishtails.

The fun that comes with hair braiding is that it can be quite varied. You can do any number of designs, curled styles, beading, twists that form into a pony tail, and any other number of creative styles. It is not uncommon for a client to come in with their own idea for a design that you can help bring to fruition.

Are there any personal qualities that are important?

The most important factor is being comfortable working with a variety of hair textures, most importantly the unique texture of African-American hair. Don’t worry if you haven’t worked with this type of hair before, the training you receive during your courses will prepare you and will include hands on experience.

Outside of being comfortable handling the customer’s hair you should also possess fine motor skills so that you are able to handle the intricate work that comes with braiding. You can expect to work for several hours on each client so if your hands get fatigued quickly this can be a problem. Due to the time it is also important to be comfortable with standing for long periods of time. Additionally, like most hair dressers you should enjoy conversing with your customers. Having good communication skills can help you build a report and will forge a good bond with your customers so they will return again and again. You will also need to be receptive to your customer’s wishes as they will usually have their own ideas for how they would like their hair done. You can of course discuss with them other options that you feel they may be better suited but in the end it is their decision.

What is necessary to become a hair braider?

Like many other beauty profession it will be necessary to do a bit of research into your state’s requirements. Where you want to work will dictate what is necessary to work as a practicing hair braider. In some cases your state may not even require that you get licensure. In this case you can learn hair braiding from someone else with experience and as soon as you are comfortable and skilled enough you can branch out on your own to accrue customers. That said, you may still prefer to go to cosmetology school as it opens up a lot more possibilities for your career.

When you look at cosmetology schools you should search for ones that have specialized courses for hair braiding. By completing the cosmetology courses and certification you will find that it is easier to find work. The certification will open employment opportunities in a wide variety of venues that may not be available to you otherwise. You will also learn a variety of other useful skills in addition to hair braiding that will make you a more desirable candidate.

If you do live and plan to work in one of the states that requires a license you will need to complete your courses and then take the exam for your license. Depending on your state requirements you may also find that they have very specific measures that must be met. Some states require a certain amount of hours training but the number required can vary greatly so it will be important for you to research exactly what is necessary.

What should an ideal school offer?

Due to the fact that hair braiding is a very specialized field within cosmetology you will want to make sure you select a school that offers the specific classes you will need to learn the skill. It may take a little bit of searching to find the right fit but in the end it will be time well spent. You will also want to make sure that the school will prepare you to take the exam necessary for licensure. You do not want to go into the exam unprepared. Any school you attend should teach you all of the knowledge and experience necessary so that you are fully prepared to pass the first time. It is also necessary to check that the schools you are interested in are fully accredited with the state’s Board of Cosmetology.

In addition to the course load you will also want to compare costs. When you’re looking at schools the tuition fees may seem vastly different. Some of the time this difference can account for supplies. A slightly more expensive school may supply all of the items you need for the courses while a less expensive school may not. Once you begin to look at the cost of these supplies you may find that the more expensive school that includes the items is actually the better option.

How much can I expect to make annually?

Where you live and where you work can affect your salary but on average a hair braider can expect to make around $27,000 a year. If you have a full cosmetology degree you could potentially make a bit more as you would offer a broader skillset to your employer. You will also make more as you gain experience.

Since the profession is growing so rapidly you will find that you have a wide variety of choices for employment. Once you graduate you can look at salons, spas, or even consider opening your own business. You can also rent out space within a salon. If you choose this option you would be self-employed and would just be paying to use the space within an existing beauty salon. This can be a good start as the business will already be bringing in customers. The customers will become interested in your services and as you work with them they will continue to return and will refer their friends if they are pleased. This can be a great option if you’re not quite ready to open your very own storefront.

What can I expect from a normal workday?

Once you have your license and begin working you can expect your work day to include some of these usual tasks. The very first thing you’ll do each day will be to check your appointment log. The log will indicate how many appointments you have, whom the appointments are with, and what type of service they need. From this list of information you will be able to set up your station appropriately so that you are prepared when they arrive. You will also be able to schedule any necessary breaks around your work schedule.

You will need to manage your customers based on the services they are needing. Some appointments will be very short and others can last hours. Customer management is very important as you do not want to keep anyone waiting. Once the service is completed you will also want to ensure that the client is pleased and try to go ahead and schedule the next appointment so that they are prepared to return.

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