Barber Job Description

Considering becoming a barber?

Ever wonder what a day in the life of a barber is like? How about what a barbershop stylist earns each year? Below Beauty Schools Directory has answered common questions about the salary, job outlook, career options and other career information about barbers to help you decide if this is the right career path for you. If you like the sound of becoming a professional men's stylist and groomer, simply enter your zip code in the box to the right and choose "Barbering" as your program to find schools near you.

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What is a barber?

Barber Doing Facial Shave

A barber is a professional who cuts, trims, and styles hair for primarily male clients, though many women with shorter hairstyles opt to go to these professionals too. Most barbers also provide facial hair maintenance, custom shaves and other men's grooming services. The goal of a barber is to make each client feel comfortable and at ease while their hair is being cut or styled. The barber also seeks to ensure that the client is happy with his or her hairstyle, length and color or his new facial hair style.

Barbers cut, trim, shape, and taper their clients' hair. They usually use tools such as scissors, clippers, razors, and combs. When a barber grooms a client's facial hair, he will apply lather to the area to be shaved, usually the beard or hair contour. He will then remove the unwanted hair using a razor. Barbers may also provide other services such as applying lotions, shampooing, styling, coloring hair, and singeing. In addition, a barber may perform massage services for the scalp, neck, and face. 

Finally, barbers will typically bill the client, accept payment and tips and finalize the sale. They may also sell the client products such as shampoo, lotions, or tonics that will meet their styling, grooming and maintenance needs between appointments. They will clean their work area and tools according to the state's safety and sanitation requirements after each appointment.

Does becoming a barber sound like the right career path for you? Just click the "Find Schools" button below to search for schools near you, and start comparing the programs to find out which one is the best fit for your future.

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How do I become a barber, and how long does it take?

In order to become a barber, you usually must be at least 16 years old and have either a high school diploma or GED in order to be allowed to enroll. You will then need to complete an approved training program in a valid beauty or barber school and pass a state exam in order to be given a license, although a handful of states allow apprenticeship to get the required training hours instead (usually twice as many hours as would be required if you went to barber school).

How long it will take to become a licensed barber depends on a variety of factors. The time to complete the program depends on whether you are in full-time or part-time training in barber school, or if you've decided to apprentice. The amount of hours required to become a barber varies by state, but the average is between 1500 and 2000 training hours. For those who decide to do apprenticeship instead of going to school, it usually takes twice as many hours. Finally, the time required to become a licensed barber will also be affected by how long it takes you to pass the licensing exam, which typically consists of a written portion and a practical hands-on portion. Most people complete a training program at a school in 12 to 24 months, depending your state's minimum requirements. Be sure to discuss all of these factors with an admissions advisor at the barber schools you're considering so you can plan accordingly.

What are the barber license requirements?

As we mentioned above, the license requirements to become a barber vary by state, but on average it takes around 1500 hours of instruction in a barber school to be permitted to sit for the exams. You will also need to be at least 16 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and pass the appropriate licensing exam. Some states allow you to apply for your license if you have a past criminal record with a felony conviction, whereas others do not. We recommend contacting your local board to find out if it is permitted.

Before beginning your training program, you should find out the specific requirements for your state of residence. Visit the state license requirements page to find the required hours for becoming a barber in your state. You should also call your state licensing authority to make sure that the information you have is up to date and that there haven't been any recent changes in license requirements.

Below are the links to the standard textbook, student workbook, exam review, and procedures DVD from Milady for learning the barbering trade.

What are some of the barber career opportunities?

Barbers have a variety of options for their careers. A barber may decide to work in an established shop, or open his own shop. In addition, some barbers decide to become certified instructors and work in a barber school to teach others their craft. This is just a small sample of the job titles licensed barbers may hold:

  • Barber Giving HaircutBarber
  • Barber Apprentice
  • Barbershop Manager/Director
  • Barbershop Owner/Operator
  • Hairdresser
  • Master Barber
  • Men's Hairstylist
  • Trichologist
  • Celebrity Barber

The Bureau of labor Statistics estimates that the number of barber/hairdresser/cosmetologist jobs will grow by 13% through the year 2022, or about as fast as average compared to other occupations. This could mean thousands of new jobs introduced this decade. The states that employ the most barbers in the U.S. are Texas, New York, California, Washington and Georgia according to the BLS (2015). The metro areas that have the highest employment level are the New York City, Houston and Los Angeles areas.

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What is the average barber salary?

The salary of a barber will depend on what part of the coutry you work in, how many years of experience you have, whether you work for yourself or for a barbershop, and several other factors. But the average salary for barbers across the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015), was $13.67 per hour before tips with a mean annual wage of $28,430 annually.

What qualities do barbers need?

The number one quality a great barber needs to be successful is excellent interpersonal and customer service skills. In the hairstyling business it's critical to get repeat clientele coming back and referring their friends and family members to your services. It is also imperative that you have good listening skills, so you can consult with the client on how they want their hair done, and you must feel comfortable asking questions until you truly understand what the client needs.

Of course a barber needs the training and education mentioned above, as well, to get all the hands-on skills to perform the actual barbering services. In order to be a successful barber, you will need to be skilled in hair cutting, trimming, styling, shaping and coloring, as well as all other grooming techniques typically utilized in barber shops, like traditional straight razor shaving or modern shaving for example. You'll need good finger dexterity, arm-hand steadiness and manual dexterity in order to perform these services at the highest level of quality.

Barbering tends to be a very entrepreneurial field, so being a self-starter and managing yourself and your time well are really important. You may also need sales and marketing skills to help market yourself as a barber in the community and draw in more clientele. A good barber should be good with money, understanding the basics of accounting and clerical duties so you can charge clients appropriately and manage your tips for tax purposes, among other day-to-day administrative tasks.

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