Barber
barber

Ready to start learning about barbering careers, training, salary, and get answers to your questions about this profession? We answer your basic questions about job options, how to become a master barber, qualities professional barbers should have, as well as the job options commonly available. If you are trying to determine if you should pursue a barbering or cosmetology curriculum, review our ‘What is a barber?’ and ‘Considering becoming a barber?’ sections. We also tell you why hands-on barber training is the true key to your future success!

Barber

01. About
What is a barber?

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.

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.

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.

02. Training
Paving Your Own Way As A Master Barber

Barbering is a profession that is quite entrepreneurial, proven by the large numbers of graduates who go on to open their own barbershops. These programs often also offer comprehensive classes, such as:

  • Barbershop ownership
  • Business management
  • Employee and customer relations
  • Marketing & sale

Hands-On Barber Training is the Key to Success

You will practice on mannequins early in your barbering courses while being trained by licensed barber instructors. From there, you move on to real clients from the community to develop your technique as the courses progress.  

This hands-on training, using the tools in your barber student kit, is essential for developing professional skills. That’s why most states also have minimum training hour requirements students must meet to sit for their exam.

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 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.

03. Career Options
What Are The Top Job Options for Barbers After Graduation?

When most people think of barbers, they probably imagine the classic character who works in the local shop and knows all their neighbors. While this portrait of barbers rings true, there are many types of careers barbers can pursue.

Want some ideas for how you can ‘mix it up’ in the barbering profession?

Senior citizen care facilities. Some barbers focus on specific members of the population in their profession. This can include working at residential care facilities. If you are a freelance worker, you might even approach these settings to ask if you can come by and give haircuts at a discount. These are the kinds out-of-the-box careers that barbers you can consider.

Film & television. Cosmetologists are a necessity when it comes to film and television work. After all, who else is going to make those actors shine? Barbers can also find work with male actors and models.

Military posts. The most simplistic place to offer men’s cuts might be on military posts. Get out your shears and get buzzin!  But seriously, the military can always use some good barbers to keep our troops looking fresh and ready.

Own your own shop. Hey, why not open the doors to your dream barber shop? Some barbering programs will help you learn basic management and business skills. With simple accounting, computer, and interpersonal skill development, you can make this dream a reality. And who knows… the next Luke Cage may need a spot to call home.

As you can see, there are a variety of unique options for your barber career after you graduate. If you want to know more about careers in barbering, check out this barber job description.

States with the highest employment of barbers

As of the most recent BLS survey (2017), the states with the highest concentration of jobs for barbers, along with their average salaries, are:

  1. Texas - $30,200
  2. New York - $27,160
  3. Pennsylvania - $28,720
  4. California - $26,550
  5. Colorado - $34,000

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
  • 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.

04. Salary
What is the average barber salary?

The salary of a barber will depend on what part of the country 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 Salary Can I Expect to Earn As A Barber?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017) most recent data, the mean annual salary for barbers is $29,140 or $14.01 per hour. One thing to keep in mind is that this typically does not include tips from clients, and that many barbers fail to report their full wages so this data is often lower than actual earnings. 

For complete information about barber careers and salary, click here.

The wages you have the potential to earn as a barber can depend on a number of factors, including whether you work in a:

  • Salon
  • Barber shop
  • Or open your own business

Owning your own barber shop vs. booth rental

Overhead and time costs of owning your own barbershop may be greater, but you also get to keep more of the profit for each client than you would if you worked for a salon or barbershop owned by someone else.

Booth rental environment

This is a good transitional midway point between working for someone else's shop and working for yourself.

Specialty barber careers.

These can include community care facilities for the elderly, as well as jobs in the news and broadcast business.

As of the last BLS survey, the top paying states for barber occupations are (2017):

  • Illinois - $55,960
  • Oklahoma - $48,020
  • Nebraska - $47,900
  • District of Columbia - $47,900
  • Minnesota  - $41,610

Barber salaries can also vary from city to city. Some metropolitan areas tend to pay higher than others, and barbers who work in rural settings might have a smaller take-home pay. One factor that is often not included in barber salary data is the amount of money you may make from tips. 

OTHER PROGRAMS

Other frequently asked question topics